December 5, 2014
1 Kings 16:29-31
In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
1 Kings 18:15-21
Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summonthe people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
Joseph: Good morning Mary. I think I’ll take over the storytelling today. We’ve only got a couple of days until we get to Jerusalem and at the rate we are going it will be Christmas before we’re done.
Mary: Christmas? What is that?
Joseph: Uh, I’m not sure where that came from.
Mary: So remember where we left off? We went from Moses and the enslavement of Israel in Egypt to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. All in all 40 year trip.
Joseph: Ok, so today let’s talk about the Kings and Prophets of Israel.
Mary: Ok, my favorite King and Prophet story is the one about King Ahab and Elijah and that wicked witch of the west, Jezebel.
Joseph: Let’s remember who is who in these stories. In those days there were priests who spoke to God for the people. There were Prophets who spoke to the people for God. Then there were the Kings whose job it was to humbly rule the people with the very justice and mercy of God. They were supposed to lead the nation to worship and serve the one and only true God.
Mary: What I remember most is how a King’s reign was summed up in the Bible in just a few words.
Joseph: Yep. A King either got a thumbs up or a thumbs down and it came down to this question. Did they do what was right in the eyes of the Lord or did they do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
Mary: Right. Even more specific, it came down to did they worship and lead the people to worship the true God or Baal or some other false god.
Joseph: When Kings were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, God would send a Prophet to confront them and call them back to God. Evil Kings hated God’s prophets.
Mary: But wasn’t a Prophet God’s way of giving the King a second chance?
Joseph: You’re right Mary and sometimes a third and fourth chance.
Mary: So why did all those Kings of Israel turn to other gods to care for them?
Joseph: Great question. It all comes back to trust. They did not trust the one true God. Remember, where trust fails everything falls.
Mary: I’m beginning to see a theme.
Joseph: Israel had quite a few Kings over the years, beginning with Saul, and they mostly did evil in the sight of the Lord. But do you remember God’s favorite King?
Mary: Please Joe. Don’t insult me. Everyone knows that was King David. God said of David that he was a man after God’s own heart.
Joseph: OMG!!! (Oh My Goodness), Mary! It just hit me. What was it that the Angel said to you about David.
Mary: O.K., I tried to memorize it. He said, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Wow Joseph! I heard it at the time but it’s hitting me even harder now. This baby will be born a King! And we are headed to the city of David.
Joseph: Mary, do you remember when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant, the dwelling place of God, into the city of Jerusalem? We are on that same road, Mary. Mary, do you get what this means?
Mary: It’s like we are the Ark of the Covenant. . . . Joseph. . . . We . . . . are. . . . . . carrying.. . . . . . God! And we are riding on a donkey.
Joseph: That’s heavy stuff, Mary. We need to pray.
Mary: Agreed. Stop the donkey!
Note to Parents and Leaders: Tomorrow we will deal with the consequences of the failure of Israel’s Kings: Exile. I want you to ponder all these connections. I want you to marvel at the way this story holds together with such intricacy. You’ve probably already made the connection between that donkey carrying Mary carrying Jesus and the donkey who will later carry Jesus into the city of Jerusalem– David’s throne. No wonder we call him the King of Kings. God is resetting the storyline not by throwing out the past but by reincorporating it, bringing it all to fulfillment in Jesus. He does the same with our lives. He resets the storyline of our lives not by throwing out our past but by redeeming it, bringing it all to fulfillment in Jesus. Amazing Grace.
These connections are probably difficult for children to make. What’s most important is your making them– for yourself. This is the stuff of God. This is the heart of worship. Treasure these things and ponder them in your heart.
PEOPLE GET READY! JESUS IS COMING!
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