I Kings 11-14
We are in the Nation Stream and turn the corner in Solomon’s Reign. We are reading from The Message this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord we want to heed your warnings, hear your prophetic words and not suffer the losses that we see the disobedient and profane people suffering as they turn away from Truth. Thank you for sending us the Truth; in Jesus. Amen.
11 – Solomon was told by a dear older woman he knew of; King Lemuel’s mother actually, in Proverbs 31:2-3. He was pleaded with to not waste his life on women (the gender isn’t the problem – the plurality is!). He was told that they ruin kings. But Solomon however felt that he was different, [as most people do] that sin wouldn’t hook him in. Well it did. Remember him marrying the daughter of Pharaoh right out of the gate? He did that so there would be peace with Egypt. Solomon loved his Lord at the start, and God honored his love for Him. But the “sex-for-politics-for-sex-for power-and-pleasure pact” that Solomon had made as a deal (with himself I guess) let him astray and he fell away from the faith of his fathers. One wrong wife wasn’t enough. He needed hundreds of false women. It is like one’s physical hunger trying to find satisfaction from a deep-fried/sugar-filled donut. How many of them do you need to eat on an empty stomach in order to feel satisfied? It’s not going to happen. Solomon’s women was the disastrous shame of Solomon’s rule. His pagan love life took him and the country with it on a downward spiral of no return. He invited pagan religions in to keep his women happy. From this the God of Abraham was offended and a spirit of unrest seeped into the country. Before Solomon died, enemies were growing restless within the land and it was a preview of the tension that would cause 10 of the 12 tribes to splinter off to the north. Was Solomon’s love life just his private business and he could be sinful if he so chose to? No. It became everyone’s business as all of these things always do. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took the throne. Solomon’s rule lasted from I Kings 1-11 / the parallel story, though distinctively written, is also told in II Chronicles 1-9
12 – Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was to be the next king. Jeroboam resented Solomon and therefore Rehoboam and took up the grievances of a people who were over taxed during Solomon’s rule. Jeroboam pleaded that taxes be lowered, Rehoboam did not listen and the rebellion was on. Sounds like 1776 doesn’t it? Jeroboam rallied for the north against Judah and strengthened the north against the south by actually paganizing the northern 10 tribes and making two golden calves to distract them away from the God of Abraham, Jerusalem, the Temple, and all that. Jeroboam set up the false gods of golden calves (just like Exodus 32!). One calf was in Bethel in the south while the other was up north in Dan. The country was ‘covered’ in terms of false religion. As we are reading in the prophets, this stunt started Israel on a fast road to being decimated. 200 years later, they were.
13 – is a zany tale of lies and false religion and paganism and getting mauled by a lion in a strangest of tales, and prophecy ignored and suffering because of it and demanding that godly people act immediately to remedy the wrong that bad religion had brought on. It is the personal vision of the northern kingdom’s first king and how a dark decision ends up rippling for centuries. Jeroboam cheapened the faith and adulterated it. He ignored Ahijah who told him that there was a right way to represent the people to God, but he ignored Ahijah. Jeroboam was angry at Solomon – who was gone now. He was angry at Solomon’s son; Rehoboam. Perhaps his anger was valid, but his “remedy” for the anger at the leaders in the south was not gone about properly. Here’s a truth in life: the right thing must be done the right way. There are many who attempt the right thing but go about it the wrong way. Some seek God’s Will but don’t pursue His Will His Way…they want to find God their own way (many of these types end up “playing God” before they are done!). Many of us have seen this. There is a line between these two methods. As for the wrong way – there never is a right way to do the wrong thing. Jeroboam may have commenced and wanted to do God’s Will but He wouldn’t do it God’s Way. It was not long after that that Jeroboam was shunning all good prophetic words and advice and was doing everything just plain, flat out WRONG, And He wanted it this way and remained deliberate in this to his end.
14 – God gets to Jeroboam through his son’s illness. Jeroboam is desperate for solutions and who does he go to but Ahijah-the-prophet … who’s advice he won’t
follow (in case anyone forgot). So, as Jeroboams’ vapid character dictates, he sends his wife to Ahijah and she gets an earful of a horrid prophecy and it is accurate. Meanwhile Jeroboam is up north feverishly fanning the flames of his “fornication-for-faith” cult that he had instituted to make sure no one ventured to Jerusalem and found the real God. His wife comes home, his son dies on the spot. And this was only the beginning of the doom that would be lowering upon Jeroboam. The last of the ch. 14, we flip back south to Judah where Rehoboam is king in Jerusalem. He is 41 at the start of his rule. He rules until he is 58. Jeroboam up north had a special relationship with Egypt based in a mutual disgust for Jerusalem/Solomon/Rehoboam. But what gave way for Egypt’s invasion and ransacking of the Temple in Jerusalem was the exodus of God’s blessing since Rehoboam allowed his pagan Ammonite mother to have a say in the religion of the south as Asherah shrines sprang up across the country. Asherah was a sex-cult in the region that God had obviously forbidden his people to take part in. This disobedience left them open to attack as Shishak of Egypt invaded and plundered the Temple. Shishak stole the gold from the Temple. How much of the dozens of tons of gold that had been brought there and stored and decorated the Temple with is hard to say but it is such a shame. God seems to be saying, “you act like pagans, then your wealth is going to go back to the pagans!” The first of this gold was taken out of Egypt in the Exodus; Exo. 12:35-36. Well it was being returned today. Yeesh. Rehoboam made new articles of bronze as if it was supposed to make things all better now. Do you think anyone noticed the missing gold?????