At the beginning of this year, a group of ladies from my old CrossFit gym decided we would read the bible together for one year using the YouVersion Bible app plan. It has been a great reminder of all the stories I have not read in a while and some I don’t even remember reading. It has also been a great accountability booster for me and this goal we have to read the bible in a year. I am not going to lie, I was struggling to see what God could possibly be talking about through the books of the Bible like Leviticus and Numbers. Even when I got the book of 1 King paired with 2 Chronicles, I was struggling to see what God could be showing me. As I kept reading (just keep reading, I promise God will speak), God began to show me a spiritual pattern of his people paired with all the events taking place now.
It tells the storylines of all the kings after king David and how the people of God became more familiar with “doing evil in the Lord’s sight” than “being the people of God.” It all started with the beloved King Solomon, who did great things, but in the end ended up worshiping other gods more so than being obedient to the one and only God, the God of his father David (1 Kings 10:9-13). After his death, the kingdoms were divided into Judah and Israel. And that is only the beginning.
Even King David did what was evil (adultery and murder) in the Lord’s eyes, but he admitted his wrong and dedicated his life to what God wanted for his people. The kings after him (including David’s sons) did not admit their wrongdoings and turned away from God by worshiping idols and not obeying the Law of God. So, I have concluded that there are three major patterns that happened to the people of God because they were “doing evil in the Lord’s sight.” Not the other folks who were (still in the land because the people of God were disobedient at that command-1 Kings 9:20-21), BUT God’s own people. Here are the three areas:
1. Division among the people is evident and two kingdoms then arise and become enemies of each other instead of being united together. They claim to have the same God but are divided from each other. Oh, my heart…
2. Destruction happens on both sides of the kingdoms. Back and forth there is war between the kingdoms. Remember, these are people of God at war not random enemies of the people of God. The very people of God themselves destroy each other's cities and therefore the people in their way. All in the name of God. Whew….
3. Death is only the beginning of the ongoing cycle of God’s people. Death of kings, the rise of a new king, evil in the Lord’s sight, death, and repeat. Seriously?…
The main “evil” at the center of all this division, destruction, and death of God's people were idol worshiping. Putting other gods before their God. This makes me think, how, oh people of God, can you turn to other gods so quickly? Then I look at the people of God today (including myself) and I am reminded of the very nature of our shortcomings. We have idols in our lives, churches, families, workplaces, etc. I think most of us don’t even realize what idols we are worshiping. So, then this got me thinking about the state of the people of God today, the state of the Church, and the end results are becoming no different than that of the people of God during the years of Kings: division, destruction, and death. Not of other people. Among our own people. The very people who claim to be the people of God are the ones who are experiencing the divisions of truth, destruction of established structures, and deaths among traditions and people to mental health crises.
If you consider yourself a Christian, I urge you to join me for just a bit and take off your own perspective glasses for a minute. Think about the state of our world. Now think about the state of our churches (denominations across the board are experiencing this together). Now think about your own life and what things are in your life right now that are before God. Are you overwhelmed? That is the reasoning behind this post. Not a pointing finger post, but utterly a sad state of my soul, crying out to my brothers and sisters worldwide the world to see that we are no different than the stories we read, study, and preach.
So here is where all this came into being. We now have two kingdoms “representing God” because division was the only option: Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12). They fought one another. Sound familiar? They destroyed one another. Sound familiar? They cause death among one another. Sound familiar? It wasn't until I read King Jehoshaphat's part of the story that gave me hope (2 Chronicles 17-20).
King Jehoshaphat (over Judah) did not follow in his father’s footsteps. He recognized two things that keep the three spiritual patterns above from repeating another generation. He noticed that idols of Baal were still being worshiped. He identified them and destroyed them. He then sent teachers and priests throughout the land to teach the law of the Lord. Not revamping a temple to make it modernly cool. He didn’t get the newest Bible study booklet for the great Bible study that he preferred. He took the law of the Lord as it is/was to the people of the Lord and began to bring back to life the very book that gives life. 2 Chronicles 17: 12 says, “Then the fear of the Lord fell over all the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat.” PRAISE THE LORD!
The word of God, through the life of King Jehoshaphat, gives us the solution to the spiritual patterns that we are facing today. 1. Get rid of idols + teach the word of God = the fear of the Lord will fall upon his people and no more division, destruction, and death (even if it is for a moment or let us hope the next generation to come). I don’t know about you but this makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. Division, destruction, and death do not have the final say in the people of God. I am praying that the fear of the Lord will fall on each of you reading, that the idols will be destroyed, and the Word of God to be picked up, dusted off and taught around the world. Now what? What needs to happen today? 1. Idols need to be destroyed. 2. The word of God needs to be taught. Done.
Oh people of God hear my cry, return to the Lord. Evaluate and take notice of where your idols are in your own life and in the life of your church. Take up the word of God daily. Read it for what it is. Not from someone else's opinions or preferences. The word of God is our truth and worshiping the true God is our only hope.
Take this with a grain of salt or heck let it season your whole life, whole church, whole career, whole family, etc.
With all the love I can possibly demonstrate through a writing,