Sermons by Jeff Butler (Page 22)
God brings the Jews back to Jerusalem. The return starts off well because they obeyed immediately, stayed together, and made worship a priority. Later, they were sidetracked and faced with opposition, but God got them back on track.
From Daniel, we learn that God uses exile to separate us from our past and from temptation; to help us to start over; to give us a new perspective; to rely on God instead of people and things; to give us a new sense of hope and identity.
God will not tolerate a wicked nation indefinitely. God’s people in the Promised Land were now even more evil than the Canaanites had been. Even though it seems as if hope is dead, the Lord can breathe new life into dry bones.
God’s patience with Israel is spent; the northern kingdom falls to the Assyrian Empire, never to rise again. In Isaiah’s prophecy, we see the clearest witness to the coming Messiah.
Under the leadership of Ahab and Jezebel, Israel is gripped by idolatry and greed. God sends prophets to call Israel to repent, but they are largely ignored. The power of God wins every time.
Following Solomon’s rule, the divided kingdoms were marked by unfaithfulness to the Lord and nationalized idolatry, with righteous kings being the exception. Only the Lord’s continuing regard for the house of David kept his hand of judgment from falling on them.
Solomon’s wisdom was a gift from God. Israel prospered through Solomon’s leadership. His many foreign wives led him away from God and into idolatry, costing him the kingdom.
David was a good king, but he was not sinless. His sin, like our sin, caused broken fellowship with God. When confronted, he did confess and repent, which helped to repair his relationship with God. We can limit our sin by staying satisfied in the Lord.
David’s life teaches us many valuable lessons. First, God looks at our heart while people look at our external appearance. Second, to overcome problems, we should focus not on the problem or ourselves, but on God.
In 1 Samuel 1-15, the Israelites wanted a king and rejected God. God gave them what they wanted and Saul ruled over them. Ultimately, Saul’s leadership enslaved and failed them. The lesson is that we should let God be the king of our lives.