Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who do you give preference to?

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

I was looking through 1 and 2nd King and had intended to cover another of the stories of Ahab and Jezebel. In a sense it was my starting point. In the narrative about Ahab is says in 1 Kings 16 "
31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. 

So I thought lets go back and find out more about Jeroboam the son of Nebat.  To get his story you have to go back to 1 Kings 11. The kingdom is divided and 10 tribes will follow him and become Israel and 2 will stay with Judah and David's line of kings.

Here's the passage in 1 Kings 11 that we first encounter him.
26 Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king.
27 And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father. 28 The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph.

Where does his rebellion start?  To begin with he is just a guy who is part of labor force from the house of Joseph. His mother is a widow so he probably works to support his mother. It says that Solomon noticed that he was industrious and made him an officer. He rises to power from the ranks of the working people. What is interesting that when Solomon had to pick people to advance he chose people of industry. Hard workers, problem solvers. 

There have been two kings prior to Solomon, lets look at what kind of people they prefer. 

Heres what it says about King Saul, the first King 1 Samuel 14:52 (NKJV)
"52 Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him for himself."

David the second King. Starts out a shepherd boy, slays the giant Goliath and earns himself a spot at the kings table. He becomes well loved by the people and king Saul becomes jealous.  He then lives on the run for quite a while. This Psalm is attributed to David. Psalm 101:6 (NKJV)
"6 My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, That they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me."
David looked for the faithful, those who would be loyal to God would be loyal to him.  

My challenge to you to day is to look at who you give preference to. What kind of people do you surround yourself with. Who do you look for for council. 

The strong and valiant?
The industrious?
The faithful?

Consider the effect those choices had on the first three kings of Israel. God's blessing is removed from King Saul. He was rash and impatient and known for taking things into his own hands rather than waiting on God. 

David is called a man after God's heart. He surrounds himself with the faithful. He hears the council of people like Nathan and is quick to repent. He rewards loyalty in his followers. 

Solomon was known for his wisdom and he surrounded himself with industrious people. He is interested in everything especially foreign women. He was a guy who could have the best of the best and when he chose he favored the industrious. It turns out that industrious guy Jeroboam gradually gains power and eventually rebells and splits the kingdom. 

So who do you give preference to? The strong and valiant. The industrious or the faithful.

Prayer: Lord I pray you would give wisdom and insight as each reader takes time to examine their preferences. Thank you Lord for those who favor the faithful may your blessing rest upon them as it did on David. Lord those who look to the strong and the industrious, I pray Lord you will begin a journey with them to bring them to know your heart in a much deeper way. I pray that each of us would see what you are trying to speak to us through this post and see where we may be heading for danger and repent before it becomes too late. 


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