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June 24, Day 176 – Ab Uno, Ad Duo, Nulli

Today we come to 1 Kings 11:14-12:24 in our readings. From yesterday’s readings, we saw that, “Solomon’s wives led him astray, and as Solomon grew old, they turned his heart after other gods; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” (cf., 1 Kings 11:3-4). Here, God pinpoints precisely that Solomon had a serious heart problem - his heart was divided. Solomon “did evil in the eyes of the LORD” (verse 6) – for which reason “the LORD now became angry with him” (verse 9). For Solomon's divided heart, God will divide the kingdom. Notice, in verse 14, we read that God “raised up adversaries against Solomon – Hadad the Edomite; Rezon, son of Eliada; and Jeroboam son of Nebat” (verses 14-26). These three individuals “added trouble” to Solomon’s kingdom (verse 25). Because God Himself gave the throne and the kingdom to Solomon, God will hold Solomon personally accountable for his leadership failures, and the magnitude of his failures will extend forward into the future through many generations. Solomon’s sins result in personal reproach on him and national reproach to Israel. Historically, Solomon began his reign with one strong, powerful, and united kingdom, which, because of his sins, would later split into two, weak, mediocre, and divided kingdoms. Then, sadly and eventually, the kingdom would collapse into no kingdom at all. We recall that the Israelites cried out to God for a kingdom, but because of their personal and national sin, God will take it away from them, He will exile them from their land, and He will scatter them abroad. This is all foreshadowed in Ahijah’s prophecy to Jeroboam (verses 29-40). The text informs us of Solomon’s death (verses 41-43), after which the consequences of sin begin (1 Kings 12). Ab uno, ad duo, nulli (“from one kingdom to two kingdoms - to no kingdom”). How sad is that?

We continue today in Psalm 77:10-20 where we see Asaph’s renewed perspective. “Then I thought, ‘to this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High’” (verse 10). During our times of stress and distress, if we will return our thoughts, hearts, and minds to the historical activity and evidence of God’s strong right hand, we will begin to see things differently. “Remember the deeds of the LORD – yes, remember them, meditate on them, and consider them” (verse 11). “What god is so great as our God?” (verse 13). Verse 19 tells us that God’s path leads “through the sea and the mighty waters.” No one in his right mind would normally follow such a pathway! If we traveled along a road that suddenly ended at “the sea and the mighty waters,” we would immediately be discouraged from continuing on. However, this is God’s path - often the one He chooses for our lives. We can only ford the wide, deep, and mighty waters of life by trusting Him alone to carry us through them. Asaph encourages us to remember God’s miraculous intervention - how He used Moses and Aaron to lead Israel to cross through the Red Sea.

In Acts 15:22-41, we recognize how the apostles and elders, under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, insisted that salvation for the Gentiles remain uncomplicated. Here, we read the letter that they sent to the “Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia” (verse 23). The Gentiles were not to be burdened with “anything beyond food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality” (verse 29). We also read that this “gladdened the people for its encouraging message” (verse 31). This was an encouraging message, and I thank God for it. In verses 36-41, we read about the unfortunate disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark, but we also recognize God’s hand in it to proclaim the gospel in different directions. In spite of our short-sightedness and petty disagreements, thank God that He sees the greater picture.

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