Miles to go...

I have miles to go... please pray each day for the next leg of my Biblical journey!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Days 33 & 34: Liberal Propaganda

2 Chronicles 32:9-12

New Living Translation (NLT)
Dung Beetles maneuvering crap. (c)  lockstockb 

Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem

While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city:
10 “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? 11 Hezekiah has said, ‘The Lord our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.’ Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! 12 Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the Lord’s shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone.


Disclaimer: I know that God is neither a democrat, nor a republican. But who can deny that the Biblical world-view is conservative? Who can argue that God demands honesty, integrity, and moral behavior? Nobody, that's who. So if the opposite of conservative values is a liberal agenda, then the lies told to King Hezekiah and all of the residents of Jerusalem in an attempt to make them more compliant and easier to defeat amounts to sheer propaganda.

Hezekiah was a good guy. He was only 25 when he began ruling over Judah. Not that 25 is young, in comparison to some of the kings who took the throne as children. He was the exact opposite of his father, Ahaz, who had been so bad that he wasn't even allowed to be buried in the royal cemetery. Hezekiah was much more like King David had been about 11 generations earlier. He repaired and reopened the Temple that his daddy had ransacked, stolen from, and then closed. He rededicated the temple, he restored the Passover with a celebration that was unlike any that had been seen since the days of Solomon.

After the festival, all the Asherah poles, the images and altars of Baal, and all the sacred shrines and pillars of other gods were smashed, cut, burned, and removed from all the towns of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. And that's just the beginning! But on to the point, here.

Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, came along and invaded Judah, attacking and breaking through the walls of all the fortified towns. While King Hezakiah was busy repairing all the damage, Assyrian officers made a detour from attacking the town of Lachish to take a message to Jerusalem for Hezekiah, but making sure that the entire population of the city heard the lies they spewed.

There was a definite motive for the lies. They used scare tactics and half truths to instill doubt in the people of Jerusalem, so that they'd be easier to defeat. The Assyrians claimed that Hezakiah had misled them about God's protection, and that just as no god had come to the rescue of any other nation, neither would God come to theirs. They went on about how Hezekiah had destroyed the Lord's shrines and altars, leaving only one standing, and that he had effectively sentenced Judah to death by famine and thirst because of it. 

Lies. Liberal propaganda designed to cow the masses into submission, or at least to cause them to doubt their king so badly that the confusion would make them easier to defeat. Pretty much like what we see happening all around us today, isn't it? I promise, I won't elaborate on my political rants here. 

But what Sennacherib and his men didn't grasp is that God isn't like the other gods. He's real! And He cares for His people. So when Hezekiah prayed, God listened. He sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian army, including all the commanders and officers. King Sennacherib had to return to Assyria with his tail tucked between his legs. He was so disgraced that when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons were waiting there, armed with swords, and killed him.

(v.22) That is how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. so there was peace througout the land.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Days 31 & 32: Gods & Godesses

2 Chronicles 17:3-6

New Living Translation (NLT)
By Hanay (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ]
The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years[a] and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel. So the Lord established Jehoshaphat’s control over the kingdom of Judah. All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he became very wealthy and highly esteemed. He was deeply committed to[b] the ways of the Lord. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah.


We read a lot in the Bible about various gods and goddesses. Two of the most common ones we see in scripture are Baal and Asherah. Well, not Asherah herself, so much as Asherah poles and groves (sites of numerous poles). Who exactly are Asherah and Baal, anyway?

I guess I should start with a bit of a disclaimer. I believe in only one God, the living God, our heavenly father. I don't believer any of the other gods and goddesses worshiped throughout history, including biblical times, were real. They were real to the people who served them, of course, and they certainly were real in the sense that Israelites were known to "play the harlot" and worship them instead of God... And we know that God expressed His jealous anger over other gods and goddesses. But that doesn't mean they really existed, other than in the hearts and minds of humans. That is the biggest threat to our relationship with God, isn't it? The fickle nature of our hearts and minds, to go chasing off after anything that we give priority over our Father?

Anyway, back to who these two idols were. Before the Israelites were brought into the Promised Land, which was the land of Canaan, the native people there worshiped the male "creator" god, named El. This wasn't creator in the same sense as our God, this was creator in the sense of fertility. As is the case with any mythological gods, El had wives, the first of whom was Asherah.  She was a fertility goddess, the mother of life, and gave birth to El's son, Baal, and 69 others. El also had another wife, Anath, but it was Asherah alone who was believed to be the mother of all gods.

The day came when Baal grew up and got too big for his britches, and decided to overthrow his daddy. According to the myths, he launched a surprise attack on El's palace and took not only the throne, but his father's wives, as well. Yes, you read that right... his mother was now one of his own wives. 

Incest was not Baal's only sexual deviation, though. Before going down to meet with Mot, the god of death, Baal, the god of fertility, mated with a cow, and the cow bore him a son. Remember here, I'm just relaying the mythology behind he gods who were worshiped by other people in the Bible. Who knows the outcome of that battle when Baal met with Mot, but his mother/wife started looking for a replacement for him, at the request of her former husband El, and the other wife, Anath, went off in search of Baal's corpse. Apparently she found him, and because of her, both Mot and Baal reappeared in mythology, and Mot finally surrendered to Baal as the supreme deity.

So the gods and goddesses of fertility were pretty nasty, engaging in everything from incest to bestiality, and if one believes that Baal was actually dead for 7 years, necrophilia. Can you say "ewwwwww!". Yeah, gross.

Let's get past who they were now and look at how people worshiped them. Asherah was known not only as the goddess of fertility, but the mother of all gods, and the mother of life. Near to the altar where sacrifices were made to Baal were what are known as Asherah poles, or Ashera groves (numerous poles.) It's interesting that these poles were actually made from trees that had been stripped bare of branches and then carved to resemble either the image of the goddess herself, or the image of a phallus. I'm not making that up, you can actually find photographs of poles still in existence that are carved in both symbols. There seems to be some link between the modern day "tree of life" symbol that is so popular in jewelry and wire sculptures that represent "Mother Earth", and Asherah, the mother of life. I guess it's pretty easy to draw the comparison, especially since Asherah poles were made of trees. Still, I have decided I'll never make jewelry with the popular tree of life symbol.  It doesn't seem so innocent in light of all this information.

The celebrations of worship centering on the god and goddess included shrine prostitutes, both male and female who had no particular preference as to which gender they cavorted with, and all sorts of ritualistic sex. No wonder God abhorred Baal and Asherah so much. Sex was designed to be this beautiful gift that God gave to married couples, and this religion twisted it into a celebration of every kind of perversion and deviance possible! It's a celebration that seems to have never dissipated, either. Even in today's culture, sexual perversion is celebrated. And just like in those days of old, we who worship God and view sex as a sacred gift between a husband and wife are viewed with contempt by the secular world.

I think that's why I selected this topic. People always think that they're coming up with something new. But really, each generation has its own 'sexual revolution', which is really not a revolution at all. Instead, it is a revulsion of every good thing from God. As a society, we wonder why God doesn't hear our prayers. Maybe we should look back at history for the answer, and remember that God turned His back on His children when they abandoned God in favor of their Baal's and Asherahs. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Days 29 & 30: The Know-It-All

1 Chronicles 21:1-4

New Living Translation (NLT)
David orders a census.
V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

David Takes a Census

21 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”
But Joab replied, “May the Lordincrease the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”
But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem


Before I start, let me apologize for my absence the last several days. I made an unexpected trip out of town to attend the funeral of my last remaining uncle. While we grieve here on earth, heaven is rejoicing, and Uncle Frank is finally at peace, surrounded by the glory of God. So to catch up, I'm reading in double time and posting in half-time!

Many times I've read about David's census, and never really understood what the big deal was. At one point in time, God had wanted a census done of the Israelites. But when David decided it was a good idea, God didn't agree, and got really mad about it! Why?

King David was a devout man of God, no doubt. But no matter how much he loved the Lord, he was still human, and he still made a lot of mistakes. I like David, because his life is such a portrait of all true Christians; we can never be good enough. We can love the Lord with all our hearts, serve Him single-mindedly, but we're still not going to be perfect, we're still going to sin, we're still going to beg forgiveness, and we're still going to learn that even when God grants forgiveness, He doesn't exempt us from consequences.

So what was David's sin, here? Well, to start with, it wasn't entirely his sin. David's sin reflected the sin of israel, who had become a little too big for their britches, thinking they deserved to have a king they could see with their own eyes instead of allowing God to be their King. They'd lost their focus, and had let pride get in the way of better judgment. So in 2 Samuel 24:1, scripture says 
"And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah."
So there ya have it. David was human, and God used his sin as a vessel to bring about His discipline on a sinful nation. And He accomplished this by allowing Satan to rise up and goad him into doing something stupid. And being the fallible human being that he was, David fell for it.

This census was never God's will. It was David's. He was king of the hill and he was feeling pretty good about it. He didn't want the census taken for God's glory, he wanted the census taken for his own! He had thirty warriors that made up the membership of an elite "club", the best of the best, and even more exclusive than that were his "three muskateers", the mighty warriors who commanded the thirty. But as awesome as that group was in battle, David knew that he ruled over way more than that, and he wanted bragging rights. So he told Joab and the other commanders to go find out how many warriors he had.

Joab was a little wiser than David this time around. He knew this was going to be bad, and even tried to warn him. He told David God would grow his army even a hundred times bigger, if he'd just give God the honor instead of letting the numbers go to his head. But David didn't listen, and he sent them out to count. 

The numbers came back, but only partially. Joab failed to count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. So he gave David an incomplete count to try to keep his already inflated ego in check. The numbers were still impressive though. Over a million swordsmen in Israel, and  half as many again in Judah alone. And David was apparently pleased with himself over how strong his armies were.

God, on the other hand, was anything but pleased. Through Gad, David's seer, God gave him three options to choose from as punishment for his pride. He could choose three years of famine, or three months of slaughter at the hands of his enemies, or three days of plague as an angel of the Lord brought devastation to the land. 

Not being able to read God's mind and know exactly what that meant, I think I would have gone with door number three, just like David did. And just like me, I don't think David really understood that three days wasn't going to be a slap on the wrist! During those three days, 70,000 people died in Israel, and then God sent an angel to destroy the city of Jerusalem. As the angel stood next to the threshing floor of a Jebusite named Araunah (because the angel had to stand somewhere!), sword raised and ready to strike, God relented and said "Ok, that's enough, for now!". The angel didn't lower his sword though. He was ready should further action be required. 

Araunah looked up from where he was threshing wheat, and saw what was going on in the spiritual realm. I wonder if he took it in stride, or if he stood there gawking in fear and awe.  We know it scared the daylights out of his four sons though, because scripture says they ran away and hid. Their daddy didn't, though. Whatever he was thinking at the sight of this great, big, huge warrior-angel  standing over his threshing floor weilding a sword, his reaction isn't noted until David approached, humbled and dressed in burlap, and asked to purchase the threshing floor to build an altar to God so He would stop the plague. Araunah bowed before the king and offered to give him not only the floor, but the oxen to sacrifice as well. David was starting to smarten up though. He told the man he could not take what cost him nothing to make amends with God, and insisted on paying for it. The transaction cost 600 pieces of gold.

Ya know, I can't count the times I've heard believers quip "i'm not perfect, just forgiven". Nor can I count, sadly, how many times I've heard believers say that because we are forgiven, we're exempt from consequences. What a total misunderstanding of God's nature! He's a loving God, yes. He's a forgiving God, yes. But above all, He is a just God. We don't get a free pass when we screw up, and God's discipline is often a bitter pill. It's pretty important that we realize that our lesson isn't learned until we've accepted the discipline, humbled ourselves, and made things right with our Father.

That's it for Sunday and Monday. I'll have to combine blog entries for two days at a time for a few days while I catch back up. In the meantime, I hope you got something out of this. And if you didn't, well, I did.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 28: My Name Is Hypocrisy

2 Kings 17:37-41

New Living Translation (NLT)
Hellenistic Tower of Samaria
V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers
37 Be careful at all times to obey the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands that he wrote for you. You must not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 You must worship only the Lord your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” 40 But the people would not listen and continued to follow their former practices. 41 So while these new residents worshiped the Lord, they also worshiped their idols. And to this day their descendants do the same.

Back in the days when King Ahaz was over Judah, and Hoshea was king over Israel, God got fed up with the disobedience of His people. Because of the idolatry going on, God decided it was time to make good on His warning, and Assyria went to war with Israel, taking captive all who lived in Samaria. So the Israelites were moved out , and people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath and Sepharvaim moved in and re-populated the whole area.

The newcomers knew nothing about God, but God knew plenty about them. He sent lions into the area, and a lot of the settlers were mauled to death. Finally someone went to the king of Assyria and said 'Hey! The new people in Samaria don't know how to please the God of this land! Will you send back one of the Israeli priests so he can teach everyone what to do?" So one of the priests went back to live in Bethel.

So now all the newcomers got to hear about the God of the Israelites, and how to serve Him. The problem was, that even as they learned to worship God, they didn't let go of their old lifestyles. They developed a fear for God, maybe even an abstract fear of God, but they just couldn't let go of their own idols, their traditions, their customs. Even though they appointed priests and made the right sacrifices to God, they never surrendered to Him, never lived their lives for Him. Even to this day.

So is this really about Samaria and its inhabitants? You bet. Historically, that's exactly who this story is about. But is that all it's about? Look around you. Heck, look in your closest mirror. Have we surrendered our own lives to God, completely? Or do we just give Him lip service?

Consider our society. The majority, a whopping 78% (as of 2009) of Americans claim to be "Christian". They post "Like if you love Jesus" on their FaceBook walls. They promise to pray for everyone who scrapes a knee. Heck, they might even attend church on Easter Sunday. But look beyond the social network news feeds for a moment and really look at what's going on around you. More than 70% of all young people will shack up before marriage. Slightly more than 40% of all births are to unmarried women. According to the latest statistics, about as many abortions take place every year as do births to single mothers. Supposedly only 4% of Americans claim to be gay, although I'm sure that the numbers are significantly higher if you count those who experiment with bi-sexuality. Support for gays and lesbians is through the roof. Well over half of all men and women have admitted to being unfaithful during a committed relationship. One quarter of all internet searches are for pornography, and it is estimated that 90% of children will view porn online before their 17th birthday. 

Is America really any better than Samaria was?

Maybe you or I don't fall into any of those statistics above, but does that really make us blameless before God? Consider for a moment... How often do you go have a drink or two at the bar? Or skip church on Sunday because there's a Nascar race or football game going on? Are we too busy with work to make time for our kids? Are we eating our meals in front of the TV instead of sharing the time with our family? Is there anything wrong with any of those things?

Well it depends. When is the last time you spent time really, really communicating with God through prayer or worship, or listening to what He has to say by reading His word?

Maybe we're no better than the Samarians after all.

Sorry I didn't link to the sources of my statistics. I googled them. You can too, and probably should, since statistics are constantly changing from year to year, and from poll to poll.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 27: Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead

Jezebel, the Queen Mother (Public Domain)

2 Kings 9:30-33

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Death of Jezebel

30 When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window. 31 When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, “Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!”[a]
32 Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, “Who is on my side?” And two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves.

Well, I tried doing the timeline thing of the kings over Judah and Israel, didn't I? Today as I was reading, I realized it hadn't much helped me to remember who was who over what and where. Darn. It was a good idea. And I may go back and do it again, but probably not. I'm discovering that some of the kings had pretty common names, and it gets so confusing because some of the kings over Israel shared the same name as some kings over Judah.  But my fascination with the women of the Bible is winning at the moment. I think I'll talk about two evil women who were not witches, although it made for a good title, didn't it?

I'm going to start with Jezebel. She'd captured my attention the other day, but I chose not to write about her, thinking the timeline would be more educational. Jezebel was a princess, the daughter of some Sidonian king, when she married King Ahab of Israel. She was one bad woman, let me tell ya. So bad, in fact, that in 1 Kings 16:31, the Bible says "And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeraboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians...' Now when scripture has to say "as if it weren't bad enough, he married her!', that's really bad!

She was notorious. She had her husband, Ahab, bowing down and worshiping Baal. When he pouted over Naboth's refusal to sell him his vineyard, Jezebel had the owner stoned for something he didn't do, and then urged her husband to claim it as his own. When Elijah came and prophesied that because of that, God would wipe out all Ahab's male descendants, and that Jezebel would be eaten by the dogs, she got furious. The wicked witch in the fairy tale couldn't hold a candle to Jezebel's evil. She was determined for Elijah to die, and if she couldn't find him after he fled, she'd settle for having every prophet of God she came across slaughtered. About 400 of them, if I recall correctly.

Now Jezebel probably wasn't Ahab's only wife, but she was definitely the highest ranking one, and it is pretty apparent that she ruled the kingdom jointly with Ahab. They had a son named Ahaziah, who took the throne after Ahab died in battle. But Ahaziah wasn't long for this world either, and he died after only a couple of years. His brother, Jehoram, succeeds him, but is killed by Jehu, who would usher in the next royal dynasty in Israel.

But in order for the prophecy to be fulfilled, Ahab's wife had to die too. it wasn't enough that his male heirs had died, Mommy Dearest had to go. So Jehu sets out for Jezreel, where Jezebel is, and she gets wind of it. Rather than run, though, she calmly puts on her makeup, fixes her hair, and then sits in her window to wait. When Jehu rides up in front of the palace, she taunts him, calling him a murderer. So he looks up, hollers "Who's on my side?", and a couple of eunuchs that were attending her said "we are!" Well, maybe they didn't say it with their words, but they threw the queen mother out the window so that Jehu's horse could trample her to death. I guess they were on his side.

Ding Dong, one witch is dead. But wait, she had a daughter! 

2 Kings 11:13-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Death of Athaliah

Queen Athaliah of Judah, Public Domain
13 When Athaliah heard all the noise made by the palace guards and the people, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. 14 When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar, as was the custom at times of coronation. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
15 Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple,[a] and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her and led her out to the gate where horses enter the palace grounds, and she was killed there.

Ok, truth be told, we don't know if Athaliah was Jezebel's daughter. But she was definitely Ahab's kid, and was the sister to both Ahazaiah and Jehoram, who had reined briefly. For whatever reasons though, she was married off to the king of Judah, whose name was also Jehoram, and had a son whom she named Ahazaiah. Ok, now you see why trying to do the timeline was confusing me? Try to follow me here... Athaliah's husband Jehoram was ruling Judah during about the same time frame that her brothers were ruling Judah, before Jehu came along and upset the apple cart. Now, when her husband died, her son Ahazaiah (named after her brother) took over, but only for a year. This really gets complicated, and I hope I'm not botching it. 

It appears to me (and I hope someone will comment and correct me if I'm wrong) that Athaliah's son, the king of Judah, was hanging out with his uncle, King Jehoram of israel (Athaliah's brother, not her husband), and that when he killed one, he actually killed both. That was just before he killed jezebel. (Jehu also killed the 70 remaining sons of Ahab.)

If I've got that bit of history down right, then I'll move on. Athaliah wanted to be in charge of things, much like Jezebel had been. So when she heard that her son had been killed, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family. It seems that it would be her family, too, but I guess she didn't really care about her daughters-in-law or grandchildren. As long as she was the only one left to rule, that was all that seemed to matter to her. But she didn't get everyone.

Ahaziah had a sister. Jehosheba was King Jehoram's daughter, but not Athaliah's. By today's standards that would make Athaliah the step-mother, but I don't imagine that was the dynamic of the relationship between the offspring of the kings wives and the other wives back then. 

Now, Ahaziah also had a baby boy named Joash. Aunt Jehosheba wasn't about to let the evil step-monster get her hands on her precious nephew, so she snuck him out and took him to the Temple of the Lord, where he was raised by the priest Jehoiada.

When Joash was 7 years old, the priest who had been raising him conspired with the commanders of the palace guard to do away with the wicked queen. All those who were off duty that day were provided with shields and swords, and they lined up from the north side to the south side of the Temple, and surrounding the altar. Then Jehoiada brought out the boy who would become king, placed a crown on his head, a copy of God's laws in his hands, and annointed him king. And all the palace guard cheered him on.

Queen Athaliah heard the noise, and wanted to know what she was missing. She hurried over to the Temple and saw the boy king standing next to the pillar, his place of authority, during the coronation ceremony. She freaked out at the sight, and started ripping her clothes, screaming like a loon. The commanders of the Palace Guard arrested her, took her out of the Temple,  and turned her over to the soldiers where she was killed.

Ding Dong, the other witch is dead.

As for Joash, the boy king, he was a good guy, having been raised by a priest, and he ruled over Judah for 52 years.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 26: God Whispers

1 Kings 19:9-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

The Lord Speaks to Elijah

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but theLord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Well, it's been a week since I last posted a blog entry of my own. It was a wonderful week visiting with my daughter and her family. I hope everyone has enjoyed the devotionals written by my friend, Deanna! But today I am getting back to the routine. I feel rusty. I hope I don't sound as rusty. Can one really get rusty in a week?

I really want to focus on how this passage applies to each of us in our every day life. I think everyone should sit down and read all about Elijah and his life's events, but this one instance is what I am really stuck on at the moment. Here's a little background. Elijah had spent three years living in hiding after he'd told King Ahab that there would be a famine. The king's wife, Jezebel, didn't like the news too much, and went around slaughtering every prophet of God  she could find, but she and the king never did find Elijah. Then one day, God told Elijah to go find Ahab, and he obeyed.

Long story short, he proved to King Ahab that God was really God, and that the gods they were worshiping were worthless. The Baal's couldn't even light a fire under the sacrificial bull. But God did, at Elijah's prayerful request. Then, after killing all the prophets of the foreign gods, Elijah told the king to rush back to Jezreel, because a big rain was coming.

King Ahab did as instructed, and told his wife all about what had happened, and Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah, and he took off for the hills. Mountains, actually. After 40 days, he came to a cave in Mt. Sinai where God had directed him.

So that's where we pick up. God asked Elijah what he was doing there, and Elijah answered. From the text, i gather that he was pretty distraught, maybe downright panicky. Dare I suggest even a little whiny? Anyway, God told him to go stand in front of the mountain, and he did.

A huge wind came up. I don't mean just a typical windstorm, I mean this wind was so big it caused landslides on the mountain! Elijah must have been standing there with boulders crashing down all around him, but he remained unharmed.

Then God caused an earthquake. So while all these boulders were falling all around Elijah, the earth was also splitting open. Can you imagine? What a terrifying moment, or hour, or day, this must have been! Yet Elijah remained where he stood, still unharmed.

Then God sent fire. Not only is Elijah standing there, shaking in his sandals while big rocks are hurling at him and smashing everything in their path and the ground is cracking wide open all around, now lightning strikes a tree somewhere in the area and smoke begins filling his lungs, ash stings his eyes and the roar of fire fills his ears.

And then, as the fire is dying down to an ember, the stones have come to a resting place, and the calamity seems to be easing into aftermath, a soft, gentle whisper asks the very same question: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"


Ever been there? I think I have. Only a few thousand times or so. This is like that perfect illustration of my life, I think. So many instances where I'm overwhelmed by my circumstances, and wondering how I'm going to get through it all, and I cry out to God saying "Hey look! Remember me, God? I need your help down here!" And he reminds me that He is in control. He shows me that as long as I'm obeying Him, I'm protected! Then He brings everything to a stand-still and whispers to me, "have I got your attention now?"

God doesn't want us to listen to our own fears, or to the world's threats, or even to the falling of rocks and the roaring of fire. He's not going to let us get devoured by all that stuff. He just wants us to stand still and focus on His voice.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Teach Me Your Ways: by Deanna Marquart

Guest author, Deanna Marquart

This morning, I heard an interview on the radio with a man who founded a popular series of Christian videos for children.  I was surprised to discover the interview was focused on what he learned from having gone bankrupt and had to sell the company.  Of course, this news came as a surprise.  Although this happened a few years ago, I hadn’t heard about it.  But since it was a series that I had enjoyed, I decided to look on the web for information on what happened.  Amidst what I read, one element stuck out to me, and it is this element I desire to share.

Amidst the poor decisions he shared that had led to the downfall of his company, he had a burning heart’s desire to make an impact on today’s children with the message of God’s love and to influence them with godly values in a way that competed with today’s media.  And I wondered, why wouldn’t the Lord allow for this to happen?  The pressures on the youth today are even worse than when I was a child – and things were bad then!  Yet it seems the Lord has not blessed anyone to make a substantial counter-cultural voice for the youth to be influenced by.  Lord, why?

”For My thoughts are not your thought, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

It was then a series of thoughts and images flooded my mind that made it all clear. 

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:23) 

For the sake of preventing controversy, I shall refrain from trying to explain the other images.  Suffice it to say, the Lord brought to my focus two Christian industries that in the midst of spreading the Gospel en mass have in effect become just like the world in terms of the drive for self-exaltation, greed, envy, pride, judgmentalism, and other forms of corruption.  Should the Lord bless such a work, just because it “preaches” the Gospel?

This truth was a hard pill to swallow.  It seems as though the Lord prefers to work through the small rather than the large, even though the large to us seemingly has the greater magnitude.

[i]Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33)

Sure, I would have loved to have seen this company take off and take on the world!  But it pleased the Lord, rather, to work on this man’s heart by tearing down his pride instead.  

Show me Your glory, Lord!  Teach me Your ways.  Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake.  Guide me in Your truth.  Let not wickedness be found in My heart before You.  Purify me, Lord.  Your ways are perfect, holy and just.  Be exalted among the nations!  Be exalted in the Earth!  Worthy is Your name!  Amen.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fallen Treasures: by Deanna Marquart

Guest author, Deanna Marquart
Tonight while my mind was wandering through memories, as it often does when not occupied by something else, it fell upon memories that reminded me of how I seem to always miss out on things – either they end before I get there or start after I am gone. So you may understand what I mean, for as long as I’d heard the 7th grade had an annual field trip to the nearest amusement park, and I couldn’t wait for our turn. But my 7th grade year, the school decided that because it was not an educational activity there would be no more such field trips. I was crushed. On the other side, my church youth group really kicked off and engaged in all these great meetings, activities, and missions trips . . . the year after I left for college. My life seems to be caught in the middle of things but not quite making contact with any of them, always missing out. It made me feel sad.

As I was pondering my sorrow, the words to a song washed through my head:

He will be the Truth that will offend them one and all
A Stone that makes men stumble and a Rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
But many will be crushed and lose their own soul

(Song: “Scandalon” by Michael Card)

I don’t know about you, but for a long time I had been puzzled by the passage in Scripture:

"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 9:33)

Why would Christ (recognized to be the “stone”) cause men to stumble and fall? To my understanding, stumbling and falling were bad things, things caused by sin and the devil but not the Lord.

Yet the way Michael Card explained it, I could see what it means. In order to be made whole, one must first be broken. Yet those who resisted His wounding would be crushed.

I recalled how a long time ago, I had come to accept the understanding that the Lord desired for me to minister to the wounded through my own having been wounded. Because I had hurt, I could cry with those who hurt as well, and comfort them with this comfort I had received.

But in trying to use this explanation for suffering to encourage a friend who had been walking though pain, she got angry, wondering how if the purpose for wounding was to help others who were wounded, why did anyone have to get wounded? If no one got wounded, then there would be no reason for others to get wounded to help them out! Make sense?

Yet, as I contemplated the words to this song in light of my memories, I considered what was on the Lord’s heart for me personally through my wounding. 

How many people have come to Christ without having first been wounded?
How many learned the love of the Lord without having first fallen flat on their face?
How many people have drawn closer to the Lord apart from suffering?

It seems our greatest love for the Lord comes from having received His love after we have fallen. And I know that my greatest, most meaningful times of worship come when I worship Him amidst my pain.

“The Lord disciplines those He loves.” (Hebrews 12:6)

Thanking the Lord for my sorrow is not something I have ever truly done before. In fact, it is not even something I want to do. And yet the Lord is showing me that I can be thankful. If I could see the greater treasure in Him I have gained for having lost the other treasure of happy memories, then is there a reason to sorrow for having missed out on those things?

May our eyes be opened together to see what treasures our lives have gained through our having stumbled over the stone and fallen on the rock.


To the unobservant eye, that might have seemed like a typical devotion.  But for me it was big step.  After I wrote that, I sat back, bit my lip, and forced myself to say, “Th-th-ank . . . You, Lord . . . f-f-for . . . the suffering . . . in . . . my . . . life.”  It was the first time I ever said that and meant it.  (Before, I had said it “in faith” with absolutely no belief in what I was saying because I was told I needed to.  My heart wasn’t in it.  This time, it was.)

I can’t say then I noticed anything different, other than I no longer felt sorrowful over the pain of my past.  The next morning, however, I noticed that core “feeling” of depression wasn’t there anymore!  For the first time in my life, I truly felt good from the inside.  For the next few days, I was almost in a daze – like, is this for real?  Maybe I should have been jumping up and down for joy and sharing it with everyone, but I felt like I needed to be sure this actually “stuck” before I said anything.

As I reflect in myself (I’m an introspective person, constantly searching in my heart for what’s going on in me), I noticed that core feeling of hopelessness, wishing – well – that I could die, just wasn’t there anymore!

I can tell there is more to be healed.  But it is as if ahuge, huge chain had been broken off of me.

So, wow!  Yes!  Praise the Lord!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

God's Grace and a Goldfish

I'm taking the day off from my daily schedule, but I didn't want to leave my readers with nothing to read. So here is my testimony. Actually, here's just one of my testimonies. God's always doing really cool things in my life. If you'd like to share your testimony while I'm taking time off to visit my daughter's family, leave me a comment or contact me via email or on facebook! By the way, I apologize for the e.e. cummings style of ignoring capitalization rules, but I am copying this from a forum where I posted it years ago.

now, I'd grown up in a christian home. I'd accepted Christ as my savior at the age of 7, and never doubted His existence. but during my late teens i started running from God, and kept running for about ten years. at some point during that decade, i felt like God had probably turned me over to my reprobate mind, and if He hadn't, He should have.... i can't say i didn't believe He existed, but i guess i could say i didn't believe that I existed as far as He was concerned. and then one day, He proved He still loved me... enough to hear even my most trivial request...

when i was little, i would always beg my dad for a pony. i wanted a pony so bad, but what little girl doesn't? of course, dad's standard answer was that i wasn't old enough to be responsible for a pet, but that someday when i was, he'd buy me a goldfish. someday never came. guess even after growing up and having two kids, i still wasn't responsible enough to have a fish LOL. actually, i guess dad forgot.

anyway, I'd told a friend that once, and one day my friend surprised me with a goldfish, complete with a little bowl and rocks and plastic plants. but that goldfish didn't come with instructions. the water in that bowl got so murky i couldn't see the fish, so i figured I'd set out some water to change it with, and i did. i filled a metal pan with water and set it out overnight. next morning, bright and early, i got up and put the fish into the pan while i washed out the bowl and the rocks with dishwashing liquid. then i put the new water and the fish back in the bowl. it didn't take more than a few minutes before that goldfish was making nosedives to the bottom. i swear you could see him gasping for breath!

my kids were panicking asking what was wrong with him. i called the friend who'd bought me the fish and asked him what to do.... he asked what I'd set the water out in... i told him... he said NO!!! you're not supposed to aerate the water in a metal pan, because the metal contaminates the water! then he asked me what I'd rinsed the rocks with... dishwashing liquid? NO!!!! should have rinsed them with fresh water! then he asked if I'd put any of the chemicals in the bowl... chemicals? what chemicals? water treatment chemicals? what are those? my friend told me it was too late, there was no saving that little fish. my kids were pretty young back then, and when they heard that, they really went into tantrums. so i put them into the car and rushed up to petsmart. hahahaha, hurry up and wait, it was an hour before the store opened.

so i stood with the kids outside the door hoping someone would take pity and open up early. they didn't. when the store finally opened, i was in tears as i explained to the employee the situation. he looked pretty dubious... he said lady, by now that fish is dead. but here, buy these just in case (two little bottles of water treatment). if it's too late, you can always bring them back for a refund.

so i went home... the fish was upside down at the bottom of the bowl, but about every ten seconds it's little mouth would gape open and it's gills would open... he was barely alive. OK, it's worth a shot. the bottles said use one drop per gallon of water. there was no dropper, and the bowl was probably only a quart! what the heck, i just dumped in a little of each. probably enough chemicals for a fifty gallon tank, but what choice did i have? we watched, we waited, nothing changed. the kids were in hysterics, i was in hysterics, so finally i grabbed them both by the hands and drug them into the living room.

what are we doing mommy? we're gonna pray! we got on our knees in front of the couch, and i prayed out loud. God, if you're listening, heal that goldfish. show these little girls that you're REAL! and silently to myself, i added.... show ME you're real.... i knew God was real, I'd always known. but i had wandered so far away from Him that i didn't think He cared at all about me anymore, much less a stupid goldfish. we sat on the floor for about five minutes. finally i got up and we went back to the kitchen, resigned to see the fish finally dead. and what we saw was that little gold fish swimming around like nothing had ever happened. maybe some folks would say it was the overdose of water treatments that saved that fish. but i know better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 25: A House Divided

1 Kings 11:9-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
Click to view full size chart: Img in Public Domain
The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from theLord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 11 So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”

Now we're getting into one of the most difficult areas of Biblical history for me to follow. I thought about researching the Queen of Sheba and writing about her. I considered writing about Solomon's dedication of the temple, which I really found fascinating for the first time in my life. I considered giving a writing my thoughts about the stark contrast between Solomon's wisdom and his son's foolishness. I even gave a fleeting thought to describing an Asherah pole and what it was used for. But I knew none of that would help me get through the next several days as I chew through page after page, chapter after chapter, and even book after book (since it's repeated in both Kings and Chronicles) of all the different dynasties. 

So today is part one of the dissection of the kings. Wait, I suppose that didn't really sound right. LOL, I knew it wouldn't. Shock value, ya know? Seriously though, I've gotta try to understand when the various kings reigned, which ones were descended from David over in Judah, and which ones were over the rest of Israel... Which ones were the good guys, which were the bad guys, who was murdered and who died of Gangrene. I hope that I can make it interesting, because if I can't, I'm going to forever have premature senility when it comes to this stuff. Of course, that means this is going to be pretty darn long. I'll highlight the various kings according to the colors of the chart above; Pink for Israel and green for Judah. Hey, I didn't make the timeline image, I just borrowed it from the public domain!

So let's start with Solomon and go from there. Solomon screwed up in his old age. For someone so wise, he sure acted ignorant there at the end. He did exactly what God had told him not to do... He started appeasing all his wives, building them temples for their various gods, allowing shrine prostitutes all over the place, making sacrifices... and not just to any old gods, even though any of them would have been just as much cause for God's wrath, but he even worshiped some of the most detestable ones. Remember the god Molech, of the Ammonites, the one that God hated so badly because they even used human (child) sacrifices? Yeah, he was even bowing before that one. Really dumb.

So God told him that He was going to rip the kingdom into two segments after his son took the throne. His line of kings would get the smallest share, ruling only over Judah. God was going to give all the rest of Israel to the family of one of his servants, who turns out to be the son of Nebat, one of Solomon's officials. It was the prophet Ahijah who told Jeroboam the Ephraimite that he was going to be king over most of Israel after Solomon died. I guess God told Solomon who he was turning Israel over to, as well, because Solomon wanted to kill him, and the younger man fled for Egypt until the king's death.

So Rehoboam stepped up to the throne after his daddy died, and acted incredibly stupid. He made a lot of Israelites really mad when he made them work harder and pay more taxes. Only his own tribe, the tribe of Judah, stuck with him. He was 41 when he took the throne, and he ruled Judah for 17 years. Everyone else accepted Jeroboam as their king, and he reigned over Israel for 22 years. 

But Jeroboam didn't listen to God either. He had golden calves created to worship, and told the Israelites that the statues of the cows were now their gods, and that those hunks of gleaming metal had been responsible for bringing their forefathers out of Egypt. That sure didn't make God happy! So God ripped the kingdom from his hands and promised to utterly destroy the family dynasty. 

Now, after 17 or 18 years, Rehoboam died, leaving his son Abijam on the throne over Judah. Abijam's mom was Absalom's daughter, so after all this time, someone from that part of the family finally got to be king. It didn't last very long though. I don't know how he died, but he did, and his son Asa took over Judah during Jeroboam's 20th year over Israel.

Now Asa was a good guy. He was David's great-great-grandson, if I'm counting the generations right. (David-Absalom-Maacah-Abijam-Asa... yep, great-great grandson.) He deposed his mother from her position of Queen Mother because of her obscene Asherah pole, which he cut down and burned. He rid the land of the male and female prostitutes. He was faithful to God, and he ruled over Judah for 41 years. 

Meanwhile, Jeroboam died and his son Nadab became king of Israel. This was during Asa's second year. A year later, Baasha, the son of the prophet (Ahija) who had foretold of Jeroboam's family demise, came along and murdered Nadab (Jeroboam's son) and his whole family. He was a bad guy, though, and God promised to wipe out his family through someone else, just as he'd wiped out Jeroboam's family by his hand. (Is that clear as mud?) After 24 years, Baasha died and left the throne to his son, Elah.

When Elah became king of Israel, Asa had been king over Judah for 26 years. He (Elah) had a commander over half of his royal chariots named Zimri, and Zimri had his eye on the throne. So one day while they were in Tirzah, King Elah was getting drunker than a skunk at the home of Arza, who was the supervisor over the king's palace. In comes Zimri... I'm not sure if Arza was part of the scheme, or if he just let Zimri in because he didn't suspect anything unusual was up, but in any case, Zimri struck Elah down and killed him, then and there. He inserted himself as king, and then killed the entire royal family, including the smallest child. He even destroyed distant relatives, and friends of Elah. He wasn't leaving anything to chance. 

It didn't help him though. His kingship was short-lived. He ruled for a whopping seven days before the rest of the Israeli army got wind of it. They were a big taken aback. They didn't want Zimri, because he had committed treason by assassinating Elah, so they elected Omri, the commander of the army, as the new king. Omri and the army went to Tirzah, which was the capital city, and attacked. Zimri went into the citadel of the palace, set a fire, and died in the flames. I gather it was intentional suicide.

So now Omri was technically king, but half the people of Israel tried to make some guy named Tibni their king. They battled back and forth for a couple of years until finally Tibni was killed, and Omri's kingship was official. At this time, Asa had been ruling Judah for 31 years. Omri built a city on a hill that he purchased, and called the city Samaria. But he was a bad guy, too, and after 12 years (including the time before Timri was killed), he died, and his son Ahab became the next king.

Ahab ruled Israel during the last few years of Asa's reign and he stayed king for 22 years. But he was a bad guy, too. He did more to make God mad than any of the other kings. He married Jezebel, the Sidonian princess, he began to bow down and worship Baal, he built a temple and an altar to Baal in Samaria, and he set up an Asherah pole. During all this time, Heil,  guy from Bethel, tried to rebuild Jericho. His attempts cost the lives of all his family, just as God had long ago forewarned.

Shortly after Ahab became established as King over Israel, Asa, the king of Judah, died. His feet were severely diseased. Of course, we don't know what the disease was, but the only kind of foot disease I can think of that would be bad enough to kill someone is Gangrene. At his death, his son, Jehoshaphat, became the new king of Judah.

And that, folks, is as far as I've gotten. I'm glad, too, because my wrists need a break!

My oldest daughter and her family are arriving in town tomorrow, and staying for a week. I'm only mentioning this because I may take a few days off during this time from my studying. I'll try to keep the blog going every day, though, and would be very happy if any of my readers would volunteer to contribute! Just leave me a comment, or contact me through Facebook, Worthy, or by email. Otherwise, I'll fill in with material I've written in the past. Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 24: Three Men & A Girl

1 Kings 2:13-17

New Living Translation (NLT)
© Jorge Royan / / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Solomon Establishes His Rule

13 One day Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, came to see Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. “Have you come with peaceful intentions?” she asked him.
“Yes,” he said, “I come in peace. 14 In fact, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it?” she asked.
15 He replied, “As you know, the kingdom was rightfully mine; all Israel wanted me to be the next king. But the tables were turned, and the kingdom went to my brother instead; for that is the way the Lord wanted it. 16 So now I have just one favor to ask of you. Please don’t turn me down.”
“What is it?” she asked.
17 He replied, “Speak to King Solomon on my behalf, for I know he will do anything you request. Ask him to let me marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem.”

I've mentioned my fascination with the women in scripture. Abishag seems to be a bit of a mystery. I've spent a couple of hours trying to research her, and it seems that everybody has an opinion pertaining to her. It is believed by most that she is the woman whom the Songs of Solomon is written about, and when I get to that book, I'll probably assume that perspective.

But for the sake of this story, we'll just stick to the facts at hand, and try not to inject too much of the many theories I've read. King David was really old, and so frail that no amount of blankets could keep the man warm. Thinking that the attentions of a young woman might warm him up, his most trusted servants went on the hunt for a beautiful virgin. They found Abishag, a Shunammite girl who was very beautiful. Jewish history sources say that she was a rare beauty, and compare her loveliness to that of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

She was brought to the king to serve as his personal attendant both in and out of bed, and although it is presumed that she did sleep in his bed, scripture is very clear that they were never intimate... which meant that she was still a virgin and still available for David's successor to take as a wife. That would be the only person who would have a rightful claim to her, because  being regarded as one of David's closest servants, only another king would be allowed to make use of her in any capacity.

The time was coming when David would need to abdicate the thrown, but he'd been dragging his heels about it. He had promised to appoint Solomon, his son with Bathsheba, and as far as I know that was probably common knowledge around town. But there was an older brother, who according to birthright, should have been next in line to be king, since he was the oldest living son. Like his brother Absalom, he figured he'd have to find some other way to get there, because he knew his dad wasn't going to just hand him the keys to the kingdom. He figured he'd get away with it though, because the Bible says that David had never disciplined him at all.

And like his brother, Adonijah used his wit and charm to gain popularity and get a whole lot of people on his side, including many of those who had served David in trusted positions during his entire reign. People like Joab, and Abiathar, who helped him conspire to take over. So he threw himself a party, and declared himself king.

Meanwhile, David still had many of his best buds firmly in his camp, and one of them, Nathan the prophet, went to Bathsheba to discuss how they could get David to relinquish the throne. It would have to be done quickly. So Bathsheba went to David and had a little talk with him that went something like this.

Bathsheba: "Hey honey, remember when you promised that our boy, Solomon, would take over the family business when you got too old to run it?

David: "Yes, I remember"

Bathsheba: "Well you'd better make good on your promise quick, because that spoiled kid you had with Haggith is throwing himself a coronation party as we speak. He's made sacrifices already, and he's invited everyone to attend... Everyone, that is, except for you, me, Solomon, Zadok or Benaiah."

About that time, Nathan comes in and interrupts...

Nathan: My lord, are you aware of what your kid is doing? He's down there partying and sacrificing animals with Joab and Abiathar, and a whole slew of other people, and they're all hailing him as the new king! You never did keep that boy in line, but you sure need to do something now!"

So David assured Bathsheba he would make good on his promise that day, and arranged for it to happen. He sent Solomon to Gihon Spring riding the kings own personal steed (the Bible refers to it as David's mule, but I've always imagined a beautiful Arabian horse.) Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the bodyguard went with him there and annointed him with olive oil. They blew the ram's horn, they shouted "long live the king" (King Solomon, that is), and then escorted him back to the palace where he took his place in daddy's chair. A long procession followed him back, playing flutes, shouting for joy, and making so much ruckus that the whole earth shook... and Adonijah and his little party heard the noise.

This not only scared Adonijah, it scared all those who were with him, too... like Joab and Abiathar. They all went slinking back to their homes, except for Adonijah, who went into the temple and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar, begging for his life. Solomon told him to go home, that he wouldn't kill him for what had happened earlier that day.

But Adonijah still had a card up his sleeve. He'd have been luckier if he'd had an ace, but all he had was a queen... kinda. He went to Bathsheba, and asked her to intercede on his behalf with her son, the newly crowned King. The scriptures make it sound like she was pretty indifferent to him, so I'll relate it that way.

Adonijah: "Hey there, Bathsheba. Can I talk to you a sec?"

Bathsheba: "Depends on whether you're trying to start trouble or not."

Adonijah: "No, I'm here peacefully, I just have a request, I thought you might intercede for me with Solomon."

Bathsheba:  (sigh) "What is it you want, Adonijah?"

Adonijah: "Well, you know that I should have been the next king. It was my birthright, and Israel wanted me, too. But for whatever reason, Dad decided to skip me and give the throne to Solomon. And I didn't protest, I didn't fight it. I could have done a lot of things, I could have fought for my rightful place, but I didn't. So fine, I'll accept that. It's what dad wanted. I just would like one little thing."

Bathsheba: (rolls her eyes) "And what exactly do you want in return for all that thoughtfulness?"

Adonijah: "I want to marry Abishag."

There it is... proof that he's still trying to find a back way in and claim  the throne. He knew that since his dad hadn't ever been intimate with her, that she wasn't off-limits to him... except for the king thing. Only a king could have what had belonged to the previous king. If his younger brother was foolish enough to grant his mother's request and extend such an olive branch to Adonijah, he would inadvertently give up his new position and give it to his older brother.

We don't know why Bathsheba agreed to make the request. I'm sure she knew of the rules that would prohibit such a thing. Perhaps this was her way of letting her son know that his older half-brother was still scheming against him. So she took the request to her son, and instead of granting the request, he had Adonijah executed that same day.

Who would have thought one pretty young virgin could have such an impact in one family?