Showing posts from April, 2016

The Biblical Age of Kings #4: The Prophet's Rebuke

Some of the Bible's craziest stories are in the books of 1 & 2 Kings. Remember the story of the floating ax head? Or do you know the one about how some kids called a prophet "Baldy" right before a bear came down and mauled them? And then there's the story of how God caused a lying spirit to help some prophets mislead the king? Yeah, weird stuff.
Well perhaps no story is stranger than the one in 1 Kings 14:1-18. The narrators relate the end of the reign of Jeroboam, the first king of a new northern kingdom. Solomon's arrogance laid the seeds for Israel's division, and his son Rehoboam's folly made certain that it collapsed. Rehoboam is left with the diminutive southern kingdom of Judah while Jeroboam claims the northern throne.
The story of 1 Kgs 14 begins with sickness. The king's son is ill. Jeroboam tells his nameless wife, "Disguise yourself and go visit Ahijah the blind prophet. Take him some gifts as if from a commoner, and ask him to fo…

The Biblical Age of Kings #3: If You Turn Aside

When it comes to our spiritual development, there's no such thing as a body at rest. You're always moving. One way or another. You're never completely standing still, despite appearances.
Think about it first from the perspective of science. You may think you're not moving, but it's an illusion. For one thing, the earth is always spinning around its axis. Depending on where you are, you could be moving as fast as 1,000 miles/hour! Add to that the fact that the earth is orbiting the sun. And then there are the entire solar system and galaxy all speeding away from the center of the universe. It's dizzying to consider! But my point is simple: you're always moving one way or another.
The same is true from a spiritual point of view. Your life is always moving on a trajectory of one kind or another. You're either moving closer to God, or you're gradually pulling away from God. There’s no such thing as standing spiritually still. Either you're growing …

The Biblical Age of Kings #2: The Allure of Wisdom

As we continue our study on the books of 1 & 2 Kings, we reach the apparent pinnacle of Israel's greatness in 1 Kings 4:29-34. (It's 5:9-14 in the Hebrew text). Solomon seems to be the greatest king ever for the small and otherwise insignificant nation of Israel. His wisdom, wealth and glory put Israel on the map of world powers. Solomon maximized the potential of Israel, at least in an economic and geopolitical sense. He was a master of public relations, churning out loads of artistic material and know-how, making him the envy of world leaders near and far.
This chapter and the surrounding narrative also contain a cynical undercurrent. While the story of Solomon speaks of great bounty and success, it also calls into question the nature of a Solomonic kingdom. God does not hold back in giving Solomon a wise mind and discerning heart, but this seems to produce in Solomon a man who suffers from memory loss. Although God is blessing him richly, he seems to quickly forget tha…