Tag Archives: 1 Kings

Getting The God-Solution

Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” – 1 Kings 18:5 (NIV)

King Ahab is in the middle of a natural famine that has a spiritual cause.  Israel has turned away from following the Lord, and some guy has started rebuilding Jericho – and in the middle of it all, Elijah the prophet turns up from nowhere and says ‘there will be no rain in Israel except by my word’.

Thus Israel has now endured 3 1/2 years of hard drought.  Ahab sends Obadiah out to look through the land to see if he can find some springs or brooks or even some grass to try to keep the animals alive.  It’s a practical move, but at the same time he’s ignoring the spiritual reality of what’s going on.

You can’t solve spiritual problems with practical solutions.  You have to solve spiritual problems with spiritual solutions.  The land is in drought not because of water-cycles or overpopulation or anything – it’s dry because the people have turned away from God.  Interestingly, the moment that the nation falls on it’s face and cries out ‘The Lord He is God’ – Elijah hears the sound of heaven rain!

Sometimes the things that are going on for us aren’t just ‘life’.  Sometimes they have spiritual origins.  In the gospels Jesus often first dealt with demonic powers before healing started to flow.  You have to ‘bind the strongman before you can plunder his house’.

Yes, there are definitely times when you just need to do a few practical things.  But if you find that your life is in famine, and it just keeps going despite all practical solutions being done… maybe it’s time to get down and look to see what might be spiritually going on.

The great thing is that God is so willing to show us if we will just look.  It’s not a coincidence that Obadiah, a righteous man who’d been hiding God’s prophets, was the one who stumbled on Elijah while out looking for water.  God brought Obadiah right to the one who could help him.  He does the same thing for us today!

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The Call Of A Prophet

In 1 Kings 13 there’s this strange little story about a prophet who goes to Bethel to speak against the altar that Jeroboam had set up there.  On the surface it seems like a bit of a weird account – but there’s some insights in it as to how we follow the call of God, and how we treat those who have made mistakes in their ministry.

1 Kings 13:1-32 (NIV)
1 By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering.
2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'”
3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”
4 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back.
5 Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD.
6 Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

There is no doubt this man is a prophet – he has spoken out against the idols and altars that Jeroboam has set up, and his word immediately comes to pass.  This would have been a very clear sign to the king that God wasn’t into what he was doing.

7 The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.”
8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here.
9 For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.'”
10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

This prophet not only had a message from God, but he had a METHOD that God had given Him concerning that message.  He was not to eat or drink in the land, and he was to return by a different route.  When it comes to us walking in our ministries – it’s not just our message that’s important, but it’s also those things that we feel like God has told us to do or not to do as we bring that message.  There are things that God drops into our hearts and consciences – and these things are of vital importance as we will see.

11 Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king.
12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken.
13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it
14 and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied.
15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”
16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.
17 I have been told by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.'”
18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.'” (But he was lying to him.)

19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

So the prophet  again tells this other prophet about his call.  But this is interesting – the old prophet says an angel has told me something different.  And based on this he manages to turn the young prophet away from his call.  The key here is that the word from a visible angel should never be greater than the word of our invisible God.  Paul said to the Galatians to hold fast to what they had originally received from God ‘even if an angel should bring you a message that is different to what we have brought you’.  In God’s word alone is the protection for us as we walk out the ministry he has called us to.

So the young prophet goes home with the old prophet, and eats and drinks – and then the old prophet declares that the young prophet will be judged from turning away from God’s word.  I think it’s important at this point to move around questions such as ‘would God really send a prophet to try to take down another prophet?’ – and look at what happens next.

24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.

The young prophet ends up being killed by a lion – but the lion doesn’t eat his body, nor does it attack the donkey with him.  It simply stands next to the body, which is highly unusual for a lion.  It’s a sign to everyone around that something is happening here which is from the hand of God.

The point which I want to make out of this part is that if the young prophet had ignored the lying voice of the old prophet, and stayed true to what God had originally sent him to do – he wouldn’t have been killed by the lion.  In the same way there are those who are called by God into particular ministries, and this needs to be a sharp reminder to us all that we have to take God’s METHODS that He’s given us seriously.  They may just save our lives and ministries!

26 When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who defied the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the LORD had warned him.”
27 The prophet said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me,” and they did so.
28 Then he went out and found the body thrown down on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey.
29 So the prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for him and bury him.
30 Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him and said, “Oh, my brother!”
31 After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones.
32 For the message he declared by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.”

This final part of the story gives us some insights on how to deal with those who have ‘fallen’ in ministry.  I’ve been aware over the years of people burning the books and resources of those who have made mistakes in their ministry with God – as if because of one mistake they’d made, suddenly all the good things they’d done were tainted.

But the old prophet HONOURS the young prophet.  He says that his words will certainly come to pass.  He asks for his body to be buried with him.  In the same way, there will be times that there are messengers from God who bring a prophesy or a revelation back to the body of Christ – and then make a major mistake that costs them their ministry.  While we don’t condone the sin that has taken place – it’s also important that we remember and honour what God did through them when they DID obey what He was calling them to.

The Secret To Abundance

1 Kings 17:13 – Elijah said to her, Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said; but make me of it a little cake first, and bring it forth to me, and afterward make for you and for your son.

Elijah is told by God to go and receive hospitality from a most unlikely source – a widow in Zarephath.  He has to receive hospitality from a woman who has been through pain, in a place that is despised by Israelites. 

He asks for water and a small morsel of bread.  She gives him her vision for life – that she will make a small cake, that she and her son will eat it, and then they will die!  But God has a bigger plan for this woman and son than one more meal before death! 

The oil and flour never ran dry for this woman – and here’s the key that Elijah gave her to walk in this abundance:

1) Don’t be afraid.  Fear will hold us back from the correct action.  Anytime we do something that is motivated by fear, we make the wrong decision.  Fear and faith both act – but fear acts negatively, faith acts positively. 

2) Go and do as you said.  Get on and live your life, do the things that you need to do.  Often the will of God is not necessarily a complete shift of your life to doing something that you’ve never done before.  It’s to continue doing what you’re doing, but approach it with vision and faith. 

3) Make me a little cake first.  Make sure that the FIRST things you do are to seek first the kingdom of God.  Give the first of your abundance and energy to serving His purposes.  This woman didn’t have enough to look after herself – but the key was to give to God first. 

4) Afterwards, make a cake for you and your son.  Step 3 has to happen before step 4 can happen.  The final command that Elijah gives this woman is impossible.  But she can do steps 1-3.  The call of God for us is impossible, but we can always take the initial actions. 

Strength And Stability

1 Kings 7:21 – He set up the pillars at the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called its name Boaz.

As Solomon was building a glorious temple in Jerusalem for God, he set up two pillars at the entrance to the temple.  One pillar had the name ‘Jachin’ on it, and the other, the name ‘Boaz’. 

Jachin means ‘he will establish’ or ‘stability’ and Boaz means ‘strength’. 

In the world where things constantly move and break, people are continually looking for that which will bring strength and stability.  Solomon wanted the people to be constantly reminded that strength and stability were to be found in the house of God – in the place of prayer and worship!

Lengthening Your Days

1 Kings 3:14 – If you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as your father David did walk, then I will lengthen your days.

Solomon is dreaming – standing before God, and has asked the Lord for wisdom, that He might govern God’s people well. 

It’s an excellent request, and the Lord responds that he will have riches and honour to go with it.

The Lord also promises Solomon a long life – but this promise comes with a condition – that he keeps God’s statutes and commandments  and walks as his father David walked.

In Exodus 20:12, the Lord says  ‘Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.’ 

There is an intrinsic connection between honouring our parents, and receiving long life.  There are things that God will just give us, but there are other things that we must walk in to obtain! 

Establishing God’s Kingdom On Earth

1 Kings 2:33 – So shall their blood return on the head of Joab, and on the head of his seed forever: but to David, and to his seed, and to his house, and to his throne, shall there be peace for ever from Yahweh.

Joab was King David’s right hand man – overseeing the armies of Israel under David’s command. But although he worked alongside the King, his tatics and approach were markedly different.

While David was one who continually inquired of the Lord, and walked in integrity and righteousness, practicing a transparent life – Joab was one who was quick to take matters into his own hands. Although his actions were often intended to preserve the kingship, he was quick to respond with violence, and prone to using treachery and deceit to establish both his own position, and that of his King.
This verse mentions the “seed of Joab”. In Scripture there’s no reference to any of Joab’s sons – but we can take this as referring to those who walk in the ways of Joab – having good intentions but wrong actions. Those who are quick to deal harshly with anyone who poses as a threat to either themselves or their King (Jesus). Interestingly, this seed lived on with James and John, the disciples of Jesus, when they wanted to call fire to come down and destroy those who wouldn’t believe (Luke 9:54-55).

Jesus’ response to James and John is the same that David gave to Joab – “What have I to do with you?”. The violence of men, and the righteousness of God don’t mix.

Today, remember that the throne that God is building is one established in righteousness and justice. When we walk not in the violent ways of Joab, but in the righteous ways of David, we will enjoy peace forever from God.

Dreaming For Real

1 Kings 3:5 – “In Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask what I shall give you”

Solomon had just been made king over Israel, and one of his first acts was to head to Gibeon and offer a thousand burnt offerings before the Lord.  Although the ark of the covenant had been moved to Jerusalem by David, the tabernacle and the brazen altar still remained at Gibeon. 

Following this sacrifice, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream, and promises to give Solomon both riches and long life.  Scripture is full of accounts of men and women of God receiving revelation and understanding from God through dreams.  But as I read this today I was struck by the fact that when Solomon met God during the dream – it was a ‘for real’ encounter with the Almighty.  The promises that Solomon heard in the dream weren’t shadow copies of real promises that God had made – Solomon heard those promises straight from the lips of God. 

We can often think that what we see when we’re asleep is less real than what we see when we’re awake.  But today I’d encourage you to take seriously the dreams that you dream when you’re sleeping.  Solomon could have awoken from the dream and thought “that was nice” and kept going with his life.  But instead, he went straight to Jerusalem and sacrificed again before the ark of the covenant. 

Take your “dreams” seriously!  God wants to speak to you – are you ready to listen?