Sunday, November 18, 2012
Scratching the Surface of 1&2 Kings
Scratching the Surface of 1 & 2 kings
These two books continue a dominant theme throughout Holy Scripture.
God is the King of kings.
Prosperity is the experience and inheritance of people who esteem Him as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; conversely, poverty is the experience and inheritance of those who do not: "If you follow this path, you will be successful in everything you do no matter where you are."
Among David's last words was this consistently conclusive promise from God: "For as long as your sons are devoted to Me and live by My truth and embrace it with all their being, your offspring will always sit upon Israel's throne."
We might say, "As long as we remain one nation under God, we will continue in His favor."
Or as we'll read in the next two books chronicling the axiom of our relationship with God: "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Solomon epitomized this deference when God asked what he wanted most as the crown passed from his father David to him: "You have allowed me to serve as my father David served, but I am still young and inexperienced. I don't know much about anything, yet I am supposed to lead...Please give Your servant a listening heart for judging Your people and for knowing the difference between what is good and what is evil."
God "delighted" in Solomon's request: "Since you have asked for wisdom and not for an extended lifetime or for personal wealth or for the annihilation of your enemies, since you have instead asked for the ability to understand justice, I will honor your request."
Solomon taught us how to pray effectively; begging God's enabling for service above self.
Like David before him, Solomon had a heart for God.
He wanted to honor God through his kingship under His Kingship: or as he's quoted in the book containing all of his wise proverbial counsel: "People go about making their plans, but God has the final word...He knows your heart...your real motives...Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success."
Paul put it this way: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!"
Again, believers behave like they believe in God; and that includes service above self.
Solomon's prayer was effective because he wanted to help people to honor God - selflessly not selfishly.
That's a main ingredient in effective prayer.
Truly, as Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened."
Yet the motive in asking, seeking, and knocking must be to honor God; or as Jesus explained, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too."
James understood effective prayer: "When you ask, you do not get because your motives are wrong. You focus on self-indulgence...Come close to God and He will come close to You...Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life."
That's why people who truly love God cannot separate devotion to the Kingdom of God from lesser kingdoms.
Indeed, the big ten like all of Holy Scripture insists there are no gods before God; meaning no one nor no thing deserves the allegiance and affection due Him alone.
So if a choice must be made, God must always prevail in our deeds as well as creeds.
When tested to forsake His Kingdom for a lesser kingdom, the apostles got it/Him right: "We must obey God not man."
And whenever the lesser kingdom is chosen over the greater Kingdom, prayer becomes ineffective along with the experience and inheritance of prosperity being forfeited.
Aside from personal empathies, these two books contain a story highlighting the consequences of choosing the lesser over the greater: "Elisha traveled to Bethel...On his way there, a large group of young boys came out of the city and began making fun of him: 'Keep going, baldy! Keep going, baldy!' When Elisha looked back at them, he spoke against them with the authority of God. Almost immediately, two female bears walked out of the forest and ripped up forty-two of the young boys."
God never looks kindly upon anyone or any nation assaulting those anointed to call everyone to honor Him: "From your first breath to the last one, God will keep you safe from evil...All who have faith in God will stand as Mount Zion: unmoved, enduring, eternal...God will send all the wicked away along with those who pervert what's good and twist it in their own crooked way."
I'm reminded of how Martin Luther King, Jr. warned America of the consequences of becoming less than one nation under God: "God has a way of...putting nations in their place. The God that I worship has a way of saying,...'Don't play with Me, Israel. Don't play with Me, Babylon. Be still and know that I'm God...And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
Anointed and wise kings like David and Solomon understood and heeded that/Him.
Anointed and wise prophets like Elijah and Elisha understood and heeded that/Him.
Prosperity was their experience and inheritance.
History - His story - has a way of repeating itself/Himself.
Each chapter begins with a choice.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!