Question:

My sister was in jail and while there she took an interest in religion. But when she got out of jail, she no longer has any interest in Bible study or religion. That makes me sad. Only when she was locked up and away from distractions was she focused on our Lord.

As for myself, I have been reading the Bible front to back, taking my time. I look up things to get a better understanding and ask my preacher questions as well. Right now I'm in I Kings 12. I've come to a part that I'm curious about. In verse 24 God says "This is from me." What I understand is that God didn't want Israel to fight among themselves. I feel he was saying, I command you not to fight your bretheren because I said so, "this is from me." Please tell me if this is correct.

On Wednesday nights we are reading a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. It's the very first Christian book I ever read that wasn't the Bible. It's interesting and I'm learning things, but the author makes me often say outloud "Hmmm. Are you sure you know what you're talking about?" or "I think you're misinterperating the Bible with that paragraph." At any rate, there is a part in the book where she talks about how God ends a chapter in our lives, or He cuts out bad people, or how we have to learn to let go of things: dead ends, failed possibilites, etc. She says we can fight them or accept them as "This thing is from me." That God makes that statement for us to trust Him and let go of the things He's taking away from us for our own good.

I understand what she is saying completely and using that statement can help others cope understand or deal with problems. I just thought the statement meant something else as I read it from I Kings 12:24.

I'm cautious to say she took the Bible out of context, but do you see what I'm getting at here? Maybe I'm not understanding. I'm just curious. Let me know what you think and get back to me when you can.

God bless.


Answer:

It is very common for prisoners to revert back to old ways once they are out of prison. In prison, they are bored and look for things to do. They don't have the temptations and friends pushing them to do wrong. Thus, they behave differently in jail than out of jail.

In I Kings 12:24, God is telling the Israelites who think they should be trying to force the divided kingdom back together that they are wasting their time. God doesn't want them fighting and the reason for the split was because God said it would happen (I Kings 11:29-38). It was punishment for the way King Solomon had mishandled situations. They can't repair what God broke.

Any book you read from a human author should be examined carefully. People make mistakes, even the best of authors. The problem here is that in I Kings 12:24, God tells Israel that the split is His doing. In our own lives we can only guess whether a problem is by God's decree or not. The book is telling people to decide what God has decreed. Better is to realize that we can't live our lives wallowing in the past. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

For instance, in the case of your sister, you tried. You showed her the truth and she rejected it, at least for now. Leave the lines of communications open, but it is time to move on. Nagging her isn't going to get her to change. There are too many other people who need to hear the gospel and will respond to it to waste precious time on someone who is currently not interested.