Day 9: Steadfast!

                When we think of these like Mordecai and Daniel, they were unwavering in their dedication to God. They refused to bow before another. We saw yesterday that Hannah continued to bow before God until she received the answer. Yes like Hannah the enemy will continue to provoke and even attempt to take your life but we must stand firm. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” One of the amazing promises to a man was the promise of a dynasty to Jeroboam after Solomon had disobeyed and the kingdom was torn from him. 1 Kings 11:9 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.” If we want to be part of the kingdom and have the tables tuned on our enemies we must obey the word of the Lord and keep his commandments. Since Solomon did not keep the word of the Lord, God sent Ahijah to Jeroboam one of Solomon’s officials and explained what was happening. He said, I Kings 11:37 “However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’” 40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.” Wow what a promise from God. Daniel said Daniel 2:20 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.”
                So now we have this amazing promise to Jeroboam yet he fails to follow the word of the Lord. Not only does he fail, he leads Israel into great sin.  He thought wrong when he said, 1 Kings 12:26 “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.” He then made two golden calves and said, 28 “Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Here we will see two examples of not keeping the word of the Lord. The first obviously is King Jeroboam who did not keep the word of the Lord and the other is the prophet who spoke to Jeroboam. Because Jeroboam did not obey, God sent a prophet as Jeroboam was making an offering.  He said, 1 Kings 13:2 “By the word of the Lord he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the Lord has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.” Later when his son was ill, he sent his wife to Ahijah who first told him he would be king. He could not see but God 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.” When she arrives Ahijah says, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam.”
                So we see how Jeroboam failed to follow God and the disaster that followed. Later we see in 1 Kings 15:29 “As soon as Baasha began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the Lord given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel.” When we look at the prophet we also how important it is to adhere to God’s word. He was given very specific instructions. “I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.” This is very serious for us to learn from. At first he obeyed and went another way after the King offered him something to eat. Then an older prophet went to him and said 1 Kings 13:15 “Come home with me and eat.” “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.” This may seem strange but it shows us how we must keep the word of the Lord no matter what and remain steadfast. “20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”
                Sadly the word of the Lord today isn’t taken seriously. We have leaders going their own way leading people astray and we have others not following the word they have been given which are having the same effects as Jeroboam’s sin. We must have great discernment and stand firm on the word of God no matter what. We must not bow to another God no matter what the cost. Jeroboam sins affected the kings that followed. 1 Kings 3:3 said “Joram clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.” 1 Kings 15:34 “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.” As we have seen for generations the sins of those who have gone before us continue to affect us. 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
                When the prophet prophesied he talked about Josiah. 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” He carried out everything he was supposed to do. 2 Kings 23:3 “The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” You can in this chapter everything he did. Numbers 33:50 “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” This has not changed for us. If we want to live in the Promised Land, we must tear down, destroy and demolish just like Josiah did. Before Gideon led the charge he had to Judges 6:25 “tear down his father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
                If we are dedicated to the word of the Lord we must stand firm and let nothing move us. We need great discernment and trust that God will see us through. Are you willing to stand firm even if it costs you? Will you obey the word of the Lord and live your life accordingly. So we pray - Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Peter tells us to 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
                God loves us but demands obedience. Unfortunately teaching about God’s love has left out obedience. Don’t take your walk lightly. Jeroboam gave up everything because he did not trust God’s promise to him. The prophet lost his life because he defied the word of the lord for lunch. Hebrews 3:12 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”