Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Fear not, there is nothing to fear, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness and justice.”
Isaiah 41: 10
“Take the very hardest thing in your life -- the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.”
L. Lilias Trotter
Today’s Study Text:
“And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it -- for he still dwelt in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon -- he returned from Egypt and they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore lighten the hard service and the heavy yoke your father put upon us, and we will serve you…and King Rehoboam consulted with the old men who stood before Solomon his father…and they said to (Rehoboam), ‘If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them and answer them with good words, they will be your servants forever.’ But he forsook the counsel.”
1 Kings 11: 43, 12: 1-8
“Greedy For Gain”
“No matter how mature we become as Christ-followers, we are only a step away from yielding to the gravitational pull of greed.”
Secrets of the Generous Life
How has “greed” affected my life?
In what ways have I found it possible to be greedy in my own behavior toward others?
“One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.”
Donald William Bradley Robinson
“A greedy and grasping person destroys community.”
Proverbs 15: 27
The Message Bible
Solomon had come to the end of his life and in 1 Kings 11: 43, we are told he was buried in Jerusalem. No amount of wealth could stop the clock of time. All the wives in the world couldn’t keep the countdown toward old age from taking its toll. But what’s more, all the things and people whom Solomon possessed, didn’t come along on his graveyard journey. As has been said many times, “You can’t take it with you,” and King Solomon’s life more than underlines this fact. Sadly, there are a lot of people today who seem to think that their money gives them something of a head start on life and protection from death.
Several months ago, I was talking with a lady who had been a client of our company for many years. A while back, she and her husband sold their company and this financial arrangement, along with other investments they made through the years, placed them in what you and I would call a “very rosy” position -- especially when it comes to having money.
However, in spite of all the wealth they have acquired, along with numerous homes, to hear them talk, you would think they were penniless. In fact, in our conversation, she was moaning about her husband, who won’t buy new clothes because he is so intent on using every dime he has to increase the total on his investment statement.
Now I’m all for saving money. But after hearing this kind of talk from someone who has more than enough, I finally couldn’t contain myself and asked this question, “Betty, does Bill think that with his last gasp of breath, he will be able to grab all that money and pull it into his casket before they close the lid? Just what does he think he’s going to do with his money when he dies?” Because this couple has no children and no church affiliation, as I conveyed to Betty, if we can’t take our so-called “treasures” with us, then why not use what we have to bless others here and now? As has been said many times before, the only things we really keep are what we give away.
And this brings us to the story of what happened when the very rich King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam came to the throne to replace his father.
The first thing we find is that there was a very high price tag that went along with Solomon’s lavish living. It took a lot of gold to keep 1,000 women in jewels and furs. Not to mention the homes they lived in and the little ones who were born. Talk about an expensive undertaking. Someone had to foot the bill and in 1 Kings 12: 4, we’re told that Solomon paid for his greed-filled life by placing a heavy yoke of service, both financial and physical, on the subjects of his kingdom. And so, after Solomon’s death, a group of selected individuals, led by the young and mighty man, Jeroboam, whom we will come to know better in the next few weeks, came to the newly crowned Rehoboam, asking for some relief. “Make the yoke lighter,” was the plea. However, rather than adhering to the counsel of the older advisors in Solomon’s “cabinet,” the brash and greedy Rehoboam, took the advice of his young pals, whom we are told he’d grown up with, and this was Rehoboam’s response, if you can believe it:
“Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke, My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
1 Kings 12: 14
Talk about greed gone wild. This young man, who had most likely been bequeathed with every financial gift possible and whose passions, like his father’s, had been fed from a wanton well of fulfilled wishes, at the beginning of his reign, informed the people of his kingdom, that greed would be the ruling creed of his domain. This is such a critical point for us to remember, especially as we continue to watch the hedge God had surrounded His children with not only get a dent in it, here and there, but become completely demolished. Unfortunately, it was the power of greed that was at the heart of the fall of the nation of Israel after two kingdoms formed the Southern Kingdom led by Rehoboam containing the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and the Northern Kingdom which contained the other ten tribes led by Jeroboam.
If we take a look again at the passage of Scripture found in Proverbs 15: 27, Message Bible, where Solomon penned these words: “A greedy and grasping person destroys community,” we will find that Solomon’s own son, Rehoboam, who threatened that the power of greed would rule with even more brutality under his watch, should have taken his father’s words to heart.
Thousands of years ago, the Roman stoic, Seneca, observed that, “the most grievous kind of destitution is to want money in the midst of wealth.” Seems these words while written long ago, are completely applicable to some of the situations faced in societies around the world today. As Jennifer Stone wrote in 1988, “Greed stains our culture, soaks our sensibilities and has replaced grace as a sign of our intimacy with the divine.” Nearly twenty-five years later, things have gotten even worse for greed is still running rampant.
As we study God’s Word today, how timely is the instruction given to prevent us from falling into the same trap that so many of God’s children have fallen into throughout history. Tomorrow, we will conclude our study on “greed” by looking at what is said in the New Testament, beginning with Jesus’ words in Mark 7: 22,23, Amplified Bible,: “Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth)…all these evil purposes and desires come from within, and they make the man (the woman) unclean and render him (her) unhallowed.”
“He (she) is not poor that hath not much, but he (she) that craves much.”
“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4: 11
“Being happy with God now means:
Loving as He loves,
Helping as He helps,
Giving as He gives,
Serving as He serves,
Rescuing as He rescues,
Being with Him twenty-four hours,
Touching Him in His distressing disguise.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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