Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1 Kings

Wow! What an intense book of the Bible! There is so much time covered and so much information given that there were times that I felt like my brain turned to mush. This is one of those books that you have to take slow.

It starts off with David close to death and his son Adonijah set himself up as king. This is not the way it was suppose to be. You see, God had decided long before that Solomon would be king. So, David in his old age had to dethrone Adonijah and make Solomon king.

Solomon began with a heart for the Lord, and because of this God offered Solomon to ask for whatever her desired, and Solomon wanted wisdom (he sounds pretty wise to begin with to ask for wisdom.) The most famous story regarding Solomon using his wisdom and judgement was during an argument between to prostitutes over a baby. They both had bore a child each, but one of them died during the night causing them to fight over the one remaining child. Solomon said to cut the child in half with one girl saying she would rather the baby be cut in two so neither of them could have him and the other insisted that the child be given to the other to save his life. The compassionate mother received her child back.

Solomon was wise in all areas. He built the temple to the Lord that David had started. He also got along with surrounding kingdoms by marrying into the families of the rulers there. Solomon, I guess, was just as skanky as his father in this regard. Also, marrying into these families caused him to turn away from God and allow rituals and sacrifices to idols.

But moving on from Solomon because there is so much more to cover and it's already starting to get a little long...

There is a lot that happens. Israel is divided into two nations, Judah and Israel. But let's skip way ahead to Ahab and Jezebel. 1 Kings 16:29-31 says
"In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat,, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him."

In other words, he was bad news, and his wife was even worse. But you know, God is awesome and sent Elijah. Elijah was sent by God to tell the Israelites to turn from their evil ways, stop worshiping Baal and return to worshiping the Lord. My favorite story about Elijah happens on Mount Carmel. Elijah tells Ahab to provide his prophets of Baal (in which he sent 400) and they will have a contest, if you will. They will each provide an offering to their god and whoever answers by fire is the one true God. So Elijah let the prophets of Baal go first. They danced, the shouted, they praised, but nothing happened.

"At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surly he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened."" -1 Kings 18:27

I had to add it in. They were getting absolutely no response. Elijah mocked them. They cut themselves. They bled to get their gods attention, but he did not answer.

Then it was Elijah's turn. He prepared is offering, soaked the alter in water and then prayed to God. God sent fire and burned up the offering and dried up the alter of all the water, proving whose god was God.

Now, back to Ahab. He wanted help from the King of Judah to attack Ramoth Gilead. Now, Jehoshaphat (the king of Judah) asked for prophets to be called forward and asked if they should go to war. Many prophets came and said that they should. Jehoshaphat asked if there was one more to be asked.

"The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." -1 Kings 22:8

This made me laugh out loud to read. And it was true. He did not prophesy anything good for Ahab. Instead, he sent Ahab into battle which ended his life.

To me, while reading 1 Kings, it shows how weak Ahab was as a person. In most of the things that he did Jezebel was behind the scenes telling him what to do. Leading the way, really, but we will see her death in 2 Kings, so stay tuned.