While reading the commentaries for this book I realized that my hubby Joseph had been teaching the same message over this last year, which is “God is on the throne, and we must surrender to HIS will.” What is God’s agenda and how are we to follow it? We need to do God’s will and work rather than just any ol’ good works, so it glorifies the King. It’s become a mantra at our house.
After weeks of watching the news and the Republicans quest for leadership, we all got to watch this month as a new Speaker of the House was chosen – Congressman Mike Johnson. I was surprised when he told the world that he was a Christian and then asked for God’s wisdom. That takes much bravery and courage, and it was refreshing to see someone give glory to God. His track record suggests that he is a just and fair leader. It reminded me of the book of 1 Kings. Could God bless a nation once again that surrendered to His Lordship? Would that service look like a surrender to God or would it, like in times past, just be an excuse to polarize people and attach God’s name to whatever viewpoint or agenda someone had in that moment? Leaders now, like in 1 Kings, can sometimes get an idea and then demand that God bless, anoint, and put His seal of approval on it with little gratefulness or continued seeking for His will.
Jesus gives us the best picture when He surrenders to God and then simply states, “Follow me.” That phrase is not meant to say run alongside or surpass but to walk lock-step behind. This is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Accompany means to go along with the One leading the way. It is rare in our society and sadly, even more rare in the church. Unity comes when hearts are postured to obey Christ and pursue Kingdom goals. When the King is given first place, the rest of the company gets in order quickly.
Huang Sabin in his commentary on 1 Kings, tells us:
Most of us live in countries that are republics. To us, the throne has very little meaning. Some of us live in countries where there is still a king or queen. But they possess very little real power or authority. We have no idea how a real kingdom should be ruled. But God is King of His Kingdom. The Church is not a democracy. It never was, it never has been, and it never will be. Many Christians have relegated God to a symbolic headship. We do what we want. Oh yes, sometimes we get His approval for our plans. But we do not wait for His instructions to carry out His plans. The books of 1 and 2 Kings focus on the throne of Israel. But this throne had a unique feature – God promised that He would preserve that throne ONLY if the one sitting on it realized that there was another higher throne above it. That higher throne belongs to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 
In spite of our numerous opinions and belief systems, God is still KING and still enthroned. He is sovereign and He IS Lord.
I greatly appreciate Bill Bright’s visual on letting Jesus rule from the throne of one’s heart. He (in his writings and leadership) would show a picture of a chair and ask, “who is on the throne of your heart?” Who leads your life most – your family, friends, enemies? The opinions of others? When Jesus is the authority on the throne of our hearts, life can be peaceful. When we cater to others’ ideas and opinions our lives run amuck. First Kings is a good reminder of this. The various Kings allowed wives, friends, and others to dictate how they led. Idolatry and adultery greatly impacted their lives. Are we any different today? Holiness is not just a good idea – it’s essential for carrying out God’s orders. We look at the culture, the government, and even the church and can see that lives led by so many “voices” have left us shipwrecked and stuck in the sand.
The contrast between these Kings and the two wild prophets also mentioned in 1 Kings is great. The King of Heavens two princes, Elijah and Elisha had one mission – follow God and lead His people. They were not self-appointed; they had no crown or palace, but they were appointed by God and in a mirky mix of Kings– they followed THE King.
Two things that caught my attention this month: the Judean Kings were required to say who their mothers were when accepting their title. This intrigues me. Mothers who were not idolatrous or adulterous were important. I also ask champions I meet (athletes, preachers, etc.) what they fed their kid for breakfast and how did they do devotional times. I’ve learned a lot from these answers.
The other thing that caught my attention was the wording “princess Jezebel.” I love princesses and royalty and every little girl grows up at some point wearing a tiara and twirling around. But this was no Disney princess. She was a domineering tyrant. Her character was one to not emulate, not a leader to follow. She was petty, paranoid, and cruel. I was thrilled to hear recently that pop princess Taylor Swift showed a servant’s heart when she cleaned up the Chief’s viewing box when she visited Kansas City. She was picking up soda cans and serving the Kelce family. We all know real princesses are ambassadors but also servants. We live through them and pretend somehow they are different than us at our core. Jezebel was the opposite of a real princess and negatively impacted an entire nation. Her spirit lives on in women (and men) who covet, envy, gossip, hate, and act wickedly today. The Prince of Peace gave us the best example – a combination of God surrendered leadership and a servants heart.
The prophets were intimidated by Jezebel and Ahab — but they kept going.
The prophets did not get their marching orders from people– but from God. Jezebel (and those like her) do not get their marching orders from God. They do the things that feel good or tickle their fancy. They manufacture things from their own will or spirit. Jezebel did not have the mind of God and her jealousy, hatred, and ambition forced her, compelled her to do things opposite of God’s will and God’s heart. She not only envied Naboth, but her envy turned into murder. These are not small things. Wicked thoughts, words, and actions are not neutral — they grow, they supplant, they take over. Instead of worship, they plotted. Instead of praise, they slandered. They spread their opinions instead of God’s truth. But this is not Jezebel’s problem – it is our problem — if we do not go to God in prayer.
If we do not continue in prayer.
If we do not repent for harbored thoughts, words, and actions. Throughout the years I’ve studied this book and it’s been interesting to me the numbers of people that apply these characters flaws on others, but rarely themselves. I’ve cried many tears over the women falsely characterized by them for merely trying to step out in ministry. Surely those character assassinations grieve God’s heart. We should be asking, “how am I like or unlike these Biblical examples?”
Personal altars in devotion daily, family altars of devotion weekly, church altars — are not for counting heads or giving bucky beavers badges for stepping forward. It can’t replace real repentance. God’s not looking for a roll call, He’s looking for surrendered hearts. Altars are intended to deeply invoke repentance, calls for renewal, exhortations for change and growth.
RESTORE THE ALTARS – personal, family, church, nation.
We see fiery Elijah and Elisha and they seem like crazy, wooly old men fighting for God in the midst of a royal mess. They are not “normal” church folk. Show me where normal is even a thing in the Bible. Next, we see Jesus, turning over tables, crying out on God’s behalf to restore the temple and prayer. He never was “normal” church folk. Where are we in this picture? IF God is restored to His proper place, it looks like we have cleared our hearts, adjusted our spiritual posture, and renewed our minds to let the King come and sit upon our lives as Lord. There’s nothing normal about that. If normal means “tepid, lukewarm, apathetic” then we should choose anything but that. We must be prophetic worshippers and pray-ers who know that God is up to a challenge, up to defending His own name and showing Himself to the people that He is a not only powerful but LORD.
If we want God to be restored to our family, we need to clean out our homes, physically but also spiritually. I have a friend who went to her house, took down the T.V. and smashed it in front of her children, declaring that their house needed to be dedicated to Christ. Radical? Perhaps but her children are honoring God now. Throwing out anything that hinders is an act of contrition and worship. What if we scrubbed every app on our phone that kept us from prayer? What if our church altars were swept clean of decorations, advertising and other things and tissues, pillows, Bibles littered the room for those wanting to return to the Sovereign, holy God? 
Let’s not just casually rest, talking about these Kings as if we were any different. We too have listened to our spouses and friends and cultural norms and ignored Biblical wisdom and the Holy Spirit. If that were not true, our churches and government would be different. We disregard truth and allow junk in our hearts and homes. Where are the whips, the prayers, the fiery prophets? I’m not sure how the grace of God and the mercy of Jesus wraps itself around these instructions. I don’t know the exact lessons on how to confront a bad princess or horrible king, but I do understand letting Christ sit on the throne of my heart. I can measure how long it’s been since He was completely LORD in my life. I can measure how long it’s been since altar ministry was common and frequent. I can think of and miss the feel of carpet on my face at the altar and the wetness on my face from flowing tears (repentance, forgiveness, and grace).
Elisha prayed for a double anointing and received it. He got twice the miracles Elijah did. Our nation needs a godly king. The odds of you or me being that person is very slim but the possibility of being a prophetic voice – much higher.
There is no ceiling on the possibility of wanting to be a prayed-up Christian who affects the nation, however. Where did the prophets, pastors, and preachers go when Biden became president? Did their marching orders change? I think not. Should we blame then the president or those who shrunk into the caves? God is not lacking for Ravens or thirsty dogs. He is lacking for people to hear Him, submit to Him and obey. I don’t see people stepping in line to be the next Elisha either, yet. What if this night is YOUR night of reckoning? What if this night is YOUR night to say yes to God? Would you ask, would you accept the mantle, would you speak forth?
Watch all the news you want, but then please gather some wood, some buckets of water, and remember your God. Three buckets, six buckets, nine buckets…..
If we want more than that . . . we first place God back in charge. We surrender to the Lordship of His son, and we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives. It doesn’t matter if you are a day or a year rusty (or more). The way back is the same – Jesus, forgive me for my absence. Forgive me for looking or listening to others instead of you. Forgive me for my sin, pride, xyz (whatever that looks like in your life). Make me whole, cleanse me, forgive me, free me, and make me useful for your Kingdom, YOUR will, Your purposes. I give you my life. Direct my steps, my will, my tongue, and be on the throne of my heart. I’m yours – glorify Yourself through me. I yield to you now. Amen.
1 Peter 2:9 tells us: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
The replacement for prophet, priest, and King is Jesus. Elijah and Elisha are great examples. Who will be examples for this generation? Who will yield themselves in this hour? Where are you and where is YOUR God?
Surrendering with you, RenaeRoche2023
 Huang Sabin. OT Made Simple. P. 69.
 Renae Roche.