A Kingdom Divided – 1 Kings 11

Beginning with King Solomon in his later years, Israel turned away from God and worshiped the local deities of their neighbors instead.  Because of this, God began to remove His blessings on the country.  The peace and prosperity they enjoyed as God’s shining light to the world would begin to evaporate as conflict and hardship slowly replaced the good life that they had been enjoying worshiping Him. Defeat and exile to Assyria and Babylon would lie ahead.

God was particularly upset that the “gods” the people were chasing after were demonic in nature and used the enticement of sexual immorality and drunkenness in their “worship” to draw people away from Him.  These practices are not a part of God’s fruitful plan for our lives, but the destructive plan of the enemy.  Many families are still being destroyed by these practices today.

As a result of their rejection of God and His covenant, He decided that He would divide the nation of Israel.  He would keep one tribe with the throne and the temple in Jerusalem, an area that would now be called Judah, after the kingly line.  The rest of the country would be a separate nation with their own king, known as Israel.

Jesus Christ, the fruit of the genealogy studied in this series of meditations, had this to say about a divided kingdom:

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:22-25 NKJV

Jesus, the Messiah that Israel had been waiting for, was also a King in the line of David. This Messiah had often been referred to by the people as the Son of David, as He was in the king’s genealogy.  When Jesus finally arrived on the scene in God’s perfect timing, the religious authorities did not recognize Him for who He was and credited His miraculous healing powers to the enemy.  Here was another case of other “gods” getting credit for God’s blessings, and we have seen that is not something He appreciates.

Jesus was healing a man who was possessed by a demon.  His symptoms were blindness and muteness, but unlike the physical causes we are familiar with, this one had a spiritual cause.  The same demonic forces that had drawn the people away from God during Solomon’s time and afterwards were inflicting physical pain, hardship, and terror upon them, as well. 

As Jesus has said, the enemy only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus came to reclaim the Kingdom of God and to prevail against this kingdom of darkness.  Prophecy tells us that, one day, He will restore full and eternal blessings on Israel as they come to recognize Him as their true King.

10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  Zechariah 12:10 NKJV

Jesus will one day return to take His rightful place as ruler of the world, centered on the throne in the New Jerusalem.  He came the first time as a sin sacrifice, to bear the punishment of all who would call upon His name.  The first time, He came as a lowly and humble servant.  His entrance will be quite different the next time around.

Reflection

Solomon’s kingdom would be divided, but the throne of Christ will not be.  He will reign over all of God’s creation to the glory of God the Father, forever and ever.  Do you know Him?

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