Day 25 – 1 Kings 8-16 Taking the Covenant Stipulations Seriously

[Pastor John asked me if I’d repost my article for day 25 from back when I was doing the 90 Day Challenge. So here you go. Enjoy! ~ Derek]

faithfulnessLet’s begin with some observations from our text. First, as a matter of observation, after Solomon builds the Temple and dedicates it to God the Lord himself consecrates it: “I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there” (1 Kings 9:3). Sounds pretty absolute: God will forever be in the temple that Solomon built. But as you continue to read you will quickly discover the same Covenantal stipulations outlined in Deuteronomy 27-30: Blessings (which equals=remaining in the land) for obedience and Curses (which equals=exile) for disobedience. This means that God will abandon the temple if his people consistently move away in rebellion, in spite of his hopes of remaining there forever:

“Then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name”. – 1 Kings 9:7

In my opinion, people don’t take seriously enough the conditions of the Covenant.

From here the story moves on quite quickly covering the divided Kingdom and scurrying on from one rebellious king to another – both in Judah and in Israel.

What I found odd at first as I read through the series of “rebellious” kings is how David was raised up as the ideal king, “Following all of the Lord’s statutes” and “obeying all of the Lord’s commands”. Really? His little shindig with Bathsheba, the murder of his friend to cover his sin, his inability to parent his own household, his multiple wives and concubines – all of the Lord’s statutes and commands? Really?

But David was faithful to the Lord in one key area which distinguishes him from the rest of the kings in Israel. Dispite his sins and shortcomings, David only ever served Yahweh – the one Lord – his entire life. It seems then that the scriptural reference to David following all of the Lord’s commands is to be seen primarly in regard to his faithfulness to only One God.

Abandoning the worship of the One God to worship other gods is the ultimate violation of the Covenant Charter outlined in the Torah – particularly in Deuteronomy.

If I can carry this into the New Testament context – as one who does not believe in “once saved always saved” – as you fall short of perfection in this life there is grace and mercy and forgiveness and so on. Just as their was for David. But if you choose to walk out of the Covenant relationship of God by deliberately and continually worshipping other gods (however that is conceived) only exile awaits! Keeping in mind that by my reading, “land,” “Blessing,” “God’s presence,” “Heaven,” “Kingdom of God,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” and “New Earth,” all carry the same idea in the scriptures. They function more or less synonymously. As does “Exile,” “Death,” and “Hell”.

I know many will disagree with me on this point, and that is okay because I believe we need to show grace and mercy to one another as well.

Click here for tomorrow’s reading of 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 4.