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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through Scripture Covering 1 Kings 11:1 – 12:33

Day One

Read 1 Kings 11: 1-8

· V.1 – The beginning of Solomon’s reign was characterized thus in 1 Kings 3:1 – Solomon loved the LORD…. But something has happened, or been happening, in his heart - note the number of references to his heart in these paragraphs. The Bible uses heart referring not just to the emotional life but to the entire inner life – intellect, attitudes, loyalties, preoccupations.

· V. 2 – The warning against marrying outside of Israel was to prevent exactly what was happening to Solomon: in the forbidden relationship one would end up turning away from the LORD and to other directors and comforters – other gods.

· V. 3 – A lot of women in Solomon’s life: I’m willing to pronounce too many. Many of these wives and concubines likely were obtained as part of Solomon’s political maneuvering.

· V. 4 – When Solomon was old - we might think that after one has walked in loyalty to God for many years that he/she is steeled against turning away from the LORD. Let Solomon’s divided heart be a warning to older saints. Keep fighting the good fight all the way to the end.

Day Two

Read 1 Kings 11: 9-13

· V. 9 – And the LORD was angry…because his heart – notice exactly what aroused God’s anger: breaking the first commandment.

· V. 9 – Who had appeared to him twice – Blessings from God raise the bar of accountability. To whom much is given much shall be required.

· VV 9,10 – Solomon’s heart turns aside and then he doesn’t keep what God commands. Disobedience rarely (never?) appears in a vacuum, but only after an inward and invisible turning aside. Brothers and sisters, keep track of your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the issues of life. Even though these things aren’t visible, take your loves and loyalties seriously and believe in the importance of properly ordering those loves.

· VV. 12, 13 – For the sake of David my servant - we know that David was flawed, yet throughout his heart was with God. Recall how often we’ve seen that Solomon invokes the memory of David as he prays – he knows that in his father he’s been given a great example of loyalty to God. Yet even with this great example…. Have mercy, O God.

Day Three

1 Kings 11: 14-26

· VV. 14, 20. 26 – Recall that in God’s covenant with David, He warns that if a son of David turns away from Him, God will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripe of the sons of men. Our passage today is this warning coming to pass. God is not mocked assures the Apostle.

· VV. 14-22 – Predictions: Someone’s going to make a movie about Hadad - - what a story! But even more than the dramatic human-interest story, it’s the theological backdrop that has our attention:

o God raises up the enemies of Solomon – He does this kind of thing! He raises them up by protecting them against the odds and allowing their desire for vengeance to build up over time.

o He has set their fury toward Solomon and Israel (25) long before Solomon earns the anger of God.

o Unless we were told that God was behind this we’d interpret these hostilities as simply as matter of course.

· V. 26 – Jeroboam is different from the other two enemies in that ______________________

Day Four

1 Kings 11: 26-43

· V. 26 – Note: Jeroboam grows up in a fatherless household.

· V. 28 – Solomon is responsible for Jeroboam’s rise to prominence. The disloyalty of Solomon to God will be matched by Jeroboam to Solomon. Solomon! Who wrote all those proverbs about one falling into the hole he dug!

· VV. 29 – 39 – The ministry of A-hi-jah the prophet. If you were to describe the ways of prophets using only this fellow as an example, what would you say?

· Jeroboam gets ten tribes, and Solomon’s line will get two: his tribe + one more. Why does God not give all the tribes to Jeroboam?

· V. 33 – Review: a) Forsaken God; b) Worshiped other gods; c) Not walked in God’s ways. Decline begins in a disloyal heart.

· V. 39 – …but not forever. The people of Israel are about to move from a time of unprecedented prosperity to a very ugly civil break-up. Darkness is about to envelop. Here’s a small and vague phrase, but something to cling to. God gives such through darkness.

· V. 40 – Either Solomon heard that God’s hand was on Jeroboam and moved to preempt J’s rise, or Jeroboam, buoyed by this prophecy, began a sedition.

Day Five

Read 1 Kings 12: 1-15

· When God says that ten tribes will be taken away from the son of Solomon, that doesn’t mean the division will happen outside of history, independent of men’s decisions, counsel, free will etc. God works sovereignly in and through all kinds of things. A big truth.

· V. 10 – My little finger is literally My little one is thicker – These young counselors direct Rehoboam to answer this request with bravado, intimidation…and ribaldry. In short, scorn.

· After recalling the big truth of Bible interpretation that the Bible is hard to write and thus the authors are always trying to be as brief as possible - - note that the narrator spells out both times that Rehoboam asks for advice from the two groups of counselors (vv. 6, 9). What’s the subtle difference between his two solicitations and what might it indicate?

· V. 15 – The likely staged confrontation of Jeroboam’s party that was designed to bring conflict into the open AND Rehoboam’s choice of harshness and intimidation over moderation – ALL this was from the LORD. And so it goes: as our earthly destinies are put into the hands of belligerent or stupid or immature leaders, we shouldn’t forget that God is sovereign throughout. (Remembering that is consoling and encouraging, though doesn’t necessarily direct us in how we should respond!)

Day Six

Read 1 Kings 12: 16-24

· V. 16 – This verse is a great one to shine light on what the Apostle Paul means when he’ll repeatedly claim that we’re “in Christ.”

· V. 18 – Rehoboam tries to make good on his bluster and intimidation, but Israel’s having nothing of it.

· V. 20 – Well, the twelve sons of Jacob didn’t enjoy much peace among themselves and now the twelve tribes are officially divided. Sad. Peace is a rarity, and we should be grateful when it’s activated.

· V. 24 – Rather surprisingly, Rehoboam finally shows some sense. In spite of his playing the coarse fool, God had sent a man of God to warn Rehoboam against attacking Israel thus trying to repair the breach. Sometimes when things have gone south, the thing to do is…nothing.

· V. 24 - This thing is from me (so any attempt to oppose it will only bring more grief). Even in anger and judgment, God shows grace by thwarting needless slaughter.

Day Seven

1 Kings 12: 25-33

· V. 26 – Again, the narrator speaks of a king and his heart. Brothers and sisters – your thoughts, your fears, your strategies – this is where things start to go right or wrong. Guard your heart with all vigilance.

· V. 27 – Jeroboam’s reasoning is sound. But God had told him that He would make him king and he’d continue to be king if you will listen to all that I command you… (11: 38). But Jeroboam’s heart elevated the security of his reign above God’s word. If your logic contradicts your faith (God’s word) what do you go with?

· V. 28 – Of course the calves stirred up memories of the Exodus and Mt Sinai. We can imagine Jeroboam: Yes, true, Moses didn’t care for that Golden Calf too much, but it was part of our history. And so our new worship is in an old stream. This is how false religion works: not presenting something wholly original but something old…just a little altered. Old words defined a little differently etc…

· V. 29 – Both Bethel and Dan had been sacred places at various times of Israel’s history; since they would evoke memories of the patriarchs and God’s past deliverances, they were natural choices for this new religion. And perhaps too there was an element of convenience in setting the places of religion at the north and south end of the new country.

· V. 33 – devised from his own heart -In a phrase, that’s the difference between false and true religion. Is it sourced in the Word of God, or is our worship/religion something that we’re concocting out of our own hearts and for our particular ends? My God wouldn’t…. What a seriously foolish way to start a sentence!

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