Sunday, February 21, 2016

1 Kings 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 16. 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?)
  • God's prediction of destruction Baasha (verses 3-4) is identical to the one against Jeroboam (in 1 Kings 14:11). When you choose evil, the result is quite predictable.
  • Elah was king (verse 8), his army was in battle near Gibbethon (verse 15) but Elah is back home getting drunk. He doesn't care about his people, he cares about his pleasure. The result (see verse 10) is quite predictable as well.
  • When it says "in accordance with the word of the Lord" (verse 12) it does not mean that Zimri is killing at God's command. It means that God had predicted this would happen, and now it is. Zimri was not consciously fulfilling the prophecy, but nonetheless, he was fulfilling it.
  • Omri becomes king (verse 23) and builds a city on a hill called Samaria. This became the capital city of the northern kingdom (see 1 Kings 20:1-21) rivaling Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. Archeologists have learned that Omri (and his son Ahab after him) built incredible structures similar to those Solomon had built in Jerusalem.
  • Omri, and after him his son Ahab, lead God's people to turn from God to worship idols (verse 26) and Baal (verses 31-33). The spread of Baal worship was furthered by Ahab's marriage to Jezebel (verse 31).

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In verses 5 and 27 the writer did not consider Baasha's and Omri's achievements were listing. They probably would have been mortified by this, as they lived for their achievements. Too often, so do we. We think that what matters is what we accomplish in this life. But Jesus once said, "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" (Matthew 16:26). In the end, our achievements won't matter. All that will matter is is if we pleased God and whether our souls were right with God when we entered into eternity. 
  • In verses 25 and 30 we're told that Omri and then his son Ahab sinned more than anyone before them. Why? More than anything else it's because they led God's people to worship Baal instead of God. Why is that so evil? Because God loves us and wants a relationship with us. Your heart turning away from Him and putting something else above Him is the same as committing adultery against God. The Bible says in, "You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you" (Exodus 34:14). How amazing is it that we have a God who loves us and is passionate about our love for Him?

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What do you prioritize over the condition of your soul? It's so easy to put our jobs or money or success as more important achievements, but in the end we'll realize they weren't. How could you put more focus on your soul and your eternity instead of on things that are less important and temporary?
  • What do you love more than you love God? God loves you more than anyone else loves you, and He asks you to love Him more than you love anything else. How could you grow your love for God? What might you do on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, that would probably help you feel closer to God? And is there anything more important that that? So, why not plan on doing it?