Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kings: Baasha, Elah, Zimri, and Omri

1 Kings 15:33-16:7 describe the 24-year reign of Baasha king of Israel.  He had deposed the dynasty of Jeroboam.  The Lord said he would as a judgment on him setting up golden calves to rival the temple in Jerusalem.  Baasha came along and killed his son Nadab, and then he did the same things.  So Jehu son of Hanani came and said that his dynasty would end.

Elah, his son, is described from 16:8-14.  He reigned only two years.  His official Zimri plotted against him and assassinated him.  Then he became king for 7 days.  His reign is described from 16:15-20.  Omri became the commander of the army and set a seige to the city of his palace.  Zimri set his own palace on fire and died, and Omri became king.

In history, Omri set up northern Israel as a world power such as it became known as Omri-land.  In the Bible, he only gets a blip in verses 21-28.  He's more known as being the father of the most notorious evil king of Israel, Ahab. 

Northern Israel was formed as a judgment on Solomon beginning to follow false gods.  Then the northern kings immediately set up false images and said the people could worship the true God through them, which goes against God's commandment against setting up graven images.  And each dynasty was eliminated for doing things only to be followed by another king who did the same things and only made it worse. 

Meanwhile, in the southern kingdom of Judah, they had kings who followed God but also compromised with false forms of worship. 

But each time, God kept his promise.  In the south, he kept David's dynasty going until it became so wicked that he kept his other promise of sending them into exile.  In the north, he kept his promise and send them into exile as none of the kings followed God. 

And as we see leader after leader fail to correct wrongs in society such as abortion and sex trafficking, we may see the same judgments on our countries.  But I sure hope that the only true King, Jesus, comes back before things get worse.  He kept his promises in the BC days.  He will keep his promise to us to send him back to complete his kingdom and end evil and death for all time.  And if you do not come to believe and follow him, then you will be swept away in his judgment, the one we all deserve had it not been for his grace in saving the people of his Church. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

King Nadab - true v. false worship and the irony of God's justice

In 1 Kings 15:25-32, we have the account of King Nadab of the northern kingdom of Israel.  He is Jeroboam's son.  Since Jeroboam apostatized from the true worship of the true God by setting up golden calves to rival the temple in Jerusalem, prophets told him that his dynasty would end. 

Under his son Nadab, the dynasty did end.  Baasha killed Nadab after two years and became the next king of Israel. 

It's interesting that Jeroboam's son bears the same name as a son of Aaron who also was killed instantly when he offered strange fire at the altar in a way that was opposed to what Yahweh commanded.  Both Nadabs prove true the classic Reformed interpretation of God's second commandment to not make graven images to try to worship him.  The classic reformed view is that if a kind of worship is not commanded by God in Scripture, if it has not positive precedent in the Old or New Testaments, then it is to be forbidden. 

God commanded Aaron's sons to offer sacrifices through a kind of fire.  Nadab and Abihu offered a different kind of fire and were killed instantly.  God does not kill other people on the spot who offer a strange kind of worship other than what God commanded, but we must beware that we are not worshiping God the way that the pagans worship their gods. 

The second Nadab is the son of the man who said Israel could worship the true God through images of calves, much like Aaron did when Moses was on Sinai.  God specifically commanded not to worship him through images. 

But here is the irony.  God used Baasha to kill Nadab and end Jeroboam's dynasty, and then Baasha did the same things.  It is up to God to bring judgment by whoever he wants whenever he wants, or to have mercy and save the people from their sins.  But I still can't help thinking why.  Why would God use someone to punish someone else when they do the same things?

Even today, we see political divisions arguing for life when each side demeans life.  Trump says that unborn lives are sacred, and I wholeheartedly agree and that's why I voted for him.  At the same time, foreign families are living in cages at the border.  Then again, the people that speak against having immigrants living in cages at the border are doing nothing about it.  They are only wasting time trying to impeach Trump.  Meanwhile, I vote knowing I can't do anything about the unborn or the immigrants.  I want to find ways to protect all life from conception to natural death.  And I want people to come into the country legally but not be treated as animals while they await legal process. 

I can do nothing but pray and await God to sort things out in his time.  And I also am a hypocrite and don't want to be.  Only by the grace of God go I. 

But ultimately God will bring justice to all people, and he will have mercy by bringing that justice onto Jesus instead of those he saves.  He has mercy on whom he will have mercy.  And both his mercy and justice make no sense at times.