Tuesday, June 22, 2010

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - The Great Divide

By the end of Solomon's life, the nation of Israel was not what God had intended. Solomon's disobedience was the beginning of Israel's division. Jeroboam, who Solomon made a special project foreman, had great leadership skills. The Lord told the prophet Ahijah to contact Jeroboam and tell him that He would punish David's line by making him ruler over ten of the twelve tribes and that his line would be destroyed if he failed to obey the Lord. Solomon was not happy about this and tried to have Jeroboam killed. Jeroboam fled to Egypt until Solomon died. After the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam took the throne. Israel was now divided into two kingdoms. Northern Israel was known as Israel, which was ruled by Jeroboam. Judah and Benjamin stayed in Jerusalem and was known as Judah and ruled by Rehoboam. God preserved Judah because of his promise to David, yet he was not pleased with many of the next succession of kings. From this point on, rebellious kings ruled over Israel and Judah and the nation of Israel was divided and at war with one another. There were a few good kings, but the evil kings out numbered them.

This week reading in 2 Kings 17, the children of Israel were in the midst of war with each other. They were in chaos. The kings couldn't keep it together. For the most part the kings did their own thing and the scripture says, "did evil in the eyes of the Lord."

In 2 Kings 17:29,37-41. It says, "Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places."
It sounds so much like living in the United States today. Each state in the U.S. has the option of choosing its own laws. Let's skip down to 37, "You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he (God) wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did." This sounds so much like our country today. One of the things that we are fighting to keep is "In God We Trust" on our currency and "One nation under God" in our pledge of allegiance. What our currency should say is, "In Us we Trust" because America really doesn't trust God. Our country is so divided that we should be called the Individual States of America.

Earlier in this chapter, in verse 18, it says, "So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence." Only Judah was still in good graces, but they too followed their brother Israel in practices of idol and Baal worship. Eventually, Judah too lost God's presence. It would seem we are headed in that same direction. They say, history repeats itself.

This whole picture of God's chosen people looks much like the Body of Christ today. We are divided by so many denominations. I recently was told by a friend, who is a follower of Jesus in one denomination, was accused by another follower of Jesus who is in another denomination, of being in a cult. Not only is this happening in the Church, but it is happening within churches. People are at war with one another all the time. Sunday after Sunday people show up, to worship the Lord, who are offended with others in their congregation. Sometimes it's even family members who are at war with one another, and yet they come to church expecting to enter the presence of the Lord. It's no wonder the Church is weak today. I once heard T.D. Jakes say that the one thing Satan has better than us, it's that he and his demons are in unity about destroying the Body of Christ. Think about this, he uses us as his weapon to destroy each other, therefore bringing division to the Church.

Jesus said in Luke 11:17, "...
Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." Jesus did not say in the great commission to go and make denominations of all nations, but to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19) 1 Corinthians 4:20 says, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." God's plan for His kingdom is one of power. Power only comes when there is unity. The nation of Israel always won their battles not only being in unity with God, but with one another. Imagine the power of God in the Church if we joined as one. Jesus said that he and the Father are one. One divided by one equals one!