July 3, Friday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI devotionals from June 29-July 3 are written by Pastor Ryun Chang.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

1 King 12:16, 25-31: And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents. . . . 25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. 31 He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.

3People used to like Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, and Miley Cyrus—especially when they, as young pups with major talents, broke into show business.  The young Jeroboam had some major talents as well—not in song and dance, but in military exercise. So, “when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force” (11:28).  Even God, through a prophet, told Jeroboam, “I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes” (31).

For Miley, opting for a bad girl image is a calculated career move.  The famed singer Dolly Parton said regarding her godchild, “[Miley] was very proud of the work she did as Hannah Montana, but people were gonna leave her there forever. And she was just smotherin’ and chokin’ in it.  So she felt she had to do something completely drastic.  And she did.”  Her makeover has been so successful that adding “See Miley Cyrus” next to the word “raunchy” in the new edition of Webster’s Dictionary wouldn’t be a surprise.

Jeroboam also made an “astute” career move.  Liking the feeling of being in charge, he completely destroyed the spiritual foundation of Israel by instituting a counterfeit religion; while doing so, he showed no fear of God.  After changing the place of worship from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan, Jeroboam told the people to worship golden calves.  He then opened the priesthood to everyone even though God had limited that just to the Levites.

Miley Cyrus is purposely going “bad” so she can do anything that Hanna Montana wouldn’t do, but what about Jeroboam?  Fearing that he may lose his kingdom, Jeroboam went “bad” in order to keep his subjects from offering annual sacrifices in Jerusalem (i.e., enemy territory).  Displaying some talent in acting as well, Jeroboam, in pretense, said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.”

What about you?  Do you want God’s approval or man’s accolades?  For those who no longer fear God in order to go after their desires, one word of warning: it will not end well (14:12-3).  Repent and cease your reckless pursuit of your wanton desire.  Choose God.

Prayer

Father, the lure of the world is real and palpable; it’s everywhere!  Put the fear of God in me so that I would think twice before stepping into the traps of the enemy.  Help me to love You more.  May the Spirit fill me each day so that I have the power to love God and say no to sin.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 20

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Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 3:1-6: Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Question to Consider

  1. Like all of us, Jeroboam was a son of Adam. What did he learn from the first man?  In what ways are their acts similar?
  2. In what ways are the consequences of their actions similar (both personal and collective senses)?
  3. Examine the manners in which you go about getting what you need or want. Are you more like “shameless” Cyrus Miley or “lawless” (breaking all rules) Jeroboam?

Notes

  1. Both of them, in order to go after their desires, totally ignored God and His word. They couldn’t claim ignorance since they were well aware of God’s clear instructions.  In short, they had no fear of God.
  2. At the personal level, their actions greatly injured them—Adam and Eve were banished from the garden while Jeroboam’s family paid a dear price for his sin. At the collective level, their sin affected the rest of the people in their world. Through Adam, sin entered the world, making everyone sinful from the outset; through Jeroboam (922-01), the Israelites in the Northern Kingdom were introduced to idolatry which would last until its eventual demise in 721 B.C.
  3. Personal response.

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 Evening Reflection

As you wrap up this busy day, reflect on how the day went.  Did you do anything “shameful” (thinking that it was funny or amusing) to get on the good side of the people?  Did you compromise your beliefs just so that you won’t be persecuted for what you believe?  Paul says in 2 Tim. 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Pray for God’s strength to live a life worthy of the cross.

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