And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made (I King 14:25-26).
Saul, the first king of Israel, started out following the Lord but was led astray by his own desires and insecurities. At the end of his reign, he left behind an embittered and fractured nation. Under the leadership of David, Israel rebounded. His tenure as king saw the nation rebuilt and secured. Following David came Solomon, who led Israel through the most prosperous era she had ever seen, or ever would see again. Rehoboam assumed leadership upon the death of his father, Solomon. From the beginning, his path was difficult. Due to Solomon's indiscretions, Rehoboam inherited a kingdom that was destined to be divided. As the Lord's prophet had foretold, Rehoboam became king over the southern kingdom of Judah only (12:17). Even so, he still had the opportunity to lead God's people to greatness. Instead, he took the path of least resistance.
Solomon had fallen away from God. He had attempted to continue worshiping the Lord while, at the same time, indulging his wives desires to worship the gods of their ancestors. Obviously, this was impossible to pull off. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils (I Cor. 10:21). His son took things one step further. He encouraged the building of pagan shrines, Asherath poles, and altars throughout the land (14:23-24). His people wanted gods that they could see and touch, and he wanted the people to be happy. Within 5 years of assuming his role as king, he had led Judah far from God and His protection. In five short years, he had undone everything that had taken 2 lifetimes (David's and Solomon's) to achieve.
Building a virtuous life with the Lord requires patience and hard work on our part. It should be a joyful task, but it is one that we will always need to be mindful of. Following the Lord requires dedication and intent. We must guard against ever getting so comfortable in the life that we have that we forget where that life came from. If we turn our backs on Him, even for a short amount of time, we run the risk of destroying everything we have worked for. Rash decisions and sinful choices can have far reaching consequences. Our health and safety, or the health and safety of those around us, can be put at risk. Trust can be lost, and relationships can be broken. The bright and shining future that the Lord has laid out in front of us can disappear in the blink of an eye. The nation of Judah learned all of this the hard way. By giving us her history, the Lord is giving us the chance to learn from her mistakes.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning (II Pet. 2:20).
Thought for Today:
Do not let a single day begin without first re-dedicating your life to the Lord
In Asa's ridding the land of idols and sodomites (I Kings 15:11-14). Christ cleansed the Temple (Matt. 21:12-13; John 2:13-17). As Christians, we are the Temples of God, bought with His own blood (I Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor. 6:16-17) and are cleansed of all unrighteousness when we confess our sins (I John 1:9).
14:3 cracknels = cakes or fig bars; 14:5 feign herself = pretend; 14:6 heavy tidings = very sad news; 14:15 groves = pagan idol shrines; 15:12 took away the sodomites = banished homosexual male prostitutes; 15:17 suffer = allow or permit.
Pray For Government Officials: Sen. Daniel A. Webster (FL), Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Jr. (NC) Country: Macau (583,003) Southeast Asia • Major Languages: Chinese, Mandarin • 50% Buddhist; 15% Roman Catholic; 35% None/Other Prayer Suggestion: Pray for unity of spirit with other believers (I Pet. 3:8).
James 1: 1 - 7
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.