Highlights In Today's Reading:
Another era begins and we see the folly of not choosing godly advisors. The Israelite nation declines and soon becomes divided. False altars, false worship, and open disobedience led by ungodly leaders becomes inevitable.
Three tragedies are presented in these chapters. First, the tragedy of King Jeroboam's fear and concern about his control of the Northern Kingdom if the priest and the people continue to worship at the God-ordained Temple in Jerusalem. Jeroboam feared that if people returned to Jerusalem to worship, His Northern Kingdom would return to the house of David (12:26-27). Therefore, he built one of his altars in Bethel, close to his southern border not far from Jerusalem. But the true God-appointed priests refused to participate in Jeroboam's two unauthorized locations at Dan and Bethel and moved to Jerusalem. In order to maintain his two altars, King Jeroboam was forced to hire men who were willing to participate in the worship of idols. Whosoever would, he consecrated (13:33).
The second tragedy was the actions of an old prophet who knew the will of God for a young prophet who had confronted Jeroboam for his evils and what God had called him to do; yet, he lied when he said that God wanted the young prophet to accept his hospitality and come to his home (13:18). The third tragedy was the untimely death of the young prophet who failed to fully obey God's will. He received the message of God and had the courage to preach it in the face of the ruthless King Jeroboam. Furthermore, he refused to go home with the king and rejected all his bribes. He fearlessly proclaimed the judgment of God upon the Northern Kingdom's disobedience. But, his downfall came when he was influenced to accept the warm reception of a deceitful old prophet.
There is much in our religious lives today that is as cheap and superficial as the First Church of Jeroboam. Men, methods, and movements can all be bought with money, and only a few remain who cannot be bought with the king's influence or rewards.
The greatest danger to the Church is not the outside world, but in fundamentally-sound believers who, like the old prophet, have lost their "first love" and grown indifferent (carefully note Revelation 2:1-4). Beware of the influence of those who should know the right answers, yet whose daily conduct and conversation reveal an inconsistent life. It is not difficult to recognize obvious sins — such as theft, murder, or adultery — and reject them. Christians often miss God's best by becoming involved in something that is not spiritually profitable. We must beware the suggestions or activities of "friends" that would get us sidetracked from doing what God has given us to do — even when it seems to be only "temporary." Satan will often use an "old prophet" to influence us from doing what we know is the will of God. It is of utmost importance that Christians guard against plans that distract us from the Word of God. But, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33)
Thought for Today:
Distorting God's Word in order to justify our actions is never acceptable to God, but will always lead us to spiritual failure. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29).
Through Shemaiah who spoke for the Lord (I Kings 12:22). Jesus spoke only what the Father told Him. All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you (John 15:15).
12:14 scorpions =scourges with sharp points; 12:32 high places =pagan shrines; 13:6 intreat =plead in prayer; 13:32 cried =shouted, declared.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Staff: Al Joslyn • Country: Malta (381,000) about 60 miles south of Sicily • Major languages: Maltese and English • Religious freedom • 97% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for safety in your travels (Romans 1:10).
Optional Reading: Acts 27
Memory Verse for the Week: James 1:22