Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dynasty Fail

Devotion: 1 Kings 15:25-30

As we continue to set the stage for the coming of the Prophet Elijah's ministry (he bursts on the scene in 1 Kings 17:1), we will trace the lineage of Jeroboam, King of Israel. Jereboam's reign included the death of his son Abijah as a message of judgment for the dynasty that the Lord had promised to Jeroboam if he would be faithful. Jeroboam chose political expediency over faithful obedience to the Lord, setting up golden calves in violation of the second commandment and high places for the worship of Baal and Asherah in violation of the first commandment. Despite a prophet's effort to course correct Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 13:1-10 and the prophet's demise in 1 Kings 13:11-32), Jeroboam persisted in promoting idolatry and thus the Scripture tells us, "And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth" (1 Kings 13:34). The destruction of the house of Jeroboam would come a short while later.
Jeroboam died after reigning 22 years in Israel. His reign set a precedent and course for the kings who would follow. That precedent included idolatry and disobedience to the clear commands of the Lord. We pick up the story now when his son, Nadab, ascended to the throne.
"Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin." - 1 Kings 15:25-26 ESV
The Scripture is clear that Nadab was just like his father. The sin of Jeroboam was not only participating in idolatry, but encouraging others to do the same. The Apostle Paul calls this out as a particularly heinous sin in his list of the sins of a depraved mind in Romans 1:32, "Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Nadab is not punished for the sins of his father, but rather receives judgment for his own sin and fulfills the Word of the Lord spoken through the prophets concerning the dynasty of Jeroboam. It was simply time for the house of Jeroboam to be removed. We can balk at such treatment by the Lord, but we must remember that the Lord had told Jeroboam that there would be great rewards for his faithful obedience. Jeroboam went a different direction and that led to the downfall of his dynasty. Here's how it happened:
"Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him. And Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, for Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon. So Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah and reigned in his place. And as soon as he was king, he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He left to the house of Jeroboam not one that breathed, until he had destroyed it, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. It was for the sins of Jeroboam that he sinned and that he made Israel to sin, and because of the anger to which he provoked the LORD, the God of Israel." -1 Kings 15:27-30 ESV
The death of King Nadab and the end of Jeroboam's dynasty comes about during a siege. Nadab, busy with the battle is, in essence, stabbed in the back by Baasha. Baasha for his part is acting out of self-interest with no mention of his call or duty to the Lord. Indeed, Baasha continues the idolatry of the House of Jeroboam after he had viciously destroyed every member of Jeroboam's family. And I believe this tells us that God can use even wicked and evil men bent on their own ambition and self-interest to accomplish His will. This does not mean that Baasha is off the hook for his attack, morally speaking, let alone that the Lord will excuse the idolatry of Baasha while bringing judgment on Jeroboam. It simply means that for a time Baasha's wicked ambition to seize power was useful to carry out the will of God. This use of evil by God does not mean that the Lord generated Baasha's sin or wicked intention, but rather that the Lord was able to use even sin and evil to accomplish His good end (see Romans 8:28).
The destruction of the House of Jeroboam reminds us that sin is not to be trifled with in our own lives. Indeed the Apostle Paul is quite clear in Colossians 3:5, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." What is the Christian do with sin? In short, kill it! We may think we can harness sin to accomplish our goal or aim, but it will always turn on us and threaten to destroy us. Sin is an enemy defeated by Christ Jesus on the cross (see 1 Corinthians 15:56-57). Jesus wins the victory on our behalf and leads us in this victory into obedience through faith to the revealed will of God. We should not presume that in Christ's victory sin is now a tool we can use. We are not God, the Divine Creator of all that is. God can use human sin to accomplish His aim, but that does not excuse sin. Sin's end is death--either our death (as with Nadab) or the death of Christ. The only difference between the two is the surrender of faith to Jesus.

The song today is from The Young Escape, "neverfade."

News for You:

  • Due to the uncertainty of smoke the church picnic has been postponed. Look for more details coming soon in the bulletin.
  • The Service Team is looking for volunteers to staff our outreach booth at the Okanogan County Fair. Sign-ups can be found at the Welcome Center at CPC.
  • We are still on the hunt for Small Group Leaders for our Fall series in Romans. If you are interested, e-mail Pastor Bill.
  • Sunday School will kick off our next series in the Westminster Confession of Faith beginning September 16 at 9 a.m. Sunday School Remix will resume September 18 at 1 p.m. in the library at CPC.

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