OT: I Kings 12:20-13:34
Wow, so many questions.
First of all, why was Jeroboam so quick to turn away from God? I mean, I could see his hesitation in letting the people go up to Jerusalem, but did he have to then make golden calves? God had already told him that He was giving him the ten tribes. After such a direct word from God, why would he then turn away so easily? I guess that when it came down to it, Jeroboam must not have really believed that his fate was from God, or else He would have trusted Him a little more. As dumb as Jeroboam was, I can definitely see the application for myself. After all, I view everything as coming from God, and yet I still worry about losing things that are important to me. And sometimes, my desire for self-preservation causes me to compromise my beliefs, just like Jeroboam's desire to preserve his kingship caused him to compromise his beliefs on idolatry. By using that same reasoning, I might not buy as much for the food pantry, for example, because I'm worried about my budget for this month. Or I might not invite people over who really need love, b/c I'm worried that their kids will destroy my house. I might not get involved with people who desperately need some intervention, b/c I want to preserve my own peaceful existence. And I guess when I put my money, my possessions, or my peace ahead of what I feel God would want me to do, I am denying the fact that God gave me all of those things and am instead making idols out of them.
So I guess my question isn't so much about why Jeroboam is so dumb, as it is about why people are so dumb.
I had even more trouble with the man of God story. This guy obeys God, stands up to Jeroboam, intercedes for him to repair his withered hand, takes another big risk by refusing his invitation to eat and drink, and then is killed b/c another prophet lied to him???? And what was that other prophet thinking? Why did he lie? Why wasn't he punished? I just don't get it at all. The only shred of anything that I can take away is that getting intimately involved with God is dangerous business. In the OT, the slightest misstep could get you killed. In the NT, you were more likely to be killed by other people for being a Christian. Either way, being close to God in the Bible meant being a step away from death.
I guess it is a good thing that God teaches us to view death differently than the world does!
NT: Acts 9: 26-43
Case in point: After Paul debated with the Grecian Jews, they tried to kill him (29)! Paul basically spent his entire Christian life a step away from death, and in that sense, his life was just as perilous as the man of God's was in the OT. And it is not just that man of God. Being an OT prophet was dangerous business, as most of them could attest.
I was proud of Barnabas for taking a chance on a known murderer. Now, that's faith. And it doesn't even say that he had received a vision, like Ananias had in Damascus. Nope, it seems that Barnabas just went for it! I'm impressed.
And I always love the story of Dorcas, b/c it reminds me that we can share Christ's love with others by doing simple things. I can't work miracles (and frankly, I can't even sew, like Dorcas did), but I can cook meals for people. I can give them my time and resources. And so I can make an impact even without apostolic power. It's always a good reminder.
Psalm 132: 1-18
I honestly didn't "get" a lot of this psalm. And I'm okay with that. I'm just going to let it be about David and not worry too much about it:).
I loved part b of this proverb: "parents are the pride of their children." That is the reverse of what you usually here, but it is so true in my case. I am bursting with pride for my parents. Reading the story of Dorcas today reminded me of my mom. I don't mean to brag or compare, but I bet that by the time she dies, she will have sewed and quilted more things for other people than Dorcas did:). Hundreds of people could probably show diaper bags, quilts, baby clothes, and so on that she has made for them. And my dad is just as generous, always helping people and giving of his time and money. They are both such amazing servants, and I am definitely so incredibly proud of them.