Focus passages - 1 Kings 1-11, 2 Chronicles 1-9
It was a Father’s heartache. Tom had been the apple of his father Jim’s eye. Tom was smart and very athletic. Father and son had been so close throughout his high school years. When he got to college, Tom got caught up in a bad crowd and soon he had dropped out and Jim didn’t hear from Tom for a while. Jim finally heard that Tom was out west somewhere and had run on hard times. His friends had deserted him and he was on drugs. Jim called the cell phone that he had given his son in college, but no one ever answered. He finally heard from a friend where Tom was living and went to see him. In the days of David and Solomon, Israel had been the envy of the world. It was powerful and had enormous wealth. It showed the greatness of God to a world that wished they could belong to Yahweh. In the last days of Solomon, the nation ran away from God and worshiped others. God would send prophets to them to demonstrate His power through miracles. He called them and prophets spoke of His great love for them. The message was always the same. Return to me and I will restore you. Here is the story of God’s heartache with His wayward son.
I will show them my power 1 kings 18:38 Fifty years have passed since the days of Solomon and the wicked King Ahab sits on the throne of the Northern Kingdom. Elijah calls a meeting with Ahab and proposes a challenge between the true God and Ahab’s false gods to see who the true God is. 450 prophets of Baal called on their god for hours with no response. God sends fire down from heaven that consumes the water, the sacrifice, and the wood. The people cry out that Yahweh is the true God, but sadly their faith doesn’t last.
I will show them the depth of my love Hosea 3:1 Now, 180 years have passed since Solomon and God calls the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. It is a visual message showing how much the Lord loves the nation of Israel which has prostituted itself to the false gods around it. Sadly, Hosea would love this woman and have children with her, but she would run away. Hosea was commanded to buy his wife out of the prostitution that she was now enslaved in. It was a visual message about how God had bought Israel out of slavery and sin again and again.
I will give them one last warning Amos 9:8 The end is near. Israel is on the verge of destruction and so the Lord sends the prophet Amos. His message is a message of punishment for Israel and Judah. If Hosea shows gospel love, then Amos shows law justice. Israel is within a generation of being destroyed. It is time to repent before it is too late. Yet, the people see no reason to repent. In the end, their rejection of the Lord will put them out of God’s protection and their evil living will bring its own destruction.
This is the story of a God who stuck with His people for over 200 years. It would have been easy to have just destroyed Israel or to have allowed it to fall quickly to its neighbors. Yet God loved them and sent prophets to them with demonstrations of power and a visual demonstration of love. Neither worked. Our God does not give up on His people. He shows them His power and His love. He is a heavenly father who loves his children even when they are in the midst of sin. It is never too late to cry out to the Lord and seek His mercy and His help. His love never ends and never fails. The message of the prophets is still the message of God today. God is calling His people to return to Him so that He might restore them. He loves His church and will not give up on it. Regardless of how far you have strayed, come home! It is the message that God says to us and that we have to be saying to others. It is the message that can change America as it builds families, ends violence and gives people lives that work.