Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 7)

Israel now has a new king. This king has gone through and wiped out all of Ahab's wicked lineage that he could. There was only Ahaziah's children and his mother; sister of Ahab, left.
Ahaziah's mother was named Athaliah, and she was enjoying her time on the throne as the Queen. When she heard that her son was dead, she knew she would have to give up that title, and she didn't want to.
II Chronicles 22:10- But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.
This wicked woman killed all her son's children! Except one.
II Kings 11:2-3-  But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons [which were] slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.
There was one little baby who was saaved by Ahaziah's sister. She was married to one of the temple priests. She snuck the little baby boy into the temple and hid him for six years.
During this time Athaliah reigned as the evil queen.
II Chronicles 23:1-3- And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David.
When the baby was seven years old, the priest assembled as many of the leaders of the city as he could. They got together and decided to crown the boy as king.
Athaliah was so wicked that the people would rather a child rule over them!
The priest set up armed guards around the child. And then, he put armed guards around the doors and the gates. He also placed armed guards throughout the temple. Anyone who got too close to the boy king would be in for a surprise!
II Chronicles 23:10- And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about.
Now that the area was secure, it was time to crown the boy king.
II Chronicles 23:11- Then they brought out the king's son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.
People were so happy they were shouting, "God save the king!"
Well, all this noise made it up to the caste where the wicked queen was. She came out to see what was going on.
II Kings 11:13-14- And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD. And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
Athaliah was shocked to see the people had crowned someone king. She thought that if she pointed out that it was treason that someone who kill the boy and she could remain queen.
What she didn't understand was that she was the one who had committed treason long ago!
II Chronicles 23:14-15- Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD. So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king's house, they slew her there.
The priest commanded that the armed guards take the evil queen out of the temple and put her to death. The guards obeyed the priest.
II Kings 12:1-2- In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
Now, a seven year old can't really make decisions about how a nation should be governed. He has no idea about laws, or wars, or judgment. So, someone had to be an appointed ruler until he was old enough to rule by himself. Who do you think it was?
Of course it was the priest whose wife saved his life. It was probably the priest and his wife that raised the little boy until he was seven years old.
II Chronicles 23:16-17- And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD'S people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
The priest knew that the evil queen had followers who worshiped the same false idols that Ahab's family worshiped. He made a covenant with the people to promise to serve the Lord, and no false idols. The people were happy to comply and went and destroyed the building that the false idol was placed in.
II Chronicles 23:18-20- Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the LORD by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the LORD, to offer the burnt offerings of the LORD, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David. And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the LORD, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in. And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the LORD: and they came through the high gate into the king's house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom.
Jehoiada, the priest, wanted to make sure that everything was set up so that the people could worship the Lord the way they should. He made sure to follow the protocol that King David had set up for the temple court so long ago.
Then, he got the kingdom ready to protect their boy king.
II Chronicles 23:21- And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 6)

​Jehoshaphat's son, Jeroham, was now reigning in Judah. Even though Jehoshaphat loved the Lord and tried very hard to serve Him. Jeroham did not love the Lord. He had no interest in following in his father's footsteps.
II Chronicles 21:1-4- Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn. Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel. ​
This wicked man killed all of his brothers when he had made sure that the kingdom would follow him. He didn't care what his father would think of this, nor did he care what God would think about this.
Jehoshaphat had one problem that was the main influence in his son becoming so wicked. He wouldn't sever ties with the wicked King Ahab.
II Chronicles 21:5-7- Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD. Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
Because of Jehoshaphat's friendship with Ahab, his son married one of Ahab's daughters. And this woman was just as wicked as her father was!
God wasn't going to let this evil king get away with his sins.
II Chronicles 21:8-10- In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots. So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.
The Lord allowed some nations that were once allies of Judah to rebel. They became the enemies of Jeroham and started wars with Judah.
Do you think Jeroham turned to the Lord God Almighty and asked for help like his father Jehoshaphat would have done? Nope! He followed in the ways of his wife's wicked father.
II Chronicles 21:11-19- Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto. And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.
Not only did God send armies to battle with Jeroham, but God also struck him with a terrible disease. The sad part was that his people didn't even care that he died. They just buried him.
II Chronicles 21:20- Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
That's such a sad way for a life to end! He died and no one cared.
But, the treachery of the house of Ahab wasn't over.
II Chronicles 22:1-4 And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.
Not only did Jeroham marry the daughter of Ahab, but he also married the sister of Ahab. Athaliah was the daughter of Omri, the father of Ahab. And she was just as evil as Queen Jezebel!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 5)

King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to war together despite the prophet's warning. This was what God wanted to happen. He wanted Ahab to go to war and die in the battle for his sins.
King Ahab had heard what the prophet had said and he was worried that he would die. So, he came up with a plan.
II Chronicles 18:29- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
King Ahab wanted Jehoshaphat to dress up in his royal garments while he himself went out dressed as any other soldier. If the Syrians were looking for a king to kill, they would go after the man dressed as one.
II Chronicles 18:30-32- Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him. For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
The Syrian king wanted Ahab. He had ordered his soldiers to go straight for the king.
Did God want Jehoshaphat in this battle? We don't know for sure, but I would guess the answer is "no". Why? Because God doesn't want us making friends with wicked people. Did God leave Jehoshaphat because of his mistake? Nope. God helped him out. Only Ahab was doomed by God to die in this battle.
When the Syrians realized that the man dressed as a king wasn't Ahab, they backed off. But, God was going to use the Syrian army to bring about his death sentence on Ahab.
II Chronicles 18:33-34- And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.
God carried one of the Syrian's arrows and guided it through Ahab's armor into a kill spot. Ahab ordered his chariot driver to take him out of the battle, but it was too late. God's Word was going to come to pass.
I Kings 22:36-38-  And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
God has a way of bringing us back to the one sin that kept us from His will. Ahab's sin was allowing the murder of Naboth the Jezreelite and his sons. Remember, Queen Jezebel paid off people to lie about this family and had them killed so that Ahab could take the family's grape vineyard as his own. Well, in the same spot that the family of Naboth was killed, is the same place where they washed Ahab's blood out of the chariot.
Genesis 9:6-  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
God decreed way back in Noah's day that if a man murdered another that the murderer must pay with his own blood. God's law will come to pass whether the wicked realize it or not. Ahab's blood was the price for Naboth's murder.
I Kings 22:39-40- Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
So, King Ahab died and his son, Ahaziah, was crowned king in his place.
What about Jehoshaphat?
II Chronicles 19:1-3- And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.
Jehoshaphat lived and went back to his house in Jerusalem. But, God wanted the king to know that He wasn't pleased. He sent a prophet to tell Jehoshaphat not to make alliances with evil men.
II Chronicles 19:4-6- And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.
Jehoshaphat had a tender heart toward God's rebuke. He decided it was time, yet again, to make sure that his country was serving the Lord Almighty. He reminded his people and his judges that God was watching them and that He would recompense evil.
I Kings 22:42-43- Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
God blessed Jehoshaphat. God wanted Jehoshaphat to do well because the king wanted to do right. But, some times people don't learn when they're suppose to. Jehoshaphat had made peace with the wicked kings of Israel, but God didn't want him to make friends with those wicked kings. Jehoshaphat couldn't learn this lesson, and it was going to cost him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 4)

King Asa of Judah was diseased in his feet. He died from this disease because he wouldn't repent of the pride in his heart. His son, Jehoshaphat, was now the king of Judah.​
II Chronicles 17:1-2- And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
Jehoshaphat started his reign by strengthening the armies and cities of Judah. Would he be a good king?
II Chronicles 17:3-6- And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Jehoshaphat wanted to be a good king. He loved the Lord and wanted to do right. He got rid of the bad places that people were going to worship idols at. But, he didn't stop there. He got some wise men to go through his kingdom and teach his people all about the Lord and what the Lord required from their lives.
II Chronicles 17:9-10-  And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
Proverbs 16:7- When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
The Lord had promised that he would help those who served Him. Jehoshaphat was doing all he could to make sure that he and his people would serve the Lord. Because of this, the Lord made his enemies to be at peace with him.
II Chronicles 17:11- Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
What did Jehoshaphat do during his time of peace? He didn't sit around and play. He was trying to make sure that his people had what they needed.
II Chronicles 17:12-13- And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
Even though he was a good man who loved the Lord, this did not keep him from making mistakes. And the biggest mistake he made was trying to be friends with someone who didn't love the Lord and didn't want to do right!
II Chronicles 18:1- Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, were some of the most wicked rulers of the Israelite people. Jehoshaphat should have stayed far away from them, but instead, he decided to become acquaintances with them.
II Chronicles 18:2- And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead.
Ahab threw a big party while Jehoshaphat was there, and then he asked if they could go to battle together to fight one of Ahab's enemies.
II Chronicles 18:4- 6- And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand. But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
Jehoshaphat was still trying to do what God wanted so he asked Ahab to seek the Lord's will. Ahab was a wicked man who didn't serve the Lord God Almighty. Ahab gathered some prophets together and asked them. All these prophets said to go to war. But, Jehoshaphat had heard the Lord's will before, and he knew that these prophets didn't serve his God. He wanted to know if Ahab had a prophet that served his God.
II Chronicles 18:7-8- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
Ahab didn't want to call a real servant of God because he knew that the answer wouldn't be good. He told Jehoshaphat that there was one man, but he hated him. Ahab didn't want to hear what the Lord God Almighty had to say. But, Ahab called the prophet for Jehoshaphat.
II Chronicles 18:9, 11- And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
The two kings were dressed in their royal robes, sitting on their thrones, surrounded by false prophets who were telling them to go to war. All the prophets were saying the same thing- you will win.
But, there was another throne room where a King was sitting dressed in His royal garments. He, too, was surrounded by people to which He asked a question. Only the true prophet of the Lord knew of this meeting. Only the one prophet, Micaiah, heard the question and the answers.
II Chronicles 18:14-17- And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD? Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
Micaiah told the king what he wanted to hear, but Ahab knew that the prophet wasn't telling him something. Micaiah always said something about the Lord when he prophesied, and he didn't mention God. When Ahab told him to say what God really said, Micaiah prophesied of Ahab's death.
Then, Micaiah told the two earthly kings about the other meeting in the heavenly throne room.
II Chronicles 18:18-22- Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
The Lord God Almighty had a meeting with His heavenly host. He wanted Ahab to go to battle, but not to win. He was going to use this battle to kill Ahab for his sins. One spirit came out and said that he could get Ahab to go by getting Ahab's false prophets to tell him that he would win the battle.
All those false prophets were saying good things about this battle, but they were lies. The only person who would tell the truth was the one who truly worshiped the Lord God Almighty. And for telling the truth, he was thrown in prison.
II Chronicles 18:25-26- Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
Even though Ahab and Jehoshaphat had heard the truth, they decided not to listen to it. They decided to go ahead and go forth to war.
II Chronicles 18:28- So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 3)

Last week we learned about Abijah, Solomon's son, getting crowned and his war with Jeroboam.
I Kings 15:1-2- Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
II Chronicles 13:21- But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.
Abijah had only been ruling Judah for 3 years when the war with Jeroboam took them to the battlefield. Even though they were outnumbered, God helped them to win the battle because they put their trust in Him.
But, it didn't take long for Abijah to turn his back on the Lord.
I Kings 15:3- And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
Remember that Solomon in his old age had set up temples to the false gods that his heathen wives served? Well, Abijah's mother served these false gods, and she encouraged her son to serve her idols.
Because of his sins God cut his life short. He only reigned for 3 years.
II Chronicles 14:1- So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
After Abijam's reign ended, Asa was crowned king. Do you think he would be a good king? His father and grandfather had turned their backs on the Lord. His mother/grandmother served false gods. What would this king do?
I KIngs 15:11-14- And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.
II Chronicles 14:4-  And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
Asa decided that he wanted to follow the Lord. It didn't matter what the rest of his family were doing. He took his mother's position away and destroyed her idol and her worship place. I bet it wasn't easy for him to fire his mom! But, he also went further and removed all the idols and wicked people out of his kingdom!
God gave him 10 years of peace in his kingdom because of his zeal. He didn't sit around doing nothing. He was preparing his kingdom for just in case.
II Chronicles 14:6-8- And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.
Asa knew that there would come a time when the enemies would attack. He didn't know when it would happen, but he knew that it would be best if his people were ready for it. He built safe cities with hight walls and strong gates, and he trained an army of 580,000 men.
II Chronicles 14:9-13- And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.
​Asa knew that his army was ready for the battle against this larger army. But, he also knew that no matter how much training they had they still needed the Lord. Asa put his trust in God and God helped him to win this battle.
II Chronicles 15:1-2- And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
God sent a prophet out to meet Asa and tell him that he would be blessed if he followed the Lord's will, but he warned him that God would leave if he decided to turn his back on God and worship idols like his fathers had.
II Chronicles 15:8-13- And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
Asa wanted God to bless him and his people, so he gathered his kingdom together, along with any other Jews from Samaria that wanted to serve God, and they promised as a nation to worship God only.
God was so pleased with Asa's decision that he gave him another 25 years of peace!
II Chronicles 15:19- And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.
The new king of Samaria was Baasha, and he didn't like that some of his people were going to Jerusalem to worship God. So, he decided it was time to go to war with Asa.
II Chronicles 16:1- In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
Asa knew that Baasha thought he was strong because of a league he had made with the heathen nation of Syria. Asa thought that he could avoid a war if he sent a large present to the king of Syria and ask him to break his league with Baasha. The king of Syria accepted and sent his army to attack Baasha.
But, this didn't please God. You see, God wanted Asa to put his trust in Him, not in a heathen king.
II Chronicles 16:7,9- And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
God sent a prophet to tell Asa that He knew his heart was turning away from Him. No one else in the kingdom noticed that Asa's heart had begun grow in pride! But, God sees our heart. He knows before even we do.
Asa was going to show exactly what was in heart by his response to the words of the Lord.
II Chronicles 16:10- Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
Asa was so angry that he put the prophet in jail. He also turned on his people and made life harder for them.
God wasn't going to let him get away with this!
II Chronicles 15:12- And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.
Pride is a very dangerous sin. Most sins people can see you commit- if you steal or lie people can find out. But pride hides inside where no one can see it. And it grows until it makes you think you are better than you actually are.
Proverbs 29:23a- A man's pride shall bring him low:
Psalm 73:6a- Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain;
Proverbs 11:2a- When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
Proverbs 16:18- Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
God put a disease in Asa's feet to try to humble him, but he would not repent. Instead of telling God he was sorry, he tried to find a doctor who could heal him. His pride led to his death.
I Kings 15:9-10- And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
II Chronicles 15:13-14- And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him.

How sad to see a once great man fall because he couldn't say "I was wrong!"

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 2)

King Jeroboam was leading his people into idolatry with his two golden calves that he had made. Even when he saw miraculous s​igns and heard deadly warnings he still refused to turn from his sin.
Would Solomon's son, King Rehoboam, serving God any better? He started out building cities and fortifying his kingdom.
II Chronicles 11:5, 11- And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah. And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
As King Jeroboam turned to idols, the Levite Priests and those who wished to serve the True God of Israel moved from their homes in Jeroboam's kingdom to the land ruled by Rehoboam. King Rehoboam had the chance to serve the LOrd and turn his kingdom around!
II Chronicles 11:13,16,17- And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
For three years Rehoboam served the Lord. But, he didn't learn from the mistakes of his father, Solomon. He should have realized that taking a worldly wife would entice him to worship idols. He started out with good women as his wives, but then he took his Uncle Absalom's daughter- the man who would have taken the kingdom from his father.
II Chronicles 11:20-21- And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith. And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)
The wicked rebellion that was in Absalom's heart was also in the heart of his daughter. But, this wouldn't be realized until it was too late! Solomon decided that it was her son that would take the throne after him.
II Chronicles 11:22- And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
In the fourth year of his reign, Rehoboam started to worship false gods. They built temples and idols and places to worship them all over the kingdom of Judah. And, so the Lord had to punish them.
I Kings 14:22-25- And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
God sent and Egyptian king into Judah to battle Rehoboam. This Egyptian king won and took all the treasures that Solomon had filled Jerusalem with during his reign.
I Kings 14:26-28- And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
When Solomon was king he had made golden shields for the guards of the temple to hold. They were beautiful and shined in the sunlight. The Egyptian king took these with the other treasures.
Rehoboam made shields of brass to hold in their place. If you polish brass well it shines in the sunlight, too.
Some people act like Rehoboam with his shields. They want to look like Christians who serve and worship God, but really they're just shiny brass fakes. The Bible warns us to watch out for these, to avoid these types of people.
II Timothy 3:1, 2a, 5- This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I Kings 14:21, 30, 31 -  And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
Rehoboam reigned for seventeen years. His mother was from the Ammonites. This nation was descended from Abraham's nephew, Lot. They didn't follow in Abraham's footsteps. They started serving the false gods of the people around them. It was Rehoboam's mother who encouraged him to depart from serving the Lord, and it was his rebellious wife that discouraged him from repenting.

Everything that Solomon had built in his 40 years reign had been destroyed by his foolish son in only 5 years! How sad is that?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Judah (Part 1)

​Now that Solomon has died, it is time for Israel to anoint one of his sons to reign over them.
II Chronicles 10:1-2- And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.​
The land of Israel has gone through some pretty interesting changes in the last 40 years. They've become the wealthiest kingdom in the known world through Solomon's wisdom. But, they've also become a land that is full of idolatry! There are now many temples to many different false gods in land of Israel.
Because of this sin, God has said that he will take 10 tribes away from Solomon's son and give them to Jeroboam. Now, Jeroboam has shown up with the rest of Israel to crown the new king, Rehoboam.
II Chronicles 10:3-4- And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.
The people of Israel asked Rehoboam to take some of the burden off them that his father Solomon had put on them.
It's like having all your teachers give you 10 pages of homework, and you go to the principal and ask him to give you less homework so that you're able to get it all done.
II Chronicles 10:5- And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
Rehoboam decided that he would get counsel from those around him and asked the people to come back for an answer in three days.
There were two groups of people that Rehoboam would get counsel from. The first group was the old men who had built the kingdom into it's present greatness with Solomon. These men had years of experience dealing with and solving the kingdom's many problems. The next group was the young men who grew up with Solomon. This group of men had little experience. They never had to face tough problems like the old men, and they hadn't learned the many hard lessons that the old men had.
I Kings 12:6-11- And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 
The old men advised that Rehoboam give the people what they wanted- be kind and gentle and they will follow you for the rest of your life. This was very wise advice.
But, Rehoboam was not a wise man. He didn't listen to the advice of the old men. Instead, he asked the young men what their advice was. They said to make the people's lives harder. Instead of punishing them with whips, use scorpions whose sting gives agony for days!
Remember the homework and the principal? What would you say if the principal said, "I'm going to make it 20 pages of homework!" You wouldn't like that principal! You wouldn't want to stay in that school!
God was going to use the foolishness of Solomon's son to bring His will to pass. He was going to make the Israelites so mad at Rehoboam that they would anoint another king.
II Chronicles 10:12-14a- So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, And answered them after the advice of the young men, 
Well, as you can imagine, this information didn't go over very well!
I Kings 12:15-17- Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
So the nation of Israel was split in two. But, Rehoboam was so delusional that he thought everything was okay. 
I Kings 12:18-19- Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 
Rehoboam sent a tax collector to pick up the payment to the king, and the tribes that had left Rehoboam's rule killed the man. Rehoboam was there when it happened and he barely escaped!
I Kings 12:20a- And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: 
The ones who had rejected the rule of Rehoboam sent and anointed Jeroboam to rule over them just as God had said!
I Kings 12:21-24- And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
Rehoboam was so mad that he was going to start a war with Jeroboam. God didn't want the Israelites killing each other, so he sent a prophet to tell Rehoboam that this was His will and not to go to battle.

Two kingdoms. Two kings. One true God! The only way for each of these kingdoms to truly prosper was for them to submit to God's rules and obey Him! Do you think they did?