Wednesday, May 18, 2022

2022.05.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 13:33–14:20

Read 1 Kings 13:33–14:20

Questions from the Scripture text: How does Jeroboam (not) respond to the stunning sign (1 Kings 13:33)? Instead, what did he again (!) do? Whom did he consecrate? For whom was this the sin (1 Kings 13:34a)? In order to do what (verse 34b)? What happened at that time (1 Kings 14:1)? What did Jeroboam ask his wife to do (1 Kings 14:2)? To go where? To see whom? What is she to bring as a present (1 Kings 14:3)? What does Jeroboam hope Ahijah will tell her? What does Mrs. Jeroboam do in 1 Kings 14:4a? What do we learn about Ahijah in verse 4b? Who fills Ahijah in (1 Kings 14:5a)? What does he tell him to do in response to what (verse 5b)? What did Ahijah hear (1 Kings 14:6)? What did he tell her to do? What did he ask her? What kind of news does he have for her? To whom is she to go (1 Kings 14:7)? From Whom is she to speak? What has God done for Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:7-8)? What had David been like? But what has Jeroboam been like (1 Kings 14:9)? What has he done to the LORD? What will the LORD do to Jeroboam’s house (1 Kings 14:10)? To what extent? What will happen to his male offspring (1 Kings 14:11)? What must Mrs. Jeroboam do (1 Kings 14:12a)? And what will happen when (verse 12b)? Who will do what for Abijah (1 Kings 14:13)? What unique privilege will he have? What was found in him? Whom will the LORD raise up (1 Kings 14:14)? To do what? Whom else will the LORD strike (1 Kings 14:15)? And what will He do them? Why? How does 1 Kings 14:16 summarize this judgment? Why will He do it? What does Mrs. Jeroboam do in 1 Kings 14:17? And what happens when? And what do they do to/for him (1 Kings 14:18a)? According to what (verse 18b)? What gets a one verse historical summary in 1 Kings 14:19? How long a period does this cover (1 Kings 14:20)? Who succeeds him?

Jeroboam’s military and domestic accomplishments are just a footnote to his story (1 Kings 14:19). The main thing was the manner in which he had worshiped God (1 Kings 13:33–34; 1 Kings 14:9, 1 Kings 14:15–16). Men and nations come and go. What is done with them will eventually come to nothing. And the main thing in every one of our works is whether it glorified God (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31). But worship is different. In worship, we either have God Himself before us, or we cast Him behind our back. 

Of course, man cannot reveal God to himself, so the way of having God Himself before us is by coming in that way that God has commanded. The stakes are even higher when we realize that the way that God has commanded us to come is Christ. The way that God sets Himself before us is Christ. Those things on earth that belonged to the worship of the church under Moses all pointed forward to Christ. And those things that are commanded on earth for the worship of the church under Christ are those things in which Christ Himself leads the worship from glory. So, having our desires drive the manner of worship is both to  cast the true God behind our back (1 Kings 14:9) and to come without Christ. This is dreadful indeed!

However powerful a man thinks he is, he cannot escape the fact that being wholehearted toward God is the standard against which his works will be judged (cf. 1 Kings 14:8). In the saga of “the throne vs the Word,” we continue to see that there is no contest. Jeroboam and Mrs. Jeroboam have the wealth with which to bribe (1 Kings 14:3), the authority of the throne in Tirzah (1 Kings 14:17), and the cleverness (?) of disguise (1 Kings 14:2). Ahijah is physically blind (1 Kings 14:4b), dwelling in the old place of the tabernacle after the tabernacle is no more (verse 4a). But he has the word of the LORD (1 Kings 14:5), which makes all the illusory advantages of the powerful queen evaporate as he says, “Come in, Mrs. Jeroboam!” in 1 Kings 14:6

But whereas there is no king so great as to protect him against guilt, there is no sinner so small that he is not a candidate for grace. The sick child Abijah (1 Kings 14:1) ends up being the only descendent of Jeroboam that gets a proper burial and mourning (1 Kings 14:131 Kings 14:18). Why? “Because in him there is found something good toward Yahweh God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.” Even in a child! Even in a wicked house! Grace is surprising, because that is the nature of grace. It comes entirely from God, not at all from its object. 

What encouragement this is for us in an idolatrous age. “O Lord, though the whole visible church cast You behind their back, grant that by Your grace, I would desire You as You truly are and have given Yourself!”

What an encouragement this is for our little children. “O Lord, though they be small and weak, grant that by Your grace there might be found in them something good toward the LORD God of Israel!”

Tradition can be a dreadful thing. It is the way that new ways of casting God behind the back trap generations of the people of God in a way that they never escape (1 Kings 14:16, cf. 1 Kings 15:34, 1 Kings 16:2, etc.). But the grace of God is a more powerful thing—yanking unlikely suspects out from under the idolatries of the church and the judgments they provoke.

What worship does Jesus lead from heaven? What makes this the best? How can we come to desire it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for wanting to worship in our own way, like Jeroboam: for deceiving ourselves that we worship You when in truth we are casting You Yourself behind our back. And forgive us for our illusions of power and effectiveness, when in reality a blind prophet sees more clearly than a disguised queen. Forgive us our sins, bringing us near to Yourself through Christ. And, grant that by Your grace there might be found in us something good toward You—which can come only through Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments”

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