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Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 20 - 1 Kings 15

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 15. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • "gave him a lamp" (verse 4) is symbolism meaning that he was given leadership over the country. God had promised David that his family line would continue to rule and Abijah is experiencing the fulfillment of that promise.
  • David (who was Abidjan's great grandfather) (and is mentioned in verses 4 and 5) was not perfect, but his heart was for God. He never turned and worshipped anyone or anything else. And isn't it interesting that the Bible points out that David, who is one of the heroes of the Bible, sinned against God ("in the case of Uriah the Hittite," verse 5) (David slept with Uriah's wife and had Uriah killed to cover it up). If the Bible was filled with myths, or was just written to convince us of lies, it would not include the sins of its heroes. But the Bible is true history and so it does include their sins.
  • When it says David was Asa's "father" it's not speaking literally. David was actually Asa's great-great grandfather.
  • Asa got rid of the "male shrine prostitutes" (verse 12). Prostitution was a part of the Canaanite religion. He also got rid of an asherah pole (verse 13). This was probably a wood statue representing the god Asherah from the Canaanite religion.
  • The one thing Asa did not do is "remove the high places" (verse 14). We saw in 1 Kings 3:2 that the Israelites had followed the practice of the Canaanites and chosen sites on high hills for worship. This was not in keeping with what God had prescribed for them for worshipping Him. We will see as we continue reading (especially in the book of 2 Kings) that king after king refuse to take down these high places as they should have.
  • "according to the word of the Lord" (verse 29) - God had "predicted" that Jeroboam's family would all be killed as a result of his sin, and that's exactly what happens here. What God says, always happens.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • One thing we see in this chapter is that it is very easy for a person to follow in the way of his or her parents. Occasionally someone can break free from the pattern of their parents (as Asa did), but much more often they will follow in their footsteps (as we see with Abijah, Nadab and Baasha).
  • Asa took a stand for God by getting rid of some things that could easily lead people away from God. We need to follow Asa's example. What, in our area of influence, might lead someone to sin or lose focus on God? How can we get rid of that so we don't lead people astray?
  • The one thing Asa did not do is take down the high places. Often there is something that is wrong but it has become so accepted, or people are so committed to it, that even if they want to do right they can't see that it's wrong.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • If you are a parent, what example are you setting for your kids? Not just what do you tell them, but how are you living your life? If your kids end up "walking in your ways" will they be living lives that please God? Will they be living lives of integrity and purity?
  • What in your area of influence might lead someone (or even you) to sin? Is there something in your life, in your home, in your office that doesn't honor God and might lead someone down a wrong path? Will you get rid of it today?
  • Ask God to help you see if there are any "high places" in your life. Is there something wrong, something that displeases God, but it has become so normal for you that you haven't realized it's wrong? If God points out something, do something about it!