Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Great Divide



We are following a series of bad fathers.
Solomon was no better.
The son of wisest man on earth showed himself to be foolish.
Foolish indeed:

1 Kings 12
The Northern Tribes Revolt

Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt,[a] for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”

5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

7 The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. 9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

“Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
Look out for your own house, O David!”

So the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.

18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram,[b] who was in charge of the labor force, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.

20 When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David."

Rehoboam gets fantastic advice from the old men. He rejects it out of hand.
He goes to the punks he grew up with. The ones who always had everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Their advice was terrible.
He followed it.
He lost most of the kingdom in a matter of days...

Be careful whom you listen to!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Power of words

We all know the childhood chant:

Sticks and stones will hurt my bones
But words will never hurt me...

Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is what Solomon said:

18 "Telling lies about others
is as harmful as hitting them with an ax,
wounding them with a sword,
or shooting them with a sharp arrow."

Three visual images to hammer home the message. Words can wound and hurt. Be careful what you say.

What you DO say, and what you DON't say are sometimes equally important.
Here is Ogden Nash on the subject:

“To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, admit it; Whenever you're right, shut up”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

20 towns for 20 years


Solomon inherited a kingdom that was "top dog" in the area. Taxes were flowing in. No one dared go to war with Israel. It was a time of peace and prosperity.

He set about to build some amazing structures.

Here is an interesting story about one of his main suppliers of raw materials and skilled labor - Hiram.

Solomon’s Agreement with Hiram

10 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, 11 he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.) 12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. 13 “What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today. 14 Nevertheless, Hiram paid[a] Solomon 9,000 pounds[b] of gold.

Your "gift" to me?

In a word - WORTHLESS !!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

If - Then

A lot of computer programming follows the sequence "If-Then"
God deals with Solomon (and us) the same way.
If you do this and this and this - then this will follow.
On the other hand, if you do that and that and that - then that will follow...


1 Kings 9
The Lord’s Response to Solomon


1 So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do. 2 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him,

“I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
4 “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
6 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 7 then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. 8 And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads in amazement. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’
9 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’”

Of course, we know the end of the story for Solomon.

What will we choose to be the end of the story for us???