1 Kings 14:1-18 – Are You Treating God Like A God of Last Resort?

Posted: January 24, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 14:1-18

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

It is a pattern that we often see repeated in ourselves before we come to Christ as our Savior and in our society in times of crisis. We use the one true God as a fallback God. How often do we try things our way and reject God and His Word and even make fun of those who believe in that ancient myth of some Creator who controls everything? Then, when times get hard, we fall back to that which we have made fun of in the past. We pray to God.

We see it in our society in general as well. According to an August 16, 2016 article in the online magazine Duke Today (an online magazine associated with Duke University),

after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, many expected American houses of worship to be jammed with parishioners seeking refuge, community and a place to grieve. And that spike in church attendance did in fact occur. Briefly. But the attacks did not have a lasting effect on American religiosity, says Mark Chaves, a Duke professor of sociology, religious studies, and divinity. Chaves directs the National Congregations Study, which examines American religious places of worship over time. He says the jolt to church attendance following the attacks lasted just a few weeks. “People thought this type of crisis of national significance would lead people to be more religious, and it did,” he says. “But it was very short-lived. There was a blip in church attendance and then it went back to normal.” And though church attendance spiked briefly after 9/11, America’s overall participation in religious activities was actually in decline at that time — a trend that was slow enough not to be identified until recently. The best data point to a slow, steady drop in religious involvement dating back to at least the 1970s, he says.

I remember before I came to Christ as my Savior and Lord in December 2001, I knew who God was. I grew up as a preacher’s kid. I knew about Jesus Christ as the Savior. I knew that He died for my sins, whatever that meant to me at the time. But all the knowledge of God and what He had done for us as laid out in the Bible just never took hold in my soul. It was knowledge only without the power of the Holy Spirit. So as I grew older and left home to live life on my own and especially after the philosophical challenges that college brings, I grew away from serious consideration of God. I became susceptible to anything that questioned God’s existence, that Jesus performed miracles, that Jesus was God in the flesh. I began to think of Jesus as this great philosopher and anti-establishment figure rather than the Son of God. To me, He was this great martyr figure. How his actions came to sweep the world was beyond me. I just could not wrap my head around Jesus as being God in the flesh. I had knowledge but no faith. I knew but I did not understand.

However, in times of crisis, boy, did I ever pray to the God that I questioned. I would go to Him when things were going bad. And my divorce from my first wife was worthy of a Lifetime movie. It was that bad. During that time, I sought God in prayer when the battles within that war were going on and I did not think I could take anymore. But hey as soon as the immediate crisis was over, I was back on my own and prayer was the last thing on my mind…until the next crisis. That was the character of my life. I bought into the culture’s worldview of independence and self-reliance. I was determined never to lose and never give up. It was win-win at all costs and, no matter how difficult things became. My mantra was, “When things get tough, the tough get going.” My perspective worked well until my deep valleys outnumbered my mountaintops. Does this sound like you? Can you identify with what I’m saying?

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read about Jeroboam’s reaction to the crisis in his life. Here, he had started a new religion to suit his personal needs but yet when a crisis time came, he sent his wife to see a man of God, the real God, the one true God. Aren’t we all a lot like that until we come to know Jesus as our Savior and Lord? Let’s read about the crisis in Jeroboam’s immediate family now in 1 Kings 14:1-18, now:

Chapter 14

1 At that time Jeroboam’s son Abijah became very sick. 2 So Jeroboam told his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as my wife. Then go to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh—the man who told me I would become king. 3 Take him a gift of ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and ask him what will happen to the boy.”

4 So Jeroboam’s wife went to Ahijah’s home at Shiloh. He was an old man now and could no longer see. 5 But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife will come here, pretending to be someone else. She will ask you about her son, for he is very sick. Give her the answer I give you.”

6 So when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he called out, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you pretending to be someone else?” Then he told her, “I have bad news for you. 7 Give your husband, Jeroboam, this message from the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I promoted you from the ranks of the common people and made you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I ripped the kingdom away from the family of David and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who obeyed my commands and followed me with all his heart and always did whatever I wanted. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me, 10 I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone. 11 The members of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”

12 Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam’s wife, “Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only member of your family who will have a proper burial, for this child is the only good thing that the Lord, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam.

14 “In addition, the Lord will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. This will happen today, even now! 15 Then the Lord will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River,[a] for they have angered the Lord with the Asherah poles they have set up for worship. 16 He will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and made Israel sin along with him.”

17 So Jeroboam’s wife returned to Tirzah, and the child died just as she walked through the door of her home. 18 And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, as the Lord had promised through the prophet Ahijah.

In this passage we see that Jeroboam sent his wife incognito to seek out a man of God to see what was going to happen with their sick son. Although he was seeking God’s assistance and maybe assurance, he did not want his wife being discovered doing it. Jeroboam did not tell his wife to pray for their son, or to ask the prophet to pray. He wanted to use Ahijah the prophet as a fortuneteller instead of seeking him as a man of God. How often do we go to God with the wrong motives in prayer, especially when we have been rebelling against God anyway? Before we understand our relationship with God, we think of Him as our last resort method. Jeroboam was doing the same here.

God actually desires that we be utterly dependent upon Him and that we are in desperate need of His help. It is often through our circumstances that we finally realize that we cannot control our lives on our own and that we need God’s help. But we must come to Him believing that He is more than some God of last resort. We must come to Him in all humility, no matter who is watching. We must come to Him believing that we are sinners in need of redemption and that we have messed it all up and that we are willing to hand all power over our lives to Him.

Think of a human father.  What good father would not want his children to turn to him when they need help?  Naturally, a father loves it when his children come to him to seek help.  There is something special about having someone there for you.  God is this true source and He is more reliable than any human father or mother. God truly loves those that are His.  He loves you! 

Listen to what God says for those who are in desperate situations and what He promises when they call upon Him. God wants us to depend on Him and not rely on ourselves.  God is our Father and we are His children. Children cannot make it in this world without their parents.  How much more so can we not make it without the help of our Heavenly Father?  If we try to solve our problems by ourselves then we can really do nothing to ultimately solve them. God is actually more glorified in our weakness because by His strength He is able to display His might.  He stands ever ready, able, and willing to help us when we really need it but we must first acknowledge of our need for His help.  We truly find freedom from worry when we learn to depend upon God.  Our money says “In God We Trust” but it is hard to trust when everything seems to be caving in around us.  Nothing looks like it will turn out right.  At times there is no evidence that God is even with us so how can we trust in Him during calamitous times?  In reality, we can sometimes not even trust our eyes…but if there is anything in this universe you can trust, it is God Almighty.  It is the invisible hand that is placed in ours that never lets go.  Like a parent holding their child‘s hand, God is securely caring for us, never letting us slip or fall.

When everything seems to be falling in around us, when the walls seem to be closing in on us, when nothing in our world or in this world seems to hold any hope, when everything looks completely hopeless, just remember that God is not ever caught by surprise. He will save those who are His from calamity (Heb 7:25).  He isn’t ever going to abandon us, forsake us, or leave us. Is now the time that you finally give up on controlling your own life and give control over to God? Knowing that God has our back and that even our hard times have a purpose for what God has planned for us is trust. Trust in the Lord. Place your hand in His. God is preparing you for what He has prepared for you!

Amen and Amen.

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