(Also titled: I could be wrong, so Jay, if you feel the need to address me or correct me in my estimations I would appreciate it. Also, if you could, maybe pass it on to some of your other Pastoral or spiritual friends, so that I might receive as much help as I can get.)
After far too long away from personal reflection and study of the Bible, I have re-entered my studies. Under the guidance of my longtime friend Jay, I began my reading from the Book of I Kings, and continued as well onto II Kings. The introduction stated that they were once written as one single document, but did not go on to say why (which was one of my wonderments) it was separated into two. I stated to Jay my difficulties in discerning between messages and what I perceive to be mere historical accounts. He brought up the following points and questions:
1. It is a bit of a historical lesson. When we see how God reacted to things in history we can get an idea of how he might feel about similar circumstances today.
2. Each story has individual players. It isn't like proverbs or the gospels where we are simply told one liners on how to improve our lives. So, Who are you in the story, and what does the story say about the Charactor of God?
Number one is just plain confusing to me here. I see certain similarities between the time of Solomon and the four centuries or so after (I'll go out on a limb and say it didn't stop there either) described in these books, and the time of now. Israel to this day denies God, as do many of us Gentiles. We put forth many idols of worship in the form of many things such as money, cars, and power as our gods. We may acknowledge the existence of the Lord our God, but we often push him to the side, focusing on the tangible materials of our world. The more we concentrate on that which is worldly, the more we separate ourselves from God. He is both saddened and angered by this, as we break the commandment to put no other god before him, he has no choice but to allow ourselves to be subjected to his punishment set forth. And that punishment being that we selfishly sacrifice for the now, our souls to be reunited with Him in Heaven. Just as with in the time of the Book of Kings, the Israelites took their status as "God's Chosen People" for granted, and busied themselves with worshipping the gods of their worldly neighbors. And as we read toward the end, God has to exile all of Israel into the hands of their enemies. And while God remains, he has chosen to let us make the decision to come back to serving him.
As for part two, Who am I in this story?
I would surmise that I fit many of the people. We'll start first with the son of the Shummanite. Not that I was an extraordinary miracle baby born to an old lady or anything like that, but that somewhere in my life I had died spiritually, and God shown his power by breathing life back into my soul, that I might have another chance to live again in His glory.
I also think that I am like many of the Kings of Judah. I try my best to do good in my life and for those around me, but like many of these kings, I let others live as they wish. I don't go out of my way to speak against the evils they commit against our Lord, be it worshipping false gods, actively engaging in lust, leading others including their kids down a path away from the Lord. I fail to speak out against, or dissociate myself from the sinners. So while I may do good, I do not actively show my courage for or fight for my God, and allow evil to dwell in my life.
And while God looks down on us and blesses us, he remains true to His character and sees me as just a big of a sinner for allowing the sinful people in my life and exposed to my family. And without repentance and a striving for righteousness through His son Jesus Christ, I can guarantee myself exiled from his kingdom along with the sinners whom I do not rebuke from my life.
Well, that's about what I got out of it. How am I doing so far in my analysis?