1 – 1 Kings 13:33-34 (ESV) 33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.
RAF: It is true that in the Church, we are all “a royal priesthood”. And yet, this is not to remove all distinctions in service, ministry and office. 1 Corinthains 12 for instance remainds us that “not all are teachers” (vs. 29 – etc). Even within the Levitical Priesthood there were at least three major divisions of duties, and maybe more. To obliterate these, brings confusion to the Chuch. It is the record of history that a failure of carefulness in this issue breeds destructive results. We are not to simply ordain “any who would.” Willingness is not qualification by itself.
2 – 1 Kings 14:25-27 (ESV) 25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made, 27 and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house.
RAF: When our sin and disobedience leads to the loss of some of the riches God’s grace has granted to us, how apt we are to make cheap replicas rather than repent and be restored to the fullness of God’s goodness. In our sin, we always settle for less than what is of the highest good, value and satisfaction – Our Great and Glorious God Himself. Anything less than God Himself, is a cheap knock-off.
3 – 1 Kings 15:14-15 (ESV) 14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days. 15 And he brought into the house of the Lord the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels.
RAF: Good men with true whole-heartedness after God can still be subject to some very great and glaring errors. We must be careful not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We do not know men’s hearts. It is true. And we must deal with them according to their actions. Yet haste and over-censoriousness can lead to our rejecting those with whom God is not nearly as displeased as we are. He is so patient and how His own love covers such a multitude of sins.
4 – 1 Kings 16:3-4 (ESV) 3 behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 4 Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat.”
RAF: Evil men, even those who have great proiminence for a season, eventually fail to gain even the common courtesy of burial from those left behind. It is so sad to see their end. A Saddam Hussein will be found hiding in hole and hung like a common criminal – without ceremony. An Adolf Hitler will kill himself and his remains will be burned by his own orders.
Job 18:5-21 (ESV) 5 “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
and the flame of his fire does not shine.
6 The light is dark in his tent,
and his lamp above him is put out.
7 His strong steps are shortened,
and his own schemes throw him down.
8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
and he walks on its mesh.
9 A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare lays hold of him.
10 A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
a trap for him in the path.
11 Terrors frighten him on every side,
and chase him at his heels.
12 His strength is famished,
and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13 It consumes the parts of his skin;
the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14 He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
and is brought to the king of terrors.
15 In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16 His roots dry up beneath,
and his branches wither above.
17 His memory perishes from the earth,
and he has no name in the street.
18 He is thrust from light into darkness,
and driven out of the world.
19 He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
and no survivor where he used to live.
20 They of the west are appalled at his day,
and horror seizes them of the east.
21 Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
such is the place of him who knows not God.”
5 – 1 Kings 17:8-9 (ESV) 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
RAF: Note first, that this city was quite likely the very one in which Ahab’s father-in-law was born. It is a Phoenician city, and Ahab – through the influence of his wife Jezebel, has led Israel into the worship of a Phoenician god – Baal. How ironic then that God should arrange to supply the Prophets’ needs in such a place. He will make His power known in the very seat of Satan’s dominion.
Note secondly how it is said God had “commanded a widow there to feed” Elijah. It is the very same phrase used of the ravens in verse 4. In other words, she was no more aware that God had “commanded” this than the raveds were. His hidden and secret decrees are as surely carried out as though they were overt communicated commands to the most perfectly willing servant. We ought never to despair of God’s ability to work through those who are both unwilling and unwitting servants of His divine purposes in the carrying out of His grand purposes, and in blessing His saints. He is truly – God.
6 – 1 Kings 17:13-14 (ESV) 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ ”
RAF: Note the three-fold way Elijah deals with this woman, and its application to the hearing of the Word of God by others from our lips.
a. Assurance. “Do not fear”. The meesage I have to give, though it will demand your all, is not to be feared. The preaching of the Gospel must bring the reality that this is a life and death proposition, but the announcement of judgment is NOT the Gospel itself. We come with good news – and the good news is the heart and soul of our message. Yes, bad news is addressed, but it ti not the major point.
b. Command. Act according to God’s Word. We call people to believe, not merely to hear and give assent to the truthfulness of the message. We are to call upon them to actually respond. To those secretly wrought upon, respond they will. But a repsonse is called for in the message we bring. We are to call men to action.
c. Promise. We are to make them aware of God’s promise in it. To make it clear this is not an “iffy” proposition. John 6:37 (ESV) “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. ”