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Monday, May 29, 2017

Conditional Blessings

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as He had done before at Gibeon. (1 Kings 9:2 NLT)

When The LORD shows up, we pay attention.  When The LORD speaks, we listen.  It’s just the right thing to do.  The LORD is appearing to Solomon in a face-to-face manner for the second time, now.  The first time, Solomon asked for and received wisdom.  Now, The LORD wants to talk about Solomon’s future.

"As for you, if you will follow Me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all My commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: 'One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.' (1 Kings 9:4-5 NLT)

These are two great meetings!  In the first one, God not only granted Solomon wisdom.  The LORD also promised to give Solomon riches and power, too.  Now, The LORD is promising blessings beyond Solomon’s lifetime.  Solomon’s descendants will reign as kings of Israel from generation to generation!

"But if you or your descendants abandon Me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor My name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. (1 Kings 9:6-7 NLT)

Sometimes, The LORD gives us good gifts just because The LORD is The LORD.  We have air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat all because of the goodness of The LORD.  Sometimes, though, good gifts are offered to us as one side of a coin.  On one side we find the promise for more good gifts.  We call them blessings.  On the other side of the coin, though, is the promise for negative repercussions.  We call those curses.  Each one, though, is a promise from The LORD based on a set of conditions or choices.

And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will shake their heads in amazement. They will ask, 'Why did the LORD do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?' (1 Kings 9:8 NLT)

These conditional blessings (and curses) are all coming from a God who loves us and wants what is best for us.  That is why The LORD warns us against choices that will cause us pain, suffering, and death.  The warning itself is an act of love.  It is roughly equivalent to, “Don’t put your hand in the fire or you will get burned.  It will hurt and you could die.”  These promises (and warnings) are given to us out of the goodness of God.  They are given to us ahead of time because God loves us.  In the end, though, it is up to us.  We get to choose.

"And the answer will be, 'Because His people abandoned the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the LORD has brought all these disasters on them.'" (1 Kings 9:9 NLT)

How about you?  Do you see places where The LORD showers you with blessings regardless of whether you believe in or walk with God?  Do you see places in your life where the blessings (or curses) are conditional?  Which promises do you choose?