Israel’s kings, high places, idols by Jerry Moore
Pastor Jerry spoke about genealogies and how these were so important to who owned what land in Israel. He spoke about how the kingdom became divided and how the Israelites let idol worship into their midst.
1 Kings 3:1-2 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem. Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days.
Notice that there was worship going on in the high places – that is where the idols were worshipped.
1 Kings 3:3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
That is a mighty big EXCEPT – that Solomon did most things like David did, EXCEPT he burned incense to the idols in high places. These were groves, shady places with trees that were used to worship idols.
There was no temple built, so they worshipped in these high places, and that worship became a habit.
1 Kings 3:14-15 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
God told Solomon to keep God’s statues and commandments.
1 Kings 8:22-53 – This is the prayer that Solomon made to dedicate the temple. I did not print it out for it is such a long passage, but have made a link for you to go to it if you desire.
God said that if the Jews prayed toward the Temple, God would restore them. Now, since Jesus, we are the Temple of the Lord. God wants us to be in the place where we are praying toward Christ. The presence of God would be His Son, and God knows the heart intent of our prayers.
The Messiah will come when everyone God has called comes to the Lord, getting people back to the fold. We need to examine our hearts.
Verses 41-43 Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.
This is very encouraging for us Gentiles for this shows that God hears the prayers of foreigners, all nations. The people of Israel can be conquered and taken out of the land because of their disobedience, but God will, after people return to Him with their whole heart, bring a remnant of the people back to the land.
1 Kings 8:54 And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, that he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
The posture that Solomon used to pray (on his knees) is the posture that we need to assume when we pray before God. It is a point of contact. Yes, we can talk with God anywhere, anytime, and connect with God no matter our posture. But sometimes it is important to have us kneel in humbly before God. The position we assume says something to our flesh. Without God’s mercy and grace, we could never have reached a point where we seek God.
It is difficult for people to see their own problems. We tend to not look to carefully and examine ourselves, but that is important for it helps us to get in right position and in line with God’s will for our lives.
We know how Solomon sinned, for he did not obey God’s commands or follow God’s instructions for kings. What then happened is that his son Rehoboam refused to listen to the elders, and put undo pressure on the people of Israel, this caused the kingdom to be divided.
Rehoboam ruled Judah the Southern Kingdom, and Jeroboam ruled Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam was afraid that the people would go to Jerusalem to worship God at the feasts and he did not want that, for then he would lose his power, so his solution was the following – notice, he said it in his heart:
1 Kings 12:25-33 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.
This is the same sin that the Israelites did at Mt. Sinai, building a golden calf to worship. Now there were two golden calves, the priests were not priests descended from Aaron, and the people were in active rebellion against the Word of God – and worshipping the golden calves. This was a semblance of worship, but not true worship. The main reason for this rebellion was a fear of losing power if the people returned to God. This mirrors what happened with the High Priests in Israel when Jesus, the Messiah was there – they feared that they would lose power if Jesus was in power. In all of its history, the Northern kingdom did not produce one king who honored God’s commands and did good in the sight of God, and their kingdom was dispersed long before the kingdom of Judah was dispersed. Their rebellion caused their downfall.
When Jehoshaphat, King of Judah was asked to join forces with Ahab King of Israel the following happened:
2 Chronicles 18:3-7 So Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?”And he answered him, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war.” Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire for the word of the LORD today.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” So they said, “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?” So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say such things!”
Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a real prophet of the Lord, not the prophets Ahab had chosen who would give a prophesy according to what Ahab wanted to hear. Micaiah would tell the truth, but Ahab thought that that meant that Micaiah only prophesied evil, but the truth was that Micaiah told Ahab the truth – the truth is the one thing that a King really needs to hear. But Ahab would rather have lies. Ultimately Micaiah tells Ahab that he will die in his battle, so Ahab gets the idea that Jehoshaphat and he should change cloaks (that would hopefully trick the enemy to attack Jehoshaphat thinking he is Ahab). That plan did not work, and an arrow shot randomly ends up killing Ahab. God’s Word comes true no matter what we do to try and prevent it from occurring.
Pastor Jerry only had a short time to present a lot of information. He concluded by telling us that we need to be careful not to be seeking high places and idols in our lives. That God has a high regard for our acts of obedience, far more regard for that than for any acts that we do in our own understanding. He told us that a study of the kings of Israel and Judah, where they succeeded and where they missed the mark and sinned would help us to refine our spiritual walk.
God did not ask the King if he felt like worshipping. We need to make sure that we are obedient and worship, even when we don’t feel like it – make that sacrifice of praise.
I hope this blesses you!
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