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7th April

1 Kings 11-13; Psalm 97

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
7th April

1 Kings 11-13; Psalm 97

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Kings we've read through Solomon's reign. David was old and dying. His son Adonijah seized on this weakness and set himself up as king. In response, David declared Solomon as king, thwarting Adonijah's attempt at the throne. David encouraged Solomon to be faithful and loyal to God, but then told him to kill all of his enemies.

Solomon then killed his brother Adonijah, as well as Joab and others. He married an Egyptian woman, despite the fact that Deuteronomy 7 warns that intermarrying with other nations would lead them to worshipping, foreign gods. It was looking bad for Solomon's reign. But then Solomon asked God for wisdom to rule well, and God blessed him with wisdom and wealth. We read the first example of Solomon using this wisdom as he judged rightly between two women claiming the same baby as their own.

Solomon established order and structure to his kingdom. He appointed different leaders across Israel. We also read of how he became famous for his wisdom and how Israel began to flourish. Then Solomon started building the temple for God, forming a trade deal with the king of Tyre. The temple was built, along with Solomon's own house. Then yesterday we read as he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the temple and consecrate it to God. God met with Solomon a second time and warned him to remain faithful. We then read through an overview of Solomon's reign, which was marked with wisdom and flourishing, but also saw Solomon begin to hoard for himself and enslave remaining Canaanites to build his infrastructure.

1 Kings 11-13

We’ve referenced Deuteronomy 17 a few times. It tells how kings were not meant to hoard up for themselves many horses, lots of gold, and many wives. So far, we've seen Solomon acquire a lot of horses and a lot of gold. We now see him claiming for himself a lot of wives, 700 to be exact, with 300 concubines. And to make it worse, Solomon takes up a lot of foreign wives, who then bring their foreign gods with them.

Before long, Solomon is worshipping the gods of his different wives. He even set up places of worship for these other gods within Jerusalem. This obviously angers God, who has blessed Solomon abundantly. The only thing stopping God from taking the kingdom away from Solomon right here was his promise to David.

So instead, he tells Solomon that he will take it away from his son. He will divide the kingdom into two: northern Israel and southern Judah. He will let Solomon's son lead the smaller kingdom of Judah and find someone else to lead the northern kingdom.

So God begins to raise up people to cause Solomon problems. The first two Hadad and Rezon were both men who had been somehow affected by the actions of Solomon's father, David. So God raises these men up to get revenge against Solomon for the actions of his father.

The third person God raises up is Jeroboam. God sends the prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam to tell him that once Solomon dies, God is going to divide the kingdom into 2 and give the larger piece to Jeroboam. And just like the kings before him, God says to Jeroboam that if he is faithful and obedient, God will build up his family and secure his position as king.

Solomon finds out about this and tries to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escapes. And the Solomon dies of old age and his son Rehoboam takes his place. It's a sad ending to the reign of Solomon, and the beginning of the divide of Israel.

So now Rehoboam is king, and the northern tribes of Israel come to him and ask him to be kinder to them than his father was. He sends them away for three days so he can think of how to respond. His father's old advisors recommend that he gives them what they want so that they are loyal to him, but God causes Rehoboam to listen to his younger friends, who tell him to be harsher to the people than his father and lead with fear and control.

Rehoboam tells the northern tribes he's going to make life harder for him, and so they up and leave. Rehoboam sends his taskmaster Adoram to take control of these northern tribes and they stone him.

Instead, they take Jeroboam and make him king, and now the kingdom has officially split in two. Israel in the north, Judah in the south. But Jeroboam almost immediately causes Israel to sin. Realising that the temple is in Judah and that they now no longer have anywhere to worship, he decides to do something about that. But he doesn't ask God what to do. Instead, he makes his own altars and idols to worship and tells the people to worship those.

We then get perhaps one of the weirdest stories in the Bible. A young prophet comes to Jeroboam and points out that he has sinned and that God will punish him for it. Jeroboam reaches out to tell his men to seize him, but before he could God strikes his hand with some withering disease.

Realising the authority of the young prophet, Jeroboam asks the young prophet to heal him, which he does. He then asks the young prophet to stay and eat a meal, but the young prophet tells Jeroboam that God has specifically told him to not stop anywhere to eat but to go straight home.

On the way home, an older prophet sees him and invites him to come stay with him. The younger prophet points out that God has told him not to stay anywhere but to go straight home. The older prophet lies saying that God has told him specifically to invite the younger prophet in, so the younger prophet agrees. Then later, God sends a lion to kill the younger prophet for disobeying him, and the older prophet calls him out for disobeying God.

It's very strange but easily fixed. See, the younger prophet is actually called a 'man of God', this is to make him different from the older prophet, who was likely a false prophet as he was living in Israel where they were now worshipping other gods.

So this story is about a young man who has heard clearly from God but allows himself to be persuaded by others who are not from God to disobey what God has told him. That might take reading through a few times to get. The point is this: Israel’s is going to be guided by prophets going forward, and these prophets have to remain faithful to God.

Psalm 97

This psalm is not attributed to anyone, and falls into the category of praise psalm. Is part of a small collection of psalm (Psalm 93-99) that focus on God as king.

Psalm 97:1-5 - The Lord reigns in power

Psalm 97:6-9 - He is above all other gods

Psalm 97:10-12 - Hate evil and rejoice in God

The psalmist starts with the declaration that the Lord reigns. He reigns supreme in the clouds and storms. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his reign. He controls fire and lightning and even great mountains melt before him.

The heavens themselves proclaim his righteousness and glory. So much so that anyone who worships anything else should be put to shame. The Lord is so much greater than all the other gods. Those other gods should be worshipping him. This is why the people of Jerusalem and Judah rejoice, because they know their God is greater than all other gods.

And so the psalmist encourages those who love the Lord to hate evil. He is a God that preserves those who keep themselves holy and saves them from the wicked. He provides light to guide these righteous ones and joy to lift their hearts. So rejoice in the Lord, stay righteous, and give thanks to God for his goodness.

The psalm focuses on God’s might and ability to defeat the other gods. No other holds the right to reign like he does, and so in response we should pursue righteousness, for he is a God of righteousness.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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