Monday, June 18, 2012

Q & A

After a couple of weeks of distraction, I find myself bursting with questions that need to be answered.  But, first, you may need to know that I have started studying Kings for the summer.  As we left our Ladies study in James, we were directed to Ezekiel and his prophecies.  That got me started on this trip through the Kings.  I started after Solomon with the split of the kingdom.  Q1:  Why did I do that?  A1: I don’t like Solomon.  Q1a Why don’t I like Solomon?  I will talk about that at a later time because I found that skipping to Jeroboam left me with too many unanswered Qs, like, Q3 “Did God forget that David sinned?” and Q4 “Why is Jeroboam back and from where did he return?”  So I gave up and started at the beginning, as is only right. :)

Now I find that having a study Bible to help answer some of my questions is a real blessing.  I have possibly found a satisfying answer to Q4 which I will discuss in a minute.  Meanwhile, here are the challenges I face at this time:

Why is David still the icon of obedience, the pillar of faith, even though he sinned greatly?  What are the geologic consequences of the Genesis Flood?  Why can’t I find a mango colored blouse in my size?  What does “without form and void” mean; covered in water or dry like Mars?  Why do I love to laugh out loud at silly things, including Ellen De G, silly pictures and AFV? LOL.  Why did the “old prophet” lie to “the man of God, then have the man’s body buried in his own tomb?  And “Why did Jeroboam have his wife disguise herself before going to see the prophet Ahijah when Ahijah was blind?  Well, I have a lot of thinking to do, and I will try to share some of it with you this summer.  But for now let’s see about David’s sin, with the help of my “study” notes.

When I first read I Kings 14:8-9, I found myself really puzzled.  I knew and know that David was (and is) forever a “man after God’s own heart” and the example to follow (before Christ) in matters of obedience.  But the wording confused me:  “…you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands, and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.”  What?  How can this be said when we all know that David made several very bad decisions over his lifetime?  Did God forget about his bad decisions?  I immediately answered “No” to that, remembering that God cannot forget.  But He can and does choose “not to remember” those sins we have confessed and asked Him to forgive.  This is shown in chapter 15, verse 5, where it says, “for David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah, the Hittite.”  So… there is not a desire to hide David’s sin from us, nor is there an attempt to pretend it didn’t happen.  God has chosen not to remember and thereby not hold these against him, but He wants us to remember and learn from all of David’s life, not just the good parts. “Hence,” we must pay attention to what was really going on in the lives of those who did and did not follow in David’s footsteps. And that brings me back to James and his reference to the “double-dminded man.”

It seems that the double-minded man refers to a man who cannot make up his mind to follow God, even though he has been given proper guidance through God’s word and an example to follow in David (and in Christ, and the apostles, later on.)  In the books of Kings, we find that most of them followed the example and teaching of Jeroboam, rather than David.  Perhaps one of the circumstances where David failed God was an impetus toward this behavior:  David failed to discipline his sons.  Even Rehoboam, whom God appointed successor to David, failed to follow David’s single-mindedness. 

You see, the true test of David was his single-minded loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He never even considered straying from worshiping his God, the one true God, let alone did he ever worship any other God.  He sought refuge with an enemy of God when his own enemies were hot on his trail;  He stayed home when he should have gone out to lead his army and ended up committing adultery and murder; and he failed to pay attention to training up his sons in the way they should go.  But none of this compared to breaking the First, and foremost, commandment:  Thou shalt not worship any other god before me…!”  Even as we look back at the failure of the Israelites to commit to going into the Promised Land, we find that it was the worship of their own eyes and imaginations that determined their downfall.  God will not have it. God will deal with it.

And Jeroboam, as the appointed king of the northern tribes, set out to do exactly that:  He set up an entire system of worship which left Almighty God on the sidelines and magnified the presence of false gods and set himself up as the priest of that religion.  As King passed to King in the northern tribes (Israel), they are repeatedly marked as choosing to follow in the sins of Jeroboam. That is described this way:  He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin, which he (Jeroboam) had caused Israel to commit. 

For us it seems to come down to this:  Who do I allow to influence my way, and who do I encourage others to follow by my way?  Do I allow the things of today to influence my choices to the point that I sacrifice others opportunities to follow the one true God and Him only?

God, give us the sensitivity to realize that our choices are of extreme importance, not just in our own lives, but in the lives of all who look to us for example and guidance.  May we be alert to glorifying you with our daily lives and choices.  We are weak, but You are strong.  Amen.

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