Thursday, October 11, 2012

1 Kings 14: Everything Rises & Falls with Leadership

1 Kings 14:7-9 "Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel. 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. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back."
1 Kings 14:21-24 Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother's name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. 23 They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.

After Solomon's inter-marriages with pagan wives, the nation went downhill. First, Israel became a divided nation comprising the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. And this was followed by Rehoboam and Jeroboam, who led the people further down the road to spiritual and moral decline as they adopted and worshiped foreign gods.

In contrast, David exercised godly leadership, and Israel prospered spiritually, politically and economically. Solomon exercised compromised leadership which started well but ended badly - while Israel continued to prosper outwardly they were rotting inwardly as idolatrous worship started to be practised in the land. When Rehoboam and Jeroboam exercised idolatrous leadership and spiritual and moral decline became full-blown under their reign. Like some degenerative disease that is often undetected at the outset, its presence becomes noticed only when it has become full blown and too late to reverse.

Spiritual and moral backsliding never happens suddenly. They start with small compromises and before we realize it, it has reached the point of no return. May God grant us discernment to detect the early signs of spiritual degeneration before it leads to backsliding that cannot be recovered.

PRAYER: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Amen.

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