Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read 1 Kings 11:1-8 (Monday 5.8)
It’s very easy for me to read about Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines and say, “Good thing I don’t have that temptation!” and continue on our merry way. But as I was reading this passage, I got stuck on the wording of God’s instructions. “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn your heart after their gods.” We may not be faced with Solomon’s exact dilemma here- when was the last time you had trouble resisting marrying 1000 pagan princesses? But we do have other things that take our focus and our attention from God. I can easily think of three to five things that sometimes get in the way of my relationship with God. It’s very easy for me to read those instructions and change the wording slightly to reflect how God feels about some of the things I give my attention to. Don’t listen to those songs, for surely they will turn your heart after other things. Don’t get hung up on your bank balance and worship money, for surely it will turn your heart after other things. Our choices have consequences- maybe not on as large a scale as Solomon’s, which impacted a whole nation of people, but in our personal lives for sure. And, as Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books said, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” We can preach good sermons and write good reflections and know all the books of the Bible backwards and forwards, but if we still pursue things that draw us away from God, that reflects on who we are more than how we present ourselves. We may even think that our choices are hidden, and no one else has to know about them, but we know that God does. We will still choose things that are detrimental to us and our relationship with God, but the beauty of the cross is that we keep getting second chances to make better choices.
Reflection Questions: What are some things that take away from your relationship with God? When you pray, acknowledge them and ask God to help you overcome them. Consciously think about some of the choices you make today and how they impact you in this way.
1 Kings 19: 9-18 (Friday 5.12)
This passage has always intrigued me, and it has struck me a different way each time I read it. I imagine Elijah in this cave, knowing that someone is trying to kill him, and frustrated by the lack of faith of the people he is trying to help. And this is just after a great display of the Lord’s might (1 Kings 18:20-40) that was so clearly demonstrated for all to see. Let’s compare the two acts of God that we read about here. The first, in chapter 18, is a public display of God’s might. In a challenge issued to the priests of Baal, a false god, Elijah suggested that they call upon their respective gods to light a fire. Baal’s priests (450 vs. 1 Elijah) try everything they can think of to ask Baal to prove them right. Nada. Then Elijah doesn’t just ask God to light this fire for him, he even douses the wood with four jugs worth of water. Not even a really good Boy Scout could light that up. Yet God does it with ease when Elijah calls on his name. And still, the spiritual war against Baal and his priests and the people in power who hold this god above the true Lord is an uphill battle. If I were Elijah, I’d be pretty frustrated. So here Elijah sits in this cave, still grieving the lack of faith from the people of Israel. God shows up again for Elijah, in a very different display. Elijah experiences a strong wind, an earthquake, and an intense fire, but scripture says that the Lord was not in any of these. Instead, the Lord is in a small whisper that comes after the fire. I like to think that after all of these intense things, this small whisper brought with it a strong sense of peace. Sometimes we forget that not only can God do great, extraordinary things, He is also with us in mundane moments. God is our fierce warrior, but He is also our gentle comforter.
Reflection Questions: Are you actively listening for the gentle whispers from God? Will you allow him to impact you in a gentle and maybe unexpected way?
Reflections written by Lauren Devries