1 Kings

Influence God

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When it comes to our walk with the Lord, we all want to be perfect, but none of us are. We are sinners and at times we disobey God. Sometimes we disobey him in small ways, and there are other times when our sins are so great that they may result in lasting earthly consequences; consequences that even God may have ordered himself. If you’ve sinned and have wronged God so badly that he has decided to take action against you, I encourage you to do what Ahab did and humble yourself before him. First Kings, chapter 21, verses 27 through 29 says: 

“When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.’”

Ahab committed a great evil in the sight of the Lord. His wife encouraged him to have an innocent man killed just so that he could take possession of his vineyard. Verses 25 and 26 says, “(There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)" All of this and the Lord still extended grace. We should never stir God to this level of anger. But if you ever do, remember this story. Humble yourself, fast and repent. Then the Lord may have mercy on you and withhold the level of judgment he had originally carved out for you.

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Because of the magnitude of Ahab’s transgression, God was about to bring disaster upon him. God didn’t relent completely. His judgment passed along to Ahab’s son. But his grace allowed for it not to happen in Ahab’s lifetime. God acknowledged his repentance and stayed his hand. So remember, true repentance and humility goes a long way with God. Even if you’ve done something incredibly bad, he can still offer grace to you. But it is my hope that for you and for me, it’ll never come to that. If you don’t know already, I encourage you to learn what God likes and what he doesn’t like, and to pursue for former and avoid the later.

Turned Hearts

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Have you ever wondered why the Bible warns us not to closely associate with people of bad character? Or why we shouldn’t marry someone who isn’t a believer in Christ? Or why it encourages believers to meet often in gatherings we call “churches” and “small groups”? If you’ve ever wondered about such things, it is because as human beings, our hearts are prone to wander. For many of us, our hearts are easily turned. To insure that we maintain a healthy relationship with God, and to help us operate in obedience to him, it helps when we surround ourselves with people who are pursuing these same goals. King Solomon learned this lesson the hard way. The Bible tells us, in first Kings chapter 11, that Solomon loved many foreign women from many nations who didn’t worship the God of his forefathers. Verse 2 goes on to say:

“They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.”

You might think that you are a strong believer and that no human being could cause your zeal for the Lord to change or to grow cold. But Solomon was a strong believer. He was the son of David, and he knew the truth. He spoke to God at the beginning of his reign and God gave him a wise an discerning heart. God gave him a wisdom that surpassed the wisdom of any man who ever lived and any man that ever will live. Yet with all of his wisdom, and with his initial zeal for the Lord, his heart was turned and he worshipped other gods. So I encourage you to heed this warning. If Solomon’s heart could be turned, I wouldn’t want to put my heart to the test. And I hope you wouldn’t either.

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The Lord told the Israelites that they must not intermarry with people from other nations, because they will surely turn their hearts after other gods. It never ceases to amaze me how weak humans are. Yes, we experience moments of strength, especially when we are in step with the Spirit. But in our flesh, we are exceedingly weak. Our hearts are fickle and God is a jealous God. When we invite influences that are contrary to God and his nature, when we closely associate with people who oppose him and when we marry unbelievers, there is a good chance that our hearts will be turned away from him. That is why the Bible encourages us to think on heavenly things, to read his word and to pray often. We need to be believers of character. We need to expose our hearts to more of God and keep our hearts away from those who oppose him.

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