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Consider Prince Abijah, the son of…….. ….. King Jeroboam.

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Source: 1 Kings ch. 14 (The Bible)

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  There are 11 words¹ in this

chapter that are mysterious

by what they leave out.

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For more use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   Before we identify those 11 words, let’s examine the context:

   Crown Prince Abijah is seriously ill. His father, King Jeroboam² who’s distinguished himself by being notoriously evil, is seriously worried. He sends his wife, in disguise, to the nearly blind true prophet of God, Ahijah, to find out if his son will get well. Ahead of time the Lord tells Ahijah what’s happening.

   When the Queen in disguise comes in, Ahijah says, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam; why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with heavy tidings for you. Go tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you leader over my people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you….and (you) have done evil above all that were before you…provoking me to anger…I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam…and will utterly consume the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone.

   “Any one (of Jeroboam’s family) who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat…

   “Arise therefore [wife of Jeroboam], go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child [Prince Abijah] shall die and all Israel will mourn for him, and bury him; for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave [here come the 11 words], because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord…”

   His reward from God? A premature death from illness, a public mourning, and a burial (presumably in the royal “cemetery”).  

   What is the take-away here?

   (1)  First, we don’t know exactly how Abijah was found “pleasing to the Lord.” Perhaps because he was young–we don’t know how young–and he had a sincere relationship with God and was upset or disturbed by all the evil around him. (Often it’s hard to be very good or content in very bad places.) Most likely, there was “no way out” for him to keep on pleasing God–on Earth.

   (2)  Second, please accept a given of Biblical faith: A person’s life on Earth is only a tiny fraction of that person’s total existence. A person continues to exist after death.

   (3)  Ahijah, then goes to meet God after he dies, God sparing him the horrors that followed for the rest of his family.

   (4)  Okay then, is this fair? We can’t answer that, or even respond well to it in a few words. All I can say is that I would welcome God finding something about me and telling me that it was “pleasing to the Lord”–regardless of circumstances.

   (5)  We shouldn’t forget that this is a narrative part of the Bible. This event happened. It is not a promise that God will do the same thing for us and our families.

   (6)  It does, however, remind us that what God has done once He may do again if it suits his plans.

   (7)  We must not forget that God promises to take care of his children not only in Heaven, but on their timelines on Earth. How He does this obviously varies. Consider the narrative parts of the Gospels (adding in a bit of tradition) as they describe what happened to 3 apostles: James (the elder brother of John), Peter, and John. All sat at Jesus’ feet and loved and worshipped Him. James was suddenly grabbed and beheaded; Peter was jailed, miraculously released, and later (according to tradition) was crucified upside down; and John lived a long life, writing several books of the Bible and (according to tradition) died a natural death. These things happened. It would be presumptuous to “claim” some promise from God to have a long, productive life like John. Jesus and Paul made it clear that God will always be with those who love Him, but they should expect suffering along the way–as Jesus and Paul experienced in their own lives.

   (8)  We have an instinctive sense of fair play, but we don’t live alone in a perfect world. As a person I deeply respect once told me, “Things happen.” Isn’t it refreshing when people at the right time underline the obvious? Much of what goes on in the world that affects us, we have no control of. What to do about this? Act as Jesus did. Love God (for Jesus it was God-the-Father), and love those around us as ourselves, continually proclaiming by deeds and words the Gospel–come what may.

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   ¹ We’re using the Revised Standard Version (RSV) here. Note by the ellipses several portions of this extensive narrative are deleted. We recommend you read the entire chapter 14 from a Bible.

   ² After King David’s son King Solomon died, the kingdom of Israel split into the “Northern Kingdom” of 10 tribes, and the “Southern Kingdom” made of the other 2 tribes. God allowed King Jeroboam to become king of the Northern Kingdom (often referred to as “Israel”) while the Southern Kingdom (referred to as “Judah”) continued under King Solomon’s son Rehoboam. Jeroboam rapidly became extremely wicked.