Well, because we're not excited about sharing Jesus with people.
I know each individual has to examine that for themselves. These books are beyond history books. The repetitive commentary on the behavior of the sinful kings begins to clue us into this. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.
And we hear that refrain 23 times, no less between first Kings and second Chronicles. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of first Kings.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of first Kings chapter one, as he begins his introduction to the book of first Kings. Two books of Kings, first and second Kings, are really one in the Hebrew Bible. And they did not split them until Old Testament was translated into the Greek, the Septuagint. Now we'll hopefully get to verse 14, but I think book introductions are vital to understanding what God wants to say to us from any particular book or letter in the Bible.
And I always try to spend some time on the introduction. It's not just historical facts. They have everything to do with what God wants to speak. Together, these two books of Kings, as we know them, cover practically the entire period of the Jewish monarchs. Of course, it does not give us the story of Saul and just a little bit of David, but after that, all the way from Solomon to Zedekiah, about 400 years of history in these books.
And remember, when we say history concerning the Bible, we mean spiritual history, not simply what happened with humans. First Kings mainly concerned itself with events in the life of Solomon, and then we get the prophet Elijah. And when we get to Second Kings, it tells the story of the continuing story of the monarchs, but then we meet the ministry of Elisha, Elijah's student, his protege. He then becomes the center of attention and then the fall of Jerusalem.
Now that's just an abbreviated overview of the two books. The historians who compiled these records that we have of the Jewish kings had available to them documents which are now lost to us, but they contributed to what had to be said, according to the Holy Spirit. The missing books that we know of are Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. You see, we have the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, but we don't have the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. The Acts of David, which was done by Nathan the prophet, as well as the Acts of Solomon, also done by Nathan the prophet. The prophecy of Elijah and the visions of Edo the seer.
These books contributed to what we have in First and Second Kings and Chronicles and Samuel, but they're gone. From those more detailed documents, the Holy Spirit himself preserved those things of substance to him and therefore to us. If the Holy Spirit says, you know, I know there's some good stories, there's some very good things, but we can't let this thing just go on forever.
We've got to narrow it down. And I have to leave you with the facts that will exalt the Father and equip the saints. Edification. So we are left without details, yet with strength and essential facts enough to know God better and therefore to serve God.
I mean, that's what it's all about. There's no Bible study worth going to if it doesn't have a spiritual feature that belongs to it. There must be some connection to the throne of God every single time we open our Bibles. Or else why bother?
You get that from a newspaper or something. The facts that contribute to shaping our understanding of God are essential. And we want them. And when Jesus says, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that covers such a wide area of our existence that we can't wait to see it happen. Problem is, for us, is that suffering belongs to growing in Christ is no way around it. We learn to make suffering work. None of us should be looking to suffer.
We're looking to get the job done, and that will require, like it or not, pain. So the question that I would ask myself and you, where is your personal trust in Jesus Christ? In a world increasingly global and comfortable without Him, where is your personal trust in Christ? Has it dimmed over the years?
I'm sure it has. But what is your response to that? Do you take care enough of your faith to get that light going when it needs to go, to shine bright, to be a beacon to the lost? Every book of our Bible is written to tell us to trust God based on what God has said.
And no matter what, it's not conditional. It's not trust God if, it is trust God, no matter what others believe or disbelieve. I believe, as did Elijah, who never stopped believing in the Lord, no matter what. No matter what his colleagues were doing, no matter what he thought everyone else was doing, Elijah believed in God, and the same is true of the prophets. Even Solomon, Solomon who was so blessed and yet so weak.
Solomon writes, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man's all. Amen, brother. I agree with that.
In fact, I want to agree with that with enthusiasm. I can't always do that. There are just sometimes I'm just beat down, but I still know it in my head and my heart and in my hands. I can still open my Bible and know that I'm supposed to love this because it is right, even if I don't feel like it. These books of the Bible, they have warmed my heart from my childhood and into my manhood because there's nothing like it. Revelation 22 6 is so meaningful to us. These words are faithful and true. That's right from the throne of God.
John, I don't want you to miss this. I've been saying this since in the beginning God created, and I'm saying it right up to the end. These words are faithful and true. No matter what a global humanity is doing without God, and humanity is achieving so much, we are more comfortable in this time in human history more than ever before globally speaking. But if you took ants in a colony, and in that colony you had ants that could really come up with some clever inventions and some fascinating discoveries and cures for sickness and all these things that the ants could do, but they rejected the Creator, what would it matter? But if in that colony you had ants that said, well I can't do all those things, I can enjoy many of them, and I certainly love the medical achievements, but I know who my Redeemer is. I know who I am before my Redeemer. I know I need to be redeemed. That's humanity.
It doesn't matter if it's found in ants or monkeys or whatever it is. The point is there is a God. We know His name. We know His nature.
We know enough about Him to move forward in our faith and be a witness for Jesus Christ without shame or hesitation no matter what. Learning from kings, the spiritual prosperity of a people rises or falls according to the character of their ruler. That's one of the great lessons from the books of Kings and Chronicles, that the character of the people rises or falls based on the character of the king, the ruler. That's influence and that's also being susceptible to someone else rather than God when it fails. And we see that in the people when they lined up behind the wicked kings and abandoned God, when they turned to idols or other peoples. So these books of Kings illustrate for us the important principle that obedience is a condition of blessing. To be blessed by God I must pursue obedience. And we know also from the kings that when the kings fail to obey, not because of their disregard for God, but because of their weakness, God still blessed them. David said, blessed is the man who God does not impute iniquity. If God should number our sins, none of us would stand.
This in contrast to the wicked ones. And I get strengthened by that. I know my God is not petty and I know He is holy and He is pure. And I want to tell people about this and I don't want to lose that as the years go by, a disinterest in sharing Jesus Christ. Maybe that's why Christ doesn't give us so much the chance to share Jesus with people because we're not excited about sharing Jesus with people.
Either each individual has to examine that for themselves. These books are beyond history books. The repetitive commentary on the behavior of the sinful kings begins to clue us into this. And He did evil in the sight of the Lord. And He did evil in the sight of the Lord.
And we hear that refrain 23 times, no less between 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The spiritual feature of the books, they exalt the Lord and they condemn sin. And that's what makes them spiritual. They exalt the only true God and they condemn everything against Him.
And it doesn't apologize. Sin is an offense against God. And without addressing sin as sin, it is just a history book.
That's all you're left with. But it does address it and that's why it's rejected by the world. Proverbs 14, 18, the simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge, presupposing that that individual has a right relationship with God, with Yahweh in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ in the New. According to that Proverbs, the sons of wicked fathers did not have to be wicked themselves. They could inherit the folly if they chose to or they could be crowned with knowledge.
It was up to them then and it is up to individuals to this very day. Imagine an American history book inserting such comments about American presidents and politicians as this, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. And he did evil in the sight of Jesus Christ. That would make those books spiritual, would it not?
But they don't do this. If the history book said, and he did not take away the abortion clinics, and he did not stand against homosexuality, and he did not assist Israel against nations who have demons for gods, he did not uphold the righteousness of the Bible, he did not believe in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, lived without sin, crucified, risen, and enthroned, and coming again. That would make our history book spiritual, but they don't do that. But our books of kings do, our books of history do, Joshua and Ezra and Nehemiah, all of them, all of the Old Testament, the prophetic books, the poetical books, the prophets, they all speak about the righteousness of God, the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and God's response to that.
And if it did not do that, there would be no such thing as Old Testament sacrifices, which God speaks to us from the Old Testament, telling us there is a sacrifice coming, not the blood of bulls and goats that will take away the sins of man. So from Samuel through Kings, we have the entire history of the Jewish monarchs, from Saul to Zedekiah. Under Solomon's rule, who we'll first come to in 1 Kings, Israel rose to the peak of her material glory.
It was her golden age. However, Solomon's zeal for God diminished in latter years, as most of us are aware. Pagan wives turned his heart away from intolerance towards fake gods. Well, what a lesson there is for us there, because Satan is still trying to get us to become more tolerant of anything that goes against God's Word. Just try to uphold the scripture in a church to give the teaching of God's Word center attention, and you will find people in that church dispatched from hell to interfere with the uninterrupted preaching of God's Word.
We should expect it, and we should be ready for it, and we should fight against it. We should be intolerant for those things that diminish God's Word. We can do that and still love.
We can do that and be kind. We can do that and be friendly, but we must do it instead of caving in all the time, giving in because we want people to attend the church. The only people a church should want to attend a church are the people the Holy Spirit is bringing there.
That's always been the case. And in the Old Testament, these people were to be circumcised, the men of course, in their hearts. All of them were to be circumcised. Men and women alike were to have upon their hearts this emblem of distinction that they believed in the God of Abraham and everything he said and did, as through Moses and the prophets. I love the Bible. I love God's Word.
It's not always been easy. Sometimes it's been very hard to love God's Word, because God's methods, his permissions don't always line up with my happiness, but by faith I still stand as a Christian man, as a believer. Key verse in this book of Kings, approaching them as one book, in the ninth chapter, the first seven verses of chapter nine, really lay it out. And it came to pass when Solomon had finished building the house of Yahweh and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he wanted to do, that Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time as he appeared to him at Gibeon. Yahweh said to him, I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before me.
I have consecrated this house which you have built to my name, there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually. Now if you walk before me, as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and my judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying you shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. But if you or your sons at all turn from following me and do not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I gave them, and this house which I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
Isn't that not powerful? God is saying, look, let me just be clear about this. Love me, serve me, and nobody else, and you will be blessed, and if you don't, these are the consequences.
And that's exactly what happened, the consequences. The blessings were here and there with the good kings, Josiah, Hezekiah, Josiah for example, but in the end, the people, they wanted something more from their god. They wanted something fake, something that people made up, something without a basis, and this is going on to this very day in humanity. Israel's kings were not to be like the kings of the other nations. Israel's kings was to write a copy, their own hand, of the law of Moses. Deuteronomy 17 lays this out for them. The two kingdoms of disobedient people grew indifferent to God's precepts and his prophets, making the northern and southern kingdom, which both eventually fell. And so for us, the lessons abound.
The United Kingdom under Solomon, the divided kingdom largely because of Solomon. There are lessons in that. There are lessons for parents, there are lessons for individual Christians, for pastors, for all of us. This first chapter, this is a long one. It's filled with palace intrigue and drama.
It opens on a low moral level. First Kings opens with the Hebrew nation in its glory, and Second Kings closes with the nation in ruin. And we get these warnings in this very first chapter, and we are to have the same approach to these things as did the prophets.
Everybody else may turn away from you, O Lord, not me. And that's why we applaud it so much when we hear Joshua make that great proclamation of faith, as for me and my house. Well, here in this first chapter, the ugly fruit of polygamy from the Eastern harems is the catalyst for all these problems, the jealousy and the bitter ambitions from such households. The Bible does not uphold polygamy. It condemns it. It just lays out the story and says, you be the judge because you can't be that stupid. Here are the facts. Here are the results.
What do you think? And yet there are still those fools that somehow try to justify it from the Bible. In this first chapter, we have David in his old age, Adonijah, David's eldest surviving son, setting himself up as king, Nathan and Bathsheba together, appealing to David to deal with him, Solomon then being anointed king, and Adonijah spared, and the story just continues. So that's the introduction to the kings. We look now at the first verse, Now King David was old, advanced in years, and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. Well, the title kings comes from that first, the second word, now King David.
That sets the pace for everything to come. He is 70 years old at this point, and circulatory comes. He was old and cold, and he just couldn't get his body temperature up. His faith was failing. He was frail, but not his mind.
I believe he has a sort of rebound towards the end where he gives Solomon instructions on the temple and kind of some key points about his own preparation for the temple and what God did for him, but at this point, in whatever season it is, he's struggling to stay warm. That's a sickness. I mean, it's painful. You just can't get warm. What can you do?
You're shivering all the time, teeth knocking up against each other. Verse 2, Therefore his servant said to him, Let a woman, let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him, and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm. These are likely his physicians, and they are very much concerned.
They are looking for a solution, and this is the one they came up with. This woman would be a nurse attendant for the king, and she would even be present with David during the king's court. That would make her privy to the business of the kingdom, so she had to be trustworthy, and as far as we know, she was.
I want to open this up because I like how it all turns out. It says here in verse 2, And let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm. Well, reading various writings about, ancient writings about these things, this was in harmony with current practices. Josephus, who lived in the days of the apostles, he writes about this very practice. Later, Galen, the Greek physician, about 130 years after the birth of Christ, he was born, and this was a practice that he did.
It continued into the Middle Ages, and so what I'm saying, this wasn't something that, you know, they just thought up. Evidently, the elderly who struggled with being cold. You know, we have a saying, a three dog night. That means it's so cold, you don't sleep with one of your sleigh dogs, you sleep with three of them to get that body heat, and that's what was going on with David. So, verse 3, So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shulamite, and brought her to the king.
Well, not just anyone would do. So they sought throughout the territory. Of all the maidens in Israel, it was Abishag to serve the king in this way. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 1 Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, or share it with someone you know, please visit CrossReferenceRadio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit CrossReferenceRadio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's CrossReferenceRadio.com. Our time with you today is about up, but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of 1 Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
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