1 Kings (1 Kgs)
The 11th book of the OT, having 22 chapters. Although the author is unknown it records history during the period 970 to 851 BC, and reveals the lives of various kings who mostly did things their way, not God’s. The once great nation begins to falter. Time to read: 2 hrs 40 mins.
Key people include: David, Solomon, Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel.
Outline. As King David neared his death he declared Solomon, his son, as successor to the throne. When God said to Solomon in a dream, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you”, he asked for wisdom to govern. God was pleased with his request and granted it, along with riches and honour (1 Kgs 3:5-14, 28, 4:29-34 10:23). Solomon built the temple, a structure appealing to the outward forms of worship, but the people’s hearts slowly became attracted by other gods. Although the wisest King of Israel, Solomon had many wives of other cultures and religious beliefs, which lead to the nation largely worshipping false gods – this was his downfall (1 Kgs 11:1-4). During the next King’s reign, civil war caused the nation to split into two Kingdoms – the Northern 10 tribes (called Israel) and the Southern two (called Judah). Both had a series of evil Kings (especially Ahab and his wife Jezebel) but God always had His representatives. These prophets were responsible to confront the people and their leaders with God’s requirements and give direction from the law. Elijah was used by God to defeat the prophets of the Baal on Mt Carmel.
Main lesson. Decide who the true God is and follow Him fully (1 Kgs 18:21). It is impossible to serve two masters (Mt 6:24). Don’t just follow the crowd; we are individually responsible for the choice we make.
Key verses and thoughts: * What would my request have been if God had asked me what I wanted – like he did of Solomon (1 Kgs 3:5)? Would it have been for personal gain and glory or for the blessing of others?
* Solomon had plenty of worldly wisdom to give to others but failed to apply spiritual wisdom by following God’s commands (1 Kgs 10:1-7, 11:2,10). To be effective wisdom must be applied – by the giver as well as the receiver. Unfortunately, Solomon didn’t practice what he taught. There is a big difference between knowing what is right and doing what is right!
* Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from the true God (1 Kgs 11:4). Friends and relationships have a powerful influence on us – often trying to get us to adopt their values. Yes, be friendly to all but choose close friends wisely, and don’t enter into binding contracts with non-believers because you too will most likely be drawn away to other gods.