Old Testament In a Year: July 6 – 1 Kings 21, 22

1 Kings 21, 22
Focus Verse: “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.” – 1 King 21:29

Ahab was a very wicked king, whose wife was a very wicked queen. Yet, when he heard about how God intended to punish him for his wickedness, he repented and humbled himself before God. Because of this, God spared him from immediate destruction.

If God showed mercy to Ahab despite all the wrong things he did, don’t doubt that he can also show mercy to you. You may think that you have done too many wrong things or you may regret that your past has been imperfect, but that’s no problem for a perfect God.

His forgiveness is for those who know they don’t deserve to be forgiven. His mercy is for those who feel like they should be treated harshly. His perfection is for those with imperfect lives.

Old Testament In a Year: July 5 – 1 Kings 19, 20

1 Kings 19, 20
Focus Verse: And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'” – 1 Kings 20:28

Let us never make the mistake of assuming that God is able to do one thing, but not another; that He is Lord over this one situation, but not of this other situation; that He rules over this area, but not this area.

God is Lord of all. He is the God of the hills and of the valleys, of the skies and of the seas, of the waters and of the land. Nothing is too hard for Him to do. Nothing is too great for Him to overcome.

Old Testament In a Year: July 4 – 1 Kings 16, 17, 18

1 Kings 16, 17, 18
Focus Verse: Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.” – 1 Kings 18:22

Elijah lived during a time when most people had turned away from worshiping the one true God, and had turned to worshiping whatever false gods they so chose.

But even though he was a minority, Elijah did not allow the majority to deter him from following God. He remained faithful to God, and consistently encouraged others to do the same. He was fine with being the only prophet of the Lord, with being the only one who heard God’s voice and listened to it. He did not mind standing alone.

Following God and consistently doing the right thing will sometimes require you to stand alone. Do not be afraid to do so. Do not allow the voices of many people who are not following God to silence your own. Do not allow the faithless actions of others to paralyze you from acting out your faith and living out your conscience.

One with God is greater than any number of human beings combined.

Old Testament In a Year: July 3 – 1 Kings 14, 15

1 Kings 14, 15
Focus Verse: Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem. – 1 Kings 15:4

Because of David’s obedience to God, those who came after him were each blessed in some way. Even though many of David’s descendants were disobedient to God, they still experienced God’s blessings on their lives due to David’s obedience. 1 Kings 15:3 says that David’s heart was wholly true to the Lord his God. And 1 Kings 15:5 says that David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

David was by no means perfect, but God looks at a person’s heart and it was always the desire of David’s heart to love, fear, trust, obey, and worship God. Because of his heart’s desire, he was blessed, and those who descended from him were also blessed.

Compare David’s life of obedience to Jeroboam’s life of disobedience. 1 Kings 15:25-32 tells of how the entire family of Jeroboam was killed because of “the sins of Jeroboam that he sinned and that he made Israel to sin.” Not one person of Jeroboam’s house was left alive. Because of Jeroboam’s disobedience to God, those who came after him were not blessed.

Your obedience or disobedience to God does not only affect you, but can also affect those around you. So, be aware of how what you do today will affect others tomorrow, for better or for worse.

Old Testament In a Year: July 2 – 1 Kings 12, 13

1 Kings 12, 13
Focus Verse: And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.'” But he lied to him. – 1 Kings 13:18

The first prophet who confronted Jeroboam about his idolatrous building of altars was given specific directions by God about what not to do. He was told not to eat bread or drink water in Bethel. He was also told not to return by the way that he came to Bethel, but to go another way.

The first prophet was obeying God’s directions until a second prophet came along. This second prophet told him that he too had been given specific directions by God. The second prophet said that God told him to bring the first prophet back to his house, which was in Bethel, and to give him bread to eat and water to drink. But he was, as we see, lying.

Before the first prophet followed the second prophet back to his house, he should have asked: Why didn’t God tell me what He told him? Why did God’s word to him contradict God’s word to me?

When God speaks to you, He can do so directly through His Holy Word and prayer; or He can do so indirectly through other people or some other external factor. When you think that God is using an indirect channel to speak to you, make sure that it is truly Him speaking. Make sure that the indirect channel is not contradicting the direct channel. If someone says, “God says this,” but the Holy Word says, “God says that,” you would do well to listen to the latter voice over the former.

Ask God to give you wisdom and clarity in hearing, listening, and obeying His voice. Ask God to give you discernment in knowing truth from lies, right from wrong, sincerity from deception.

Old Testament In a Year: June 27 – 1 Kings 10, 11

1 Kings 10, 11
Focus Verse: She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. – 1 Kings 10:2

It is said that Solomon was the wisest person who ever lived, but there is one who is wiser and from whom Solomon got his wisdom – God. As King of kings, God knows everything. He has every answer to every question. Nothing is hidden from Him.

You can go to God and talk to Him about anything that is in your heart and all that is on your mind. No question is too difficult for Him to answer; no problem is too hard for Him to solve; and no situation is too complicated for Him to explain.

All wisdom and prosperity belongs to Him. Whatever you ask, whatever you desire, He can give to you.

Old Testament In a Year: June 26 – 1 Kings 8, 9

1 Kings 8, 9
Focus Verse: And he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying.” – 1 Kings 8:15

With Abraham (promising to make of him a great nation) and with David (promising to establish his throne forever), God first gave a verbal promise before providing its physical fulfillment.

Abraham and David had to believe God’s word before they saw His way. And you must do the same. Believe the promises that God has made to you in His Word. You may not see the way in which they will be fulfilled, but God is a God who keeps His word. Everything that He said He would do, He will do.

What God has promised to you with His mouth, He will fulfill with His hand. And when you cannot immediately see God’s hand at work, you must trust His heart.

Old Testament In a Year: June 25 – 1 Kings 5, 6, 7

1 Kings 5, 6, 7
Focus Verse: And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ – 1 Kings 5:5

Unlike David, his father, Solomon did not have to engage in any warfare. God gave Solomon rest from fighting and put his enemies under the soles of his feet. He experienced neither adversary nor misfortune.

What did Solomon do with all the peace and quiet time he had?

He decided to build a house for God. It is true that he also built a palace for himself, but constructing a house for God was his first priority. It took Solomon seven years to build God’s house and he put a great deal of attention, detail, and dedication into over those seven years.

Take a moment to consider: What are you doing for God?

Old Testament In a Year: June 10 – 1 Kings 3, 4; Proverbs 1

1 Kings 3, 4; Proverbs 1
Focus Verse: And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. – 1 Kings 3:7

Before Solomon could ask God for wisdom and understanding, he had to admit that he didn’t yet have what he was asking for.

He had been made king in place of his father, David, who was both a warrior and a beloved leader of Hebron and Jerusalem. Yet despite his crown and his throne and his power, Solomon felt like “a little child.” He wasn’t confident that he knew how to lead God’s great people. And for this reason, he asked for help. He asked to be given an understanding mind and a heart to discern between good and evil so that he could govern well.

Have you been given a position or placed in a situation where you aren’t quite sure what to do or how to handle it? Don’t try to bury that feeling. Admit it to God and ask for His help. He is willing and ready and able to help you with whatever you need.

Do you lack confidence? Ask God to give you an appreciation for your own abilities or qualities.

Do you lack skills? Ask God to give you the ability to do whatever it is you need to do well.

Do you lack wisdom? Ask God to give you some, and He, “who gives generously to all without finding fault,” will give you wisdom.

Solomon would never have been the wisest person to ever live if he had not admitted his limitations to God and asked Him for help in overcoming them. Likewise, you will never receive the help you need from God if you never admit your inadequacies, doubts, and weak points to Him. It is never about what you can do or can’t do, but always about what God can do for you, with you, and through you.