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Bible Pathways 04/27/2002

April 27

Read 1 Kings 14 -- 15

In Today's Reading:

Ahijah's prophecy of judgment against Jeroboam and his sick son l It is important for us to know why the Lord was angry with Israel and how Judah provoked [the Lord] to jealousy (1 Kings 14:22) l After the deaths of Jeroboam and Rehoboam, their sons reign in their stead l They both follow in their evil fathers' footsteps l Is this a warning to us l At last, Asa, in the lineage of David, comes to the throne l And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father (15:11).

Verses for Today:

Shishak King of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the House of the Lord . . . and he took away all the shields of gold (1 Kings 14:25-26).

After the division of the United Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam set up worship centers at Bethel and at Dan. During the next three years, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was greatly influenced to worship the Lord because the Levites left . . . and came to Judah and Jerusalem. . . . So they strengthened the Kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong (2 Chronicles 11:14).

But, in the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign over Judah in Jerusalem, we read he forsook the Law of the Lord . . . and transgressed against the Lord (12:1-2). Rehoboam followed the policy of his father Solomon in being "broad-minded" and "tolerant" of other religions. This could be expected of Rehoboam since his mother's name was Naamah an (idol-worshiping) Ammonitess (1 Kings 14:21).

There were other evidences of his infidelity to the Lord. Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter (granddaughter) of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21). Although the Kingdom of Judah did not forsake the prescribed order of the Temple services, Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord. . . . For they also built them high places, and (idolatrous) images, and groves (idol centers). . . . And there were also sodomites (homosexuals and lesbians) in the land; and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel (1 Kings 14:22-24).

It is no surprise that God withdrew His blessings and protection from Judah so that Shishak, King of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the House of the Lord, and . . . all the shields of gold which Solomon had made (14:25-26).

Rehoboam replaced Solomon's gold shields with worthless shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard (2 Chronicles 12:10). Whenever the king came from his palace to the Temple for his religious ceremonies, he was escorted to and from the Temple by the palace guard, which would precede him, carrying the worthless shields of brass. The Kingdom was not only emptied of all its gold and splendor but was now under the control of Egypt.

Gold was the most costly of all metals and, because of its purity, is symbolic of God. In striking contrast is brass, a mixed alloy of copper and zinc in varying proportions and of much less value. These brass shields were symbolic of God's judgment and the nation's spiritual poverty.

In his later years, Solomon had encouraged the worship of false gods and idolatry continued to gain popularity during the reign of his son Rehoboam. Once cults and false worship become acceptable in a nation, they are eventually followed by all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel (1 Kings 14:24; see also Deuteronomy 23:17).

For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all . . . unrighteousness of men, who hold

(repress) the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

Christ Revealed:

In Asa's ridding the land of idols and sodomites (1 Kings 15:11-14). Christ cleansed the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13; John 2:13-16). As Christians, we are the Temples of God, bought with His own blood, and are cleansed of all unrighteousness when we confess our sins (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16-17; 1 John 1:9).

Word Studies:

14:3 cracknels = cakes; 14:5 feign herself to be = pretend to be; 14:6 heavy tidings = bitter news; 14:15 groves = symbols of idolatry; 15:12 took away = banished; 15:17 suffer = allow or permit.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Central African Republic (3 million) in the center of the African continent · Major languages: French and Sangho · Religious freedom · 47% Protestant; 34% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 3% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Prayer with an upright spirit and heart is a delight to God (Proverbs 15:8).

Optional Reading: Acts 28

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:165

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