Discover His heart: He looks for repentant and obedient hearts
I was one of those nerds in high school and college who actually read the history textbooks. I love history. I especially enjoy exploring the ruling families and dynasties from the past. God allowed me the privilege of living in Austria for a few weeks, home of the Habsburgs. This family controlled much of Europe from the 12th century through to the early 20th century, and its history is fascinating.
While many rulers have overthrown countries through wars and bloodshed, the Habsburgs had a different strategy – just marry them! Their children were farmed out to all of Europe ruling families over centuries, alliances were made, and the Habsburg footprint remains today in much of Europe’s ruling families. However, they were not the originators of this strategy. Solomon used this approach in keeping peaceful alliances with his neighbors, but unfortunately, it did not serve him well. (June 13 @ I Kings 10-13) Anytime we sacrifice Godly principles to achieve earthly gain, disappointment is in our future.
@ 2 Chronicles 7
Things had been going exceptionally well for Solomon early in his reign. He had just completed the building of the Temple and called together the entire community as he offered a beautiful prayer to the Lord. God’s response was a flash of fire to burn up the sacrifices, and then His glorious presence filled the Temple. A lavish festival followed over the next seven days with animal sacrificing, singing and dancing unto the Lord. There was joy in the land.
Later when Solomon was alone, God visited him with an amazing promise, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (12-14)
God had accepted Solomon’s prayer, yet His response included a caution. God may allow difficult times to come when His people turn away from Him, but if they repent and turn back to Him, He forgives and brings restoration. God is merciful.
Sadly, Solomon’s response over the next few years to God’s offer was to disobey Him by marrying pagan women from other countries to protect Israel through these alliances. God really didn’t need Solomon’s help to protect Israel through godless marriages. Instead of protection, Solomon ushered in the very thing that would one day destroy Israel – idol worship! Although some of the kings had momentary periods of repentance, Israel never completely turned its heart back to God.
We won’t save ourselves or our country by engaging in alliances, no matter how good they may seem or how well-intentioned we may be, if those alliances take the place of obedience to His laws and trust in His ability to protect us. Should we falter in this, then humble repentance and seeking His face is what He is looking for. “If my people…”
The help God does want from us is the advice He gave to Solomon, “If you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty.” (17-18) In response to our humble obedience to Him, God’s hand is free to provide personal security for our homes and families and national security for our country. We need Him more today than ever before.
Moving Forward: Today I reject any godless solutions to problems that may seem right, and submit in obedience to Him and His divine guidance and protection.
Tomorrow @ Psalms 114-116