How can we hear God’s voice?

Here’s an overdue post that didn’t fit in last week–hope that’s OK.

There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Kings 19

Simple thought: If God doesn’t come to Elijah in a quake, a fire, or a rushing wind, but rather in a whisper, how can we expect to hear him now? If we are constantly surrounded by noise–a constant stream of hurry, tasks, to-dos, and other things–would we even notice a whisper? Would it even register on our radar?

If God speaks in whispers we have to be attentive to his voice, seeking it out among the noise.

Golden Calves of Jeroboam, 1 Kings 12

One of the sins that stood out to me among the rest was when Jeroboam made the two idols to replace the worship of God in 1 Kings 12. He cast two golden calves and if that wasn’t enough, the way he introduces them to the people is a great offense to the name of God.

If you’ve noticed through reading the Old Testament there are a couple of ways that God is frequently named. One is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the other is a reference to one of the defining moments in the history of God’s people. God is the one who delivered his people out of Egypt.

Setting up one golden calf worked so well for Aaron that Jeroboam thought he’d double the number of idols for even better results.

Jeroboam is fearful that if the people worship the true God at Jerusalem that they will turn from him and that he will lose his power. He cares more for his own security than the honor of God and he will do anything to keep it that way, even offending God with some divine identity theft.

And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

1 Kings 12:26-29

Jeroboam makes dead idols to build up his power, to steal Israel’s worship from God, and he then takes the truth of God and projects it onto two calves of gold.* The truth is that their God, Yahweh, is the one who with his mighty hand delivered the people from Egypt. If not for God’s choosing of Israel there would be no land for Jeroboam to rule. God is the one who has won for his people the victory and built them up into a nation to rival any in the land. But in a selfish play for power Jeroboam will turn from truth and instead ascribe God’s work to idols, and seek to bring Israel to worship them.

He is not only sinning against God by turning away from him, he is offending God’s name by saying these idols are the redeemers of Israel, and then he leads his nation into this sin. Those who have such influence are held accountable and this sin does not go unnoticed.

*Taking a page out of Aaron’s playbook in Exodus 32.

Solomon’s Temple

Solomon’s Temple is given great attention in our readings this week. As I write that it looks a bit wrong to call it Solomon’s Temple. It’s not his. He had it built, but we don’t always name a building after its architect or patron. It was for God.
Anyway–that’s what it is known as and I thought y’all might like to see some artist’s renditions to get a sense of what it may have looked like.

Enjoy. (My favorite is the second one. Be sure to click on it and read all the extra info!)

Interestingly, an Isaac Newton sketch of the temple

Click to see enlarged version (ESV Study Bible Illustration – another good example of why study Bible’s are great!)

And here is a video that is another interpretation (and the only one I found with such a tall front to the building–not sure how they did that math… but still interesting 3D look into things).

Solomon built resentment along with the his other building projects

The Brick Testament’s rendition of Solomon’s Palace (click for source)

Since we have so much to read this week I want to make sure to at least give some helpful, short posts as I’m reading through 1 & 2 Kings.

In 1 Kings 5:13 we see forced labor being drafted by King Solomon for his building projects, which I believe are more than just the temple. It is an interesting thing to read of in regards to a man who has just been described as exceedingly wise and just. Even though these laborers produce some fine work for Israel, when we continue on in our reading you’ll see another result. Just read chapter 12 to find out how Israel felt about the burden that was placed upon them. They end up rebelling because their next king, rather than giving them relief, increases their burden.

Solomon’s extensive building and harsh demands on the people primed them for rebellion.

Short Intro to 1 Kings

Welcome to a week of hanging out with the kings of Israel, and then the kings over a divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. We come to 1 Kings to hear more about David and Solomon, who we last read of in 2 Samuel. So while we have followed the story of God’s people through the prophets, we return to see how things progress from Solomon in a more narrative style.

It is a story with lots of kings, the building of a temple, and more prophets taking a stand. It reaches from the end of David to the Babylonian exile we’ve recently read about. Keep in mind something I’ve mentioned before–just because it occurs in the Bible it doesn’t mean it is right. The kings that we’ll read of aren’t all great leaders and followers of God. But that should come as no surprise because again, we’ve already read most of the prophets.

For further introduction: 1 Kings – Bible.org