I am currently being inspired by the accounts of ministers from the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) re: revival and, specifically, the condition of the church immediately right before the Kilsyth revival of 1839.
It’s like I am reading the condition of the church in North America right now.
Then, in my reading this morning, in 2 Chronicles 11, I ran into a stark warning for the church today re: how we have arrived at the current condition of much of the church in North America.
In 2 Chronicles 10, Rehoboam refuses to listen to the wise counsel of his father’s elders, and causes a split of Israel into two divisions… the northern tribes and Judah and Benjamin in the south.
A fascinating element of the story of division is the call of God on a man named Jeroboam, who, in God’s foreknowledge, anticipated Rehoboam’s youthful arrogance and provided the northern kingdom with a king… Jeroboam.
But it is what Jeroboam did with his leadership of the northern tribes that serves as a warning for the church in North America.
1. Jeroboam fired the priests and Levites who lived in the northern tribes. This was because he had in mind a religion of his own making for the north and any priest or Levite faithful to the Torah could not be tolerated.
2. Jeroboam then appointed his own priests who would be loyal to the “goat and calf idols that he had made.” He had to have a unified message for the people, even if it was perverted.
3. Jeroboam then built two new temples at which the people would worship the goat and calf idols and hear sermons that would confirm their idolatry. These were located specifically for the convenience and comfort of the people (at Dan and Bethel) so they would not have to travel all the way to Jerusalem. The genesis of seeker – sensitive consumerism.
But it is the reaction of the priests, Levites, and some of the people from the northern tribes to Jeroboam’s initiatives, that is encouraging to a remnant of God’s people in North America today.
1. The Levites abandoned their lands and holdings in the north and moved to Judah rather than compromise their calling to the prevailing culture.
• Application: The priority for leadership is to stay true to God’s call and invest in an atmosphere where God can move and meet with His people.
2. A remnant of the people from the north also left their homes and moved south so that they could remain true to God’s Word and worship at the Temple where His name dwelt.
• Application: Do whatever it takes to be where God is moving. My priority is to raise my family where God is moving. Every other consideration is secondary.
3. Later, as the kings of the northern tribes became increasingly perverted and evil, God raised up and met with remnant communities of faithful believers in the north called “schools of the prophets.” These were not groups of people learning how to prophesy. These were God-followers gathered in places like Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho; maybe even Carmel, to encourage each other and stay true to God’s covenant with His people.
Application: When you find a place where God is moving, your priority is to throw your energy into preserving, protecting and propagating the move of God there so others can come and be blessed in His presence.