Studies

The Man of God Rebukes Jeroboam

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Kings of Israel #6

“The Man of God Rebukes Jeroboam”

Key Verses: 1Ki 13:1-10

In the next two studies, we will cover the “man of God” who is sent by the Lord to rebuke Jeroboam and prophesy coming doom to his idolatrous altars and priests.  The second part is a more familiar story that deals primarily with this prophet from Judah himself being deceived by a false prophet and thereby disobeying the Lord’s commandments. This “man of God” story like all these history lessons are there to admonish (1Co 10:11) and help us as we are making the transition from the man of sin (Jeroboam) to the man of God (Christ).  Until this is settled in our hearts we remain unstable and are tossed by many winds of doctrine.

1Ki 18:21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him…

Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Here are our verses we will cover in today’s study.

1Ki 13:1  And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 

1Ki 13:2  And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. 

1Ki 13:3  And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. 

1Ki 13:4  And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. 

1Ki 13:5  The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 

1Ki 13:6  And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again and became as it was before. 

1Ki 13:7  And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. 

1Ki 13:8  And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: 

1Ki 13:9  For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. 

1Ki 13:10  So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. 

The man of God sent from Judah is in New Testament terms, a preacher sent to speak the gospel (truth) to those being prepared to hear it.  Inwardly, this is our new man confronting our old man and speaking the Word that comes against our abominable acts which lead to the destruction of our old man.

Jer 5:14  Therefore thus hath the LORD God of the hosts said: Because ye have spoken this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

The prophecy on the destruction of the altars of Bethel has a second witness in Amos which was still over 100 years future in its outward fulfillment.   The power (horns) of our idolatry, the carnal mind, will be cut off from Israel.

Amo 3:14  That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.

This story is inwardly being fulfilled as we grow and mature in the Truth and our double-mindedness is revealed, rebuked and then brought into unity with Christ.  When the Word is spoken and heard, that Word always points to Christ and His bringing in of salvation.  Our man of sin is being destroyed by the working of the Word spoken by the Lord’s sent preachers (Rom 10:14-15).  This is how our unbelief is turned into belief, little by little.

2Ti 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Rev 3:19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The prophet speaks against Jeroboam’s worship and specifically the two altars in Bethel and Dan where golden calves were set and offerings made to them in the Name of the Lord.  We covered the last study that these calves and the altars where they were placed was all about SELF-worship and claiming the Name of God yet doing things our way.  The prayers of our old man are the incense offered upon this altar which is rejected and a stench to the Lord.

Pro 28:9  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Joh 9:31  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

As those in Truth now know, this is a long process to be converted rather than a onetime sinner’s prayer to be delivered our worship of self and worldly fornication.  The man of God prophesies of a child, named Josiah, who would be born many years later that would clean up the worship and destroy the abominable altars of Israel.

Synopsis of King Josiah:  The Word is prophesying to the coming of Christ to every man in the appointed time.  Josiah was a major reformer of worship in Israel and is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ who was also a reformer (Heb 9:10) as both were born and raised up by God and put on the throne of Israel.  Josiah, after rediscovering the law (2Ki 23:2) that had been lost, began to institute worship reforms and cleansed the temples and made right the worship and sacrifices that had been forgotten. Those are the very things Christ had done and is doing in the hearts and minds of His elect in every age (Joh 2:14-19).  We will cover those details when we get to king Josiah much later in this study series.  Josiah was the most righteous king ever to sit on the throne before the coming of the One True King.

2Ki 23:25  Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 

King Josiah comes onto the scene approximately 300 years after the man of God’s prophecy, thus fulfilling it outwardly.  We fulfill the Word of God and this prophecy INWARDLY now in this age when the Lord begins to raise up Christ (the new man) on the throne of His Temple (1Co 3:16) and we begin to rule over our flesh.  Josiah was only eight years old when made the king and is drawn towards the Lord and the needed reformations in the 8th year of his reign.  These witnesses of the number eight symbolize the new man rising forth.

2Ch 34:3  For in the eighth year of Josiah’s reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.

The burning of men’s bones refers to the burning up of all the lies and false doctrines which hold up the carnal world and holds them all in bondage.  Bones are another symbol for doctrines and a good Rom 1:20 application. What holds up a physical body and gives it form and strength is also what holds up a spiritual body.  The Body (the woman) is made from and held up by the bones of Christ who is also the first Adam.

Gen 2:23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

The doctrines of Christ are the Scriptures which cannot ever be broken.

Joh 10:35  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 

Joh 19:36  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 

It is when these carnal bones are burned on the altar that the house of the old man will collapse and will never rise again.  Burning the bones in fire is casting out the lies and false doctrines, the very thing which brings salvation.   The father of lies and all his many demons (false spirits/doctrines) are cast out.

Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

Rev 12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven…

The bones of Christ are never broken, and no fire can ever harm them (Dan 3:27).  We now read the fulfillment of this prophecy when Josiah instituted reforms in Israel.  The idols were removed and replaced by the bones of men, meaning we give up our lives as a living sacrifice dying daily (Gal 2:20) with the Lord.

Josiah’s fulfillment of Prophecy:

2Ki 23:14 NKJV  And he (Josiah) broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.

2Ki 23:15  Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image.

2Ki 23:16  As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

2Ki 23:20  He executed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned men’s bones on them; and he returned to Jerusalem.

Upon hearing this prophesy spoken against him, Jeroboam, like our rebellious old man, will seek to stay the rebuke and judgment against our ungodly ways

1Ki 13:4  And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam HEARD the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. 

1Ki 13:5  The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 

1Ki 13:6  And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. 

The Lord ordained that Jeroboam heard the man of God’s words that cried against his altar.  When the Word of God goes forth, it is being spiritually heard which means it is understood.  Then it begins to work its work in its hearers.

Eze 12:25  For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.

Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Jeroboam’s reaction is our man of sin’s reaction to the words of Christ which come against us and touch our idols.  Flesh naturally wants to silence those that oppose our beast to continue to justify ourselves.  Yet the Lord will take away even the little bit of spirituality we have in drying up (withering) our works and ensuring we stagnate. The rebuke of our carnal and dead works is the sun (Christ) rising upon our earth.  This is what begins to draw us away from the flesh and towards faith.  To be raised from the dead we must first fall to the ground and die.

Mat 13:6  And when the sun (Christ) was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Mar 11:21  And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

All men are resurrected from the valley of dry bones where all of our works are first withered, and no sustenance of spiritual life is found (Eze 37:1-4).

The word for ashes in this story is not the primary Hebrew word for ashes as used in Scripture.  The word here is H1880 which comes from a root word meaning fat and is as often translated as fatness versus ashes.

H1880, deshen

Total KJV Occurrences: 15

ashes, 8

Lev_1:16, Lev_4:12 (2), Lev_6:10-11 (2), 1Ki_13:3, 1Ki_13:5, Jer_31:40

fatness, 7

Jdg_9:9, Job_36:16, Psa_36:8, Psa_63:5, Psa_65:11, Isa_55:2, Jer_31:14

The residue of our offerings to the Lord when we are under the law for the lawless is our spiritual fatness in the negative sense.   The residue of idolatrous sacrifices to the Lord are the ashes that we look to in justifying ourselves before the Word is sent and begins rebuking us.  We don’t know what we don’t know when we are deceived of the Lord and feeding on the ashes of our idolatry of self.

Isa 44:17  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

Isa 44:20  He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Signs are not for believers but unbelievers (1Co 14:23).  This rending of the altar and pouring out the ashes was a physical sign to Jeroboam and our old man in our appointed time.  A time will come when we hear the Word and our self-worship is rebuked and henceforth fails to bring forth any fruit but only death (the wages of our sin).  Mighty signs and wonders are very convincing in the short term but do little to manifest true and lasting repentance.  The Word of God brings rebuke that destroys the strength of our flesh and dries up the food that sustains our old man and religious beast’s (Rev 13:11) existence.  This event is part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ where our hearing of the Word first wounds one of our seven heads, but then that wound is quickly healed and we carry on being a beast and the man of sin that Jeroboam represents.

Rev 13:3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Jeroboam’s afflicted hand brings seeming repentance but that is short lived as the flesh cannot help but be flesh and it is appointed for destruction (1Co 15:50).

1Ki 13:33  After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

1Ki 13:34  And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

As the Lord’s prophets, ministers and kings in the making, we are to give to all who ask of us even those outside the covenant of faith.  Men of God are not to pray for the world in general (Joh 17:9, Jer 11:14).  However, the sum of the Word that is Truth (Psa 119:160), teaches us that when specifically asked to pray for anyone, we need to be Christ and answer that petition.

Mat 5:42  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Righteous prayers are integral to deliverance and conversion from our sinful ways.

Jas 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Mar 9:29  And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

With his hand restored, Jeroboam seeks to make friends with the prophet and reward him for his actions.

1Ki 13:7  And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. 

1Ki 13:8  And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: 

1Ki 13:9  For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. 

1Ki 13:10  So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel

Our final verses speak more to the lessons our new man from Judah is learning rather than to our old man Jeroboam.  The Northern Kingdom is Samaria and while Christ “must go through Samaria”, we also know that our mission field is only those the Lord is preparing to be found and judged in this age.

Mat 10:5  These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Mat 10:6  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Our old man is always seeking to save his life and stave off its own destruction.  Flesh will naturally want to bring Christ and his physical blessings into our household and continue on with business as usual.  This is what we all do in our time in the Orthodox churches of men and also in our time in spiritual Babylon.  The real Christ and His more mature messengers avoid such situations in getting entangled with carnal people and the affairs of the world.

The people of God work out of duty having been purchased by the Lord and now becoming His unworthy servants.  We are never to ask for nor take rewards for what is our reasonable service to our fellow man, all of whom are Christ in the making (Mat 25:40).

Mat 10:8  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 

Luk 17:10  So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. 

The Lord sustains his prophets and provides all the food, drink and rest that we need.  We are not to look to the world for our sufficiency in these things, be they physical or spiritual.

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We have an obedient man of God who rightly rejects the offer of Jeroboam and honors the commandments given to him by the Lord.  Those following Christ go forward, they go straight and do not turn back, remembering Lot’s wife.

Luk 9:62  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Eze 1:12  And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.

Another command of the Lord is the commandment to not eat and drink spiritually speaking with those outside of faith such as Jeroboam.  We have to be discerning as prophets and know when to speak and when not to speak ensuring we are ministering to the lost house of Israel (Psa 10:17, Mat 10:6).

2Jn 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

2Jn 1:10  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

2Jn 1:11  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Those led by the flesh (Jeroboam’s) are spiritual fornicators with whom God’s people are not to keep company and not to be actively discussing spiritual matters.

1Co 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

1Co 5:10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

1Co 5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Jeroboam did not hold to the prophet’s rebuke and he continued on with his evil abominations.  The Lord is not going to save the old man, he is using his evil acts to give the occasion to bring judgment to us in the appointed time and thereby teach us His right ways.

Jeroboam’s house will soon enough be destroyed as we move forward with the next king of the Northern Kingdom.  It is at the end of our judgment process when the false altars and listening to false prophets will come to an end.  Josiah (Christ) will come onto the scene 300 years later and the false prophets and their lies within us all will be consumed by the fire of the Word thus fulfilling the man of God’s prophecy.

Act 3:22  For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

Act 3:23  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 

The man of God was obedient in his initial assignment in passing this test and performing what the Lord had demanded.  But as we know, we are being saved and being made righteous (AORIST TENSE) and there will be many failures as we are being made complete in Christ.

Pro 24:16  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Next week, we will look at the second part of the story about the Man of God.  We will see his obedience turn into disobedience because of his immaturity and failure to strictly adhere to the Lord’s commands.

 

 

Studies

Rehoboam’s Submission to Egypt

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Discussion Below: 

Kings of Israel #4

Rehoboam’s Evil and Submission to Egypt

Key Verses:  2Ch 11:18-23 and 2Ch 12:1-16

We pick up from where we ended last time in Chronicles and we are told of Rehoboam’s family history and his actions in grooming one of his sons to be his successor.

 2Ch 11:18  And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;

2Ch 11:19  Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.

2Ch 11:20  And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.

2Ch 11:21  And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)

At this stage of a king, the first in a divided Israel, we are immature as even Rehoboam’s son tells us later (2Ch 13:7).  As we advance we can look back and see the Lord’s hand and purpose in working all seasons of our life, including our immaturity and taking many wives and concubines.  Spiritually Rehoboam’s life is part of our journey as we keep searching for the Truth and the one true wife that is the Body of Christ.  We don’t find it on our own initiative as we eventually realize.

Rom 10:20  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Rehoboam is conflicted, meaning we are conflicted, in taking many spiritual wives and having many children in our search for the truth.  Our spiritual wives represent churches in Scripture and specifically with whom we have relations in raising up seed to extend our life.  Our spiritual sons and daughters are the emerging mindsets as we grow in the faith as we are learning (is, was and will be) to rule the Kingdom of God within us.

These numbers cited all have significance in Rehoboam’s life and this season of our maturity.  The quantities of wives and concubines are all derived from some factoring with the number six which is the number of mankind and speaking of our flesh.  It is the process of our spiritual completion (the number 3) applied against the number of mankind (6) that represents the many wives we are progressing to be made whole in Christ.  Concubines represent our straying from faith to satisfy our flesh (6) in the pursuit of our own perfection (the number 10), hence Rehoboam and we have sixty spiritual concubines at this stage.

Sons as males represent the doctrines and daughters as females represent the overcoming, the doing part of our maturing.  It is through 28 sons we are being made mature with four symbolizing the whole and the number seven our completion.  We get to 28 also by taking our witness for Christ (two) times 14 which stands for our spiritual progression.

Just three of the eighteen wives and sixty concubines are named in Rehoboam’s story.  We see the process of our maturing through the number three and its multiples in Scripture.  That process is Egypt, Babylon and Christ in general and these three named wives symbolize that process when we look deeper into their meaning.

Mahalath, means sickness, and originally in Scripture was the daughter of Ishmael (Gen 28:9) being a representation of us being first married to our flesh.

Abihail, meaning “my father is might”, was the daughter of Eliab who was the outwardly beautiful, handsome son of Jesse that was not the one chosen to be anointed the king. It was from this story of Eliab (the brother of David and firstborn of Jesse) that we are taught this valuable spiritual lesson.

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

We first get seduced and fall in love with the outward beauty and righteousness and snared in Babylon waiting to be dragged out (Rev 18:4).

Maachah, is the third named wife whose name means oppression/depression.  It is through the vexing and oppression of our carnal ways that we are dragged to Christ and kept there by the power of God.  We love the Body of Christ, our true spiritual wife most yet this same loved wife is the source of vexation and oppression of our old man (1Pe 4:17, Jer 5:14).

Rehoboam, who is a representation of the new man growing into truth, loves Maachah more than the other wives.  This is because the oppression aka torments we are living through is the very thing that is saving us little by little (Rev 14:10, 2Co 4:8, etc.).  Abijah, the son of the wife he loved most, is the favorite of Rehoboam and is exalted above the others and groomed to be the successor king.

2Ch 11:22  And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.

2Ch 11:23  And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.

Like his father Solomon, Rehoboam was wise (because we have Truth) and showed understanding by putting his children into all the territory of his kingdom to protect it.  Also, like Solomon, the desires for many wives and women (think not being content with what we have been given or where we are in the Spirit) led him astray in seeking greater gain.

1Ti 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

1Ti 6:9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

But as learn in our own time, the focus of self-preservation and strengthening ourselves leads to all kinds of evil and lapses in sound judgment.  The Lord sends His sword to bring about a change of heart and growth in our maturity.

2Ch 12:1  And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. 

2Ch 12:2  And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD, 

2Ch 12:3  With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians. 

2Ch 12:4  And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem. 

2Ch 12:5  Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak. 

We don’t see all the negative acts of Rehoboam in Chronicles.  We need to go over to Kings wherein Israel’s version we find the details of what Rehoboam’s and Judah’s forsaking the Lord entailed.

1Ki 14:22  And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.

1Ki 14:23  For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

1Ki 14:24  And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Self-worship and trusting in ourselves is spiritual sodomy and idolatry that we engage in that is forbidden and bears no fruit or increase for the Lord.  Our unfaithfulness brings the wrath of a jealous God to bring us back to Himself.

Col 3:5  Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 
Col 3:6  Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
Col 3:7  in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

Our escape and repentance from such evil will be brought about using the wicked nations within us.  We saw the Egyptian king, Shishak, in Part 1 of this series as he hosted Jeroboam when he fled from Solomon’s wrath.  This king is our worldliness, the mindset and spirit we are struggling with and separating from after we come into the truth.

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Shishak coming to conquer the kingdom for a season is part of all things the Lord is working (Eph 1:11) and is the Lord causing us to err from His ways (Isa 63:17).  Yes, even our worldliness and getting engaged with the world (1Joh 2:15) is His work in us (Php 2:13).

It was prophesied when Solomon’s temple was dedicated that if Israel turned away and served other gods the Lord would forsake them and bring much evil upon Israel (2Ch 7:16-22).  That is now being lived out and coming to roost in the reign of Rehoboam for the sins of our prior mindset.  The macro truth is the Lord will NEVER leave us or forsake His elect which is the faith in which we are learning to stand on despite the evil we still contend with.

Heb 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

But it is true, that part of chastening grace is scourging (Heb 12:6) and teaching us (Isa 26:9, Tit 2:11) and the Lord is seemingly leaving us but in truth, He is turning us over to heathen spirits.

2Ch 15:2  And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 

In response to our disobedience, the Lord is raising up Egypt and its helpers (turning us over to the lusts of our flesh) to humble us and give the occasion for Him to bring more judgment and grace upon us (Jer 46:7-46:9).  This evil all works for the greater good as many Scriptures attest (Jer 2:19, Rom 8:28), which brings us back to the Lord in repentance (Psa 90:3) and which leads to our salvation.  As we grow in faith and abide in the heat of our trials, we can then answer like Paul from a mature mindset that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:35).

Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Rom 8:39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The scourging of the Lord upon Rehoboam begins in the 5th year of his reign signifying the grace of God being poured out.  Shishak was the host and place of refuge for our divided half (Jeroboam) and where we mentally go when trying to preserve our life in the flesh and escape our trials and judgment (1Ki 11:40).  Shishak invaded Judah with a massive army that took tremendous physical power and to move across rivers and cross a harsh desert.  We all fall for the power of our flesh that is strong when we are a young king in the spirit and immature. The fact there are twelve hundred (1,2oo) of these chariots and 60,000 horsemen like all numbers convey understanding once we apply the symbolism that the sum of the Word conveys to those given ears to hear.  These 1,200 chariots are the lies and false doctrines of the world that have us believing we have power and can do what we will outside the control of God.  This is the foundation (12) upon which the worldly mindset is based by which we all first seek to perfect ourselves in our witness for Christ (12 x 10 x 10).

These chariots are ridden by 60,000 horsemen (flesh and carnal mindsets) that sit in the chariots of lies all being pulled by the Egyptian horses which here in the negative (Heb 4:11) signify the power and strength of the flesh.   These fleshly horses, chariots and our carnal mind are being overcome and destroyed at the appointed time in our maturation process as our baptism with fire progresses.

Psa 147:10  He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

Jos 11:6  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.

The people that came with Shishak and the chariot army were said to be without number; reminding us again just how strong and pervasive our flesh is and how it is impossible in our own strength to overcome the world (John 16:33).

We are given some interesting detail of three types of people included, the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.  Ezekiel 30 speaks more of the interplay of these aligned nations that are used to oppress us and help keep us ensnared by the bondage to the world.

Eze 30:8  And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed.

As a type of Babylon, we get some religion (Rev 13:11) and learn to handle swords, hold shields and wear helmets, yet our beastly head wound heals quickly (Rev 13:3).  We continue being driven by Egyptian horses and chariots in the first half of our witness for Christ.  As we have recently studied, it is thru the Lord’s battle ax, the Body of Christ (the fire), that these Egyptian horses and chariots will be destroyed.

Jer 51:21  And with thee (My Battle Ax) will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;

The worldly mindset and spirit are being destroyed by the coming of Christ in our day of the Lord.  These helpers of Egypt are part of what Gog symbolizes who will be turned back and dragged to the fire that will save them.

Eze 38:3  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Eze 38:4  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

Eze 38:5  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

It takes many generations for us to mature beyond engaging with these heathen nations that get their power and influence from Egypt which is the world.  Let’s look further at the details that Chronicles gives us of the Egyptian invasion.

2Ch 12:6  Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous. 

2Ch 12:7  And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 

Grace and judgment are the fiery trials the Lord puts us through which are done to humble us and bring us to repent of our carnal and worldly mindset.  The Lord is doing this scourging, so we will stop our disobedience and return to Him.

2Ch 7:14  If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land

1Pe 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

We see this humility and deliverance from these armies in the story of king Asa, Rehoboam’s grandson, when we study this in the weeks ahead, Lord willing.

2Ch 16:8  NKJV Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand.

The Lord’s chastening is not to destroy us but instead to teach us the His ways which is righteousness and our aim as we follow the Lord.

Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he (The Lord) for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 

The Egyptian invasion accomplishes the Lord’s purposes and Rehoboam and the people of Judah humble themselves before the Lord.  Dominion and freedom from our inward enemies comes little by little and the Lord purposefully keeps these inward enemies in the promised land (Jos 15:63, Jdg 1:28-32) as a thorn in our flesh to keep us humble.  We will always need to strive against and resist the nature of our beast.

2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

At first like an immature Rehoboam, we fall and the treasures of the temple are taken.

2Ch 12:8  Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. 

2Ch 12:9  So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made. 

Judah moves forward in its divided history in servitude to king Shishak who is part of the Lord’s sword in working righteousness in us.  This servitude to our own flesh will be used to drag us closer to the Lord and cry out for even further deliverance from the man of sin.

Psa 17:13  Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 

Psa 17:14  From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

When the king of Egypt within us has taken all the treasures of the Lord’s house and all of our treasures, we have fallen, which is part of our maturing (Pro 24:16) and have been overcome by worldliness.  Taking the shields [H4043] of gold that our father Solomon made is having our shield of faith corrupted in a season of worldliness and unbelief.  In time and with great tribulation, we are being confronted and told to get our gold back that can only be purchase in the fire of our trials and tribulations (Rev 3:18-19).

The treasure of the Lord’s temple is His Word that has been into His people.  We, all misuse this Word and are spiritual harlots with Egypt before we are able to stand in faith.

Eze 16:17  Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,

Joe 3:5  Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

Without shields of gold, we have to resort to using copper (brass) shields which is a common metal that symbolizes our carnal mindset.  These copper shields are better than nothing in allowing us to guard our gates and entrances the best we can with limited spiritual maturity.

2Ch 12:10  Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house. 

2Ch 12:11  And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber. 

2Ch 12:12  And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well. 

Every man alive can only do what the Sovereign Lord is doing in their lives.  It is NOT in man to direct his own steps!  Yes, even our immaturity and inability to be spiritual warriors for the Lord is part of ALL THINGS and HIS WORK in us.  We are doing the best we can with the limited resources we have been given at this stage of our maturity.  But it’s exactly where we are supposed to be.

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

This experience brings more humility to Rehoboam and the Lord eases off the chastening and brings us a period and season of wellness, so we can rest and get ready for the next test.

1Pe 4:12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1Pe 4:13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

With his guard and shields of brass, Rehoboam was given time to regroup and strengthen himself as the Lord will not try us beyond what we can bear (1Co 10:13).

2Ch 12:13  So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. 

2Ch 12:14  And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. 

Rehoboam and we are incapable of preparing our own hearts.  That is the work of the Lord for all men and all kings at every stage of our lives.

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Psa 10:17  LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

As a result of the Lord, Rehoboam, as a young immature king, did evil.  This is what the Lord is still doing to this day despite what billions of professing Christians may otherwise believe.

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

We certainly should not be content with any evil we are doing but should strive against and seek help via prayer and fasting for deliverance to overcome.  Applying this to others is the narrow way we are learn as judgment is now on the house of God.

Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Here are the final two verses in the Chronicles version of Rehoboam’s reign.

2Ch 12:15  Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 

2Ch 12:16  And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead. 

The physical books of Shemaiah and Iddo are nowhere to be found.  Yet we know all the acts of Rehoboam are contained in everyone one of our books, the Book of Life for every man.

Ecc 9:2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

The divided nation of Israel is always going to be at war with itself.  The battle between doctrine and truth versus what our flesh wants to do is a war that only ends when there is unity and oneness in Israel.  We are getting there as we live out these lives of these kings.  At this stage we are in the beginning of sorrows as we await the day of the Lord (Mat 24:6-8).

Rehoboam’s death was a physical death yet the way we are to apply these verses to learn is to remember that “His words are Spirit – Joh 6:63”.  The death of Rehoboam is moving us onward to another experience of evil (Ecc 1:13) that will be used to further refine us.  Living to 58 years as Rehoboam did was not the promise of long life.  Our obedience is far from complete.

Eph 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Eph 6:2  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Eph 6:3  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

 

 

Articles

Observing Days, Times and Years

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Keeping of Days, Months, Times and Years

The keeping of days and years is a gigantic custom and tradition of the world.  It is only by looking behind ourselves once we have come out of day keeping that we can truly appreciate just how wide and deep is that bondage that has captured the whole world.  We start out in bondage but are delivered as we mature in the faith.

Gal 4:3 Even so, we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 

The Lord made all things, even the lights and celestial objects in the physical heavens for the purposes cited early on in Genesis.

Gen 1:14  And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 

Yet the keeping of days, times and seasons is for the world.  The world’s [spiritual Gentiles] attraction of day and timekeeping was given to them to worship awaiting the appearance of Christ to them.

Deu 4:19  NLT And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them. The LORD your God gave them to all the peoples of the earth. 

The little flock that is the Israel of God is commanded to not partake of these days and worship any of the world’s gods which include days, months, times and seasons.

Deu 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Exo 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The Lord changes not and His commandments include our separation from all the things the world loves as the Lord is separating a people unto Himself.

Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you

It is seemingly little matters like keeping of days that truly separate the people of God from those still in the world.  Paul rebukes the Galatians sharply for their acceptance of false gospels and their broadening of the narrow way commanded.

Gal 4:8  Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 

Gal 4:9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 

Gal 4:10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 

Gal 4:11  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 

As ambassadors for Christ, we are strangers in a foreign land.  Yet ambassadors cannot do their job if they become entangled in the affairs of the land they have been sent to minister.   We are not winning people to Christ by partaking of the world’s traditions and customs.

2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Anyone keeping days, months, times and years is either 1) not in the faith and of the world or 2) they are weak in the faith and need time and admonitions to grow and mature.  The absolute sovereignty of God is solid established doctrine so we know everyone is exactly where the Lord has placed them so we are not to condemn anyone for their disobedience in this regard or any work of the Lord.  We all have kept days, months, times and seasons and it is only by the mercy we received that we are able to now correct others in mercy, patience, and long-suffering.

Days, Months, Times and Seasons are Everywhere

Partaking of worldly times keeps us focused on the world and our hearts and minds, not on the treasures in heaven and the cross that we are now carrying daily to our death with Christ.

Luk 9:22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Consider just how vast the designation of special days has become in the world today.

Religious holy days:  Nothing holy about any of them be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise.  They all represent flesh and not those called of the true living God.

Patriotic Days:  Each country has its own growing set of days.  Shunning them will make people hate you instantly and speak all manner of evil about you.

Special Days: Men and clever marketers have invented numerous days to honor and bring recognition to certain people, groups of people, roles and sexes. This list is endless …Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s day, Arbor Day, Flag day,  Earth Day, Ground Hog Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Civil Rights Day, Emancipation Day, National Day of Prayer,  Grandparents Day, Boss’s Day, ….. with no end ….

Birthdays: This is a big one and one of the harder ones to give up as it is so ingrained into every society. Yet the scriptures are clear and the only examples of birthdays we have resulted in death. Here is great teaching by Victor on the spiritual significance of Birthdays and their pagan origins. Click here for Victor’s study on the Spiritual Significance of Birthdays

Anniversaries: Marking anniversaries has waxed far beyond just wedding days to include all kinds of markings of annual remembrances.

Standing in the Truth Brings Persecution

The world hates Christ.  You can be sure when one makes a stand on days and times, persecution will come from those we interact with in the world including our families.

2Ti 3:12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

People will naturally begin to separate from you when you make a stand for Christ on days.  This is a good thing as the church truly is the “Ekklesia” or the called out ones.

Luk 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luk 6:23  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

People will naturally want to know why you do not keep their days and despise their traditions.  You can be sure that when that stand is made against the keeping of days and times,  most will reject and hate (seek to kill you spiritually) for having the audacity to not keep their worldly traditions and to call yourself the son of God. We will then be in very good company in following our Lord.

Joh 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath [did not keep their precious days], but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 

When I made a firm stand on all days, months, times and seasons, it marked the beginning of my abiding in true fiery trials.  I lost nearly all my relationships with physical family over their vehement opposition to any cessation of keeping days and times.  Yet it’s a small price to pay to be Lord willing be found worthy of His Name.  We must count the costs of following Him and know it will cost us our old way of life.

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Being rejected of men and your own household is truly a trial of our faith, but one we must be made able to endure if we are to move on to maturity and be prepared for even greater fiery trials in the Lake of Fire.  Not conforming with the world starts with our rejection of the world’s customs on keeping of days, months, times and years.

Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Judging Others and Bearing the Weak

While day keeping is wrong for the people of God, how we deal with others is also part of the narrow way and what the Lord is teaching us in raising us up as Kings and Priests.  Being separated from the world also means we do not judge the world and those in it.  That is for a time and age to come in the future when the world will begin to hear the word of the Lord and are given faith (Joh 12:47).   Those in the faith are not to judge those in the world, our focus is to be on those within the fellowship of faith.

1Co 5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 

1Co 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 

Those within include all in the faith and yet there are different measures of faith and varying degrees of maturity.  All first struggle in understanding God’s requirements of not keeping days and in discovering practical ways of being obedient while not coming across as a clanging gong (1Co 13:1) or ramming our spiritual meat down those not yet prepared to receive it.

Gal 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

It is the mature in the faith who learn mercy and longsuffering by tolerating the weak in the faith who still keep days and times.

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations

Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 

Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

The weak are not allowed to bring in disputes about established doctrines but we need to trust the Lord and let Him work His work in our brothers and sisters that He has already ordained.

Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Rom 14:5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

We should always be ready to answer and teach the truth of the mature and more excellent way of the Lord.  Yet we are learning patience in waiting for others to be brought along by the Lord.

When we understand that the love of God is our obedience and that is what AGAPE or LOVE truly means, then we begin to understand that our obedience on days, times, months and years is actually loving our families that reject Christ at this stage.  Our stand for the truth will be a witness to them in due time.  Our disobedience only serves to keep them in darkness to the Lord’s truth and make it harder for them to see the separation the Lord requires of His people from the world’s ways.  Bottom line we are in this world but not to be of it.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

When we go along with the world, we lead people astray from the truth of God’s word.  We are teaching them by example that it is okay to serve our God in the same way the world serves its gods.  That is not “love” the way God defines it and neither is it loving our neighbor.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [We love by obeying God]

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Practical Lessons

The fact we are in this world means we will be continually exposed to these customs and traditions.  This will be especially true for gatherings with our physical families and also in our places of work.  One simply cannot totally escape this exposure, it’s pervasive in our world and society.  We learn the narrow way by making mistakes and then adjusting our approach to stand firm for Christ.

Telling your family you beliefs:  It will take time for your family and relatives that you have contact with to stop communicating with you over days the way the world does.  The happy birthday’s wishes, the cards, the gifts for Christmas and salutations and phone calls for all the other holidays will continue until they learn you are standing firm.  The sooner you make that stand and stick to it, the sooner you will bear the reproach of Christ and also begin to teach them you no longer live by the world’s customs.  You can then start counting it all joy to suffer for His sake.  Your family will not understand at first and will think evil of you for not acknowledging the birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries that are so precious to the carnally minded.  It is particularly difficult where one spouse believes and the other does not and even more when children are in the house.

Family gatherings over the holidays or around a significant birthday:  These can be tricky yet in some cases, our appearance may be mandated and could give the appearance we are partaking in a holiday or a birthday party.  For example, some visit families around the big holidays because that is the only chance they have to see family.  A narrow way might be for example coming over on Thanksgiving break but not partaking of the big meal which is the biggest part of the worldly custom.  In another example, one may need to go to a gathering of a family where a birthday celebration could be part of the broader overall plan.  If the visit could not be avoided, then one should bear no gifts and leave the gathering temporarily when the festivities of the cake/gifts and the song occur.  We are not under the law and our careful treading is not for our sakes but for the sake of our unbelieving family to not create a stumbling block for them to come to Christ in the future.  The longer we stand on truth the less likely it becomes we will find ourselves in a tricky spot again.

Office birthday parties:  I was not in truth when I worked in office buildings with lots of people.  But nearly half the days there was always a card for someone being circulated or a meeting to have cake and sing the song.  What do you do?  We would have to tell our workers that we do not partake of birthdays and to please do not ask us to sign the cards or come to these ceremonies.  It’s called making a stand and it could cost us our friendships in the world.  Lord willing anyone’s job would not be imperiled yet we can hold nothing back in seeking to obey God.

Any that still struggle with these issues should seek counsel from a more mature brother and sister in navigating the narrow way.  All in Christ have been there and has had to learn to deal with day keeping and our avoidance of it.  We are all here to be helpers of your joy in obeying the Lord.