We’ve been reading about what seems to be Solomon’s highly successful kingship in 1 Kings, yet now we are reminded why Jesus is the only possible true and perfect king; Solomon faces his downfall. Particularly in chapter 11, we see King Solomon marrying numerous women from nations God had told the Israelites not to ‘intermarry with them’ (v.2). The truth of the reason behind this, ‘because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods’ (v.2) is immediately clear, with Solomon having his heart seek other gods by verse 4.
Solomon directly defies the guidelines for kings given in Deuteronomy 17, especially verse 17, ‘He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.’ Consequently, over the next few chapters we see the division of Israel and successive failing kings.
As we progress in Revelation, John shares the visions of the open scroll. We see a spiritual battle (ch.12), an earthly battle (ch.13), and the army of the Slain Lamb (ch.14a). Final judgement comes, represented in two harvests; one healthy and following Christ, the other of humanity and evil (14:15-19). Here, a choice is proposed; what grain do you choose to hold? One is to suffer God’s wrath in a symbolic winepress, and the other to be harvested, joining the One sitting on the cloud.
Aptly, we see in the reading this week that God blesses and takes away. What I found particularly enlightening is the one common denominator – God wins. Over good and over evil, He wins. God can bestow wrath or blessing. Additionally, He victoriously fights every battle for us if we let Him. On this side, we remain with the eternal victor.
Some questions to consider…
- Solomon ‘did not follow the Lord completely’ (1 Kings 11:6). In what areas of your life do you struggle to follow God in? How can you seek to obey God in all aspects of life?
- In Revelation 12 we are told of a woman given a place in the wilderness ‘where she would be taken care of for a time’ (v. 14). We often want to fight our own battles; is there a battle you are struggling to hand over to God, and rest in His prepared place? How can you go to the prepared place of rest God offers?
- Revelation 14:12 calls for ‘patient endurance’ from God’s people. How can you endure battles patiently? What does this look like?