Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals from July 6-12 are provided by Cami King, who serves on the church staff of JCC, Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Kings 14: 7-11, 14-16
7 Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9 but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, 10 therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone… 14 Moreover, the Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15 the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”
If I’ve learned one thing in recent years, it is that this world is passing away (see 1 John 2:15-17). I heard this growing up in church, but my heart has been thoroughly convinced of this truth as of late. Nearing the end of our journey with King Jeroboam, I can’t help but imagine that his heart was never convinced of this truth. In God’s final judgment of Jeroboam, He says something very interesting – that Jeroboam cast the Lord behind his back (v. 9). What does that mean? The king literally turned his back on God. How? I don’t think he actively tried to leave God behind, but what he failed to do was to love God with his whole heart by walking in full obedience. In so doing he turned away from God and toward another (the world). Through doing things his own way and seeking to fulfill his own desires, Jeroboam allowed his heart to be wooed away from the God who loved him and had given him everything (v. 7).
Chuck Swindoll tells the following story: I read this past week of a couple (let’s call them Carl and Clara) whose twenty-five year marriage was a good one. Not the most idyllic, but good. They now had three grown children who loved them dearly. They were also blessed with sufficient financial security to allow them room to dream about a lakeside retirement home. They began looking. A widower we’ll call Ben was selling his place. They liked it a lot and returned home to talk and plan. Months passed. Last fall, right out of the blue, Clara told Carl she wanted a divorce. He went numb. After all these years, why? And how could she deceive him…how could she have been nursing such a scheme while they were looking at a retirement home? She said she hadn’t been. Actually, this was a recent decision now that she had found another man. Who? Clara admitted it was Ben, the owner of the lake house, whom she inadvertently ran into several weeks after they had discussed the sale. They’d begun seeing each other. Since they were now “in love,” there was no turning back. Clara left Carl. Less than two weeks after she moved in with him, Ben was seized with a heart attack and died.
I remember hearing someone describe fulfilling our desires apart from God (or following the ways of the world) as a man who went to sleep desperately hungry and dreamed of a banquet feast where he enjoyed the richest of fare only to wake up and realize that it was only a dream. Likewise, as we walk in disobedience or partial obedience to God, we find ourselves drinking from dream waters whose satisfaction will, just as soon as we wake up, vanish before our eyes. Worst still, we will look up one day and find God in our rearview mirror heading in a very different direction than we are.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to be a lover of You and not of the world. Help me to take a hard look at the choices I’m making and things I’m pursuing and surrender to you in full obedience, lest I wake up one day and find You behind me and moving in a different direction than I am. Convince my heart that all my efforts to satisfy my desires and all that I pursue apart from you will stop short in the end. You alone satisfy and the things of You alone will remain.
Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 6-7