God doesn't easily give up.

God doesn't easily give up.

1 Kings 20

Ahab has to be the most wicked king in Israel’s history. So that’s why I found it interesting that, in this chapter, God is still trying to get through to him. I mean, if I didn’t know that God was a total genius, there could be times when I might think that He was a little thick. But I just don’t think He can help Himself. When He sees an opening, He takes it.

God wants us to go all in.

God wants us to go all in.

1 Kings 19

For those of you who may not be fans of poker, there frequently comes a point when a player will go "all in." That means that he will bet everything he has left because he believes he has the best hand at the table. Everything is on the line. If he has the best hand, he may be in a position to win the whole game. But if he doesn’t have the best hand, he could lose everything.

All Hail {ex9:23}

Photo © Brian Gary

Photo © Brian Gary

A monstrous storm of hail
fell
such as Egypt had never seen before
and hasn’t seen since.

It smashed trees.
It smashed crops.
It smashed people and flocks.
It smashed everything it touched.

But the one thing it didn’t smash
was Pharaoh's implacable heart,
that dense little rock
beating in his chest.

God could undo Egypt,
but He couldn’t undo the king.

All hail the power
we’ve been given
to fortify or destroy
our own personal dynasties.

 

God is pure awesomeness.

God is pure awesomeness.

1 Kings 18

At the risk of sounding like a bad flashback from the 80s or 90s, I couldn’t pass this up as the title of today’s blog. This has got to be one of my all-time favorite chapters in the Bible. It seems like I’ve been hearing this story ever since I was a little girl, and it never ceases to amaze me. So, this was a great excuse to sit back and just marvel at God.

God knows the future.

God knows the future.

1 Kings 16

Tucked away into this chapter was this curious little detail: "It was during [Ahab's] reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub." (vs 34) What in the world does this have to do with anything else in the chapter? And why did this man, Hiel, have to pay such a dear price for rebuilding a city?

God is looking for willingness.

God is looking for willingness.

1 Kings 15

There is a lot of controversy in Christian circles over the issue of obedience to the law, sanctification, perfection, etc. Some people say that perfect obedience to God’s law is required for salvation. Others say that the law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, so there is no law to keep. Still others say that Jesus kept the law perfectly so we wouldn’t have to. He keeps it for us. To be blunt, I think they’re all wrong.

God is not blind.

1 Kings 14

This was one of those Bible stories that I hadn’t remembered reading before. King Jeroboam wanted to know what was going to happen to his son (who was ill). So, he immediately thought of Ahijah, the prophet who had prophesied that he would become king of Israel. (It’s interesting, isn’t it? After years of worshiping false gods, it’s pretty clear that Jeroboam still knew who to go to when he wanted some real answers.)

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

But, just in case he had angered the prophet with all his heathen worship, Jeroboam decided to send his wife in disguise. You see, by this time, the prophet was blind, and Jeroboam thought he could pull a fast one on him. However, all that time Jeroboam had spent away from the one true God must have made him forget that God could see just fine: "Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the Lord had told Ahijah, 'Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.'" (vs 4-5)

So, the gig was up before it had even begun. Ahijah delivered bad news to Jeroboam’s wife, and shortly after, Jeroboam’s son died. The salient point in all of this? God is not blind. In this particular instance, God’s prophet was blind, but God told him who was coming. He was not fooled by the queen’s disguise.

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

God is not blind. He knows the truth about you. We might pretend to be someone other than we are, put on a "disguise" for those around us, but God knows the real story. We might even fool a few people, but we’re not fooling God. He knows the truth about us. And if it frightens you that He knows the truth about you, all you need to do is learn the truth about Him!

Blood and Water {ex7:20}

exodus-struggle-blood-and-water-poem.png

I love this river
I have stood on its banks
frolicked in its swell
almost been swept away by its current

But
I won't soon forget
the moment I met You
and I realized
that the mouthful of
—what I thought was—
clear, cold, refreshing water
was nothing more than
coppery, hot, metallic blood

I'd like to say
that since that moment
I've never cupped my hands again
to draw this putrid liquid
up to my mouth
but You know
that personal Niles are hard to abandon

I've been kneeling
at this river
my whole life
and You know just how
deep a canyon
it has carved in my heart

Still You couldn't bear
to leave me here
fervid and thirsty
never having tasted
Water from the Fountain
that will never
run dry

 

God's ways are everlasting.

God's ways are everlasting.

1 Kings 12

What a beautiful little nugget there is tucked away in this chapter of 1 Kings. Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam has taken over the throne in Israel. The people—who had endured hard labor under Solomon—came to Rehoboam and asked him to ease up on them a bit. After asking for some time to think it over, Rehoboam consulted his father’s advisers. This is the advice they gave him: "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." (vs 7)

God knows what He's talking about.

God knows what He's talking about.

1 Kings 11

So, God had given Solomon incredible wisdom, massive amounts of wealth, and great fame. What He hadn’t given Solomon was a thousand marriage licenses. In fact, In Deuteronomy 17, God (in prophesying the fact that Israel would, in the future, demand a king to rule over them) specifically commanded that the king was not to take multiple wives. If he did, God said, his heart would be led astray.

God has no problem with wealth.

God has no problem with wealth.

1 Kings 10

Did you notice that as you read through today’s chapter? Whoa! God certainly has no problem with wealth! I was amazed by the fact that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Who needs 12,000 horses?! And this was just in addition to his palace and all the other things he acquired over the years as his fame spread far and wide. In the description of Solomon’s palace, the Bible says "nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom." (vs 20) Solomon was, by far, the richest man in the world—probably in the history of the world!

God disciplines because He loves.

God disciplines because He loves.

1 Kings 9

This is, I’m sure, a recurring theme we will encounter as we continue our journey through the Old Testament: God disciplines the ones He loves. And His discipline always carries a redemptive component (otherwise there’s no point to it). But often, I find that it’s God’s discipline that garners Him the most criticism. People tend to look at His "threats" of discipline in the Old Testament as something punitive, harsh, and retributive. And that’s how God gets a bad rap.

Name Game {ex6:3}

Photo © Unsplash/Kyle Glenn

Photo © Unsplash/Kyle Glenn

God revealed himself
to Moses
by a different name
than he had used
with Abraham
and Isaac
and Jacob.

An infinite God
with infinite names,
never failing
to manifest his presence
to the finite—
those who may resonate
for one reason or another
with a particular
moniker.

 

God doesn't do anything halfway.

God doesn't do anything halfway.

1 Kings 8

One of the best lessons I learned from my father was that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing all the way. I don’t think this was anything he ever sat me down and told me. Rather, I learned it from watching him. Whatever he undertook, no matter what it was, he did to the very best of his ability. There was no "halfway" with him. There was no mediocre. Everything he did, he did it to the fullest and the finest. Even the little things, the kinds of things that most people would do halfway and then say That’s good enough.

God allows Himself to be eclipsed.

God allows Himself to be eclipsed.

1 Kings 7

Well, now that King Solomon has built a temple for the Lord, he decides to continue building. After all, it’s important for him to have a place to live, right? Perhaps if he hadn’t made his palace so big, he wouldn’t have felt the need to fill it up with 1000 women! But, for me, the size of Solomon’s palace was the interesting thing in this chapter. Given its dimensions, did you realize that Solomon’s palace was more than four times larger than the temple He built for God?

God wants to be with you.

God wants to be with you.

1 Kings 6

Such a simple, straightforward message from God in today’s chapter: He wants to be with you. Period. In fact, the whole purpose of building a temple for the Lord was so that He could personally dwell amongst His people. It has always been the cry of His heart to be close to us: "The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 'As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.'" (vs 11-13)

God makes friends out of enemies.

God makes friends out of enemies.

1 Kings 5

It must have been quite a privilege to work on building the temple of God. Many tens of thousands of Israelites were involved in the process, as well as some foreigners. This was the little tidbit that caught my eye: "So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we [Israelites] have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians." (vs 6)