Joyce Meyer had this to say about priorities and putting God and His Kingdom first.
There are so many things that clamor for our attention and devotion: our jobs, our kids, our spouses, our hobbies – the demands and distractions of life. And we have to be careful not to let them become more important or more of a priority than our relationship with God.
In this week’s podcast, we will continue to look at the danger of putting family ahead of the Kingdom.
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You can view a basic transcript of this podcast at the bottom of this section.
Accept the Challenge
Each week’s podcast contains a call to action. The Word of God will not produce in your life unless you put into operation.
This week’s call is:
The top spot in your life should be, must be, ought to be the Kingdom of God. It must be number one among all other priorities. If you desire to put the Kingdom first, then you must constantly make choices between things which will try and compete for the top spot.
Join the Conversation
Each week’s podcast also contains a question designed to encourage testimony. Testimony is vital to a believer’s life. We overcome by it (Rev. 12:11).
This week’s question is:
Question: How do you show the Lord that He is first in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can find additional information on the subject of the Kingdom of God in the resources listed below.
- #S3-044: What is the Kingdom of God? [Podcast]
- #S3-045: What Does The Future Kingdom of God Look Like? [Podcast]
- #S3-046: How Important in the Kingdom of God Are the Kings Kids? [Podcast]
- #S3-047: Why the Lordship of Jesus Is the Linchpin of Kingdom Authority [Podcast]
- #S3-048: The Great Need to Flow in the Authority of God [Podcast]
- #S3-049: Why It’s Tremendously Important to Take Your Stand [Podcast]
- #S3-050: Four Reasons Why You Have More Authority than the Enemy [Podcast]
- #S4-001: What Do Priorities in the Kingdom of God Look Like? [Podcast]
- #S4-002: The Danger of Putting Family First Ahead of the Kingdom of God [Podcast]
Emery committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ over 40 years ago and has served as both a full-time pastor and an itinerant minister. Both he and his wife Sharon of 35 years emphasize personal growth and development through the Word of God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is both the focus and the hallmark of their mission. Read more about them here.
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- Last week, we took a look at two things Jesus said about family.
- He said He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.
- There’s more He said about it and we’ll take a further look but Jesus wasn’t the only who weighed in on the idea of ‘Kingdom first.’
Bible Examples of Putting the Kingdom Above Family
How Asa Put the Kingdom First
- Asa was the third king of Judah.
- He succeeded Abijah, the second king of Judah, whom the Bible says did evil in the sight of the Lord.
1 Kings 15:3 (ESV) — 3 And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
Asa Removed His Mother from the Throne
- Here’s what Asa did.
1 Kings 15:13 (KJV) — 13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
- King Asa removed his own mother from her royal position as queen.
- He did it because of her propensity to idolatry.
- So then, the welfare of the kingdom of Israel was more important to Asa than his relationship with his own mother.
- Asa put the Kingdom comes before family.
- The blessing of God was more valuable to Asa than not rocking the boat in his family.
- What do you think the relationship was between Asa and his momma after Asa did what he did?
- Do you think they were on good speaking terms?
- Or, do you think maybe she was highly irritated with her son?
- Maybe she even played the ‘I brought into this world’ line?
- You know the one that’s designed to bring on a heavy guilt trip.
- Do you think everything was all lovey-dovey in the Asa family?
- Momma Asa, the now ex-queen, probably skipped Thanksgiving dinner.
- She may have even refused to come to Christmas dinner.
- You know I’m playing around here.
- Those holidays didn’t exist at that time.
- What about the birth of Asa’s children?
- Do you think Momma Asa brought gifts to the baby shower?
- Do you think that maybe, just maybe, there was some tension in that family?
- Here’s the huge application for you and me here.
- What would you do in this case, if it was your mother?
- Are you sure the Kingdom is first with you?
Eli Didn’t Put the Kingdom First
1 Samuel 3:1 (KJV) — 1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
- So, the Word of the Lord was precious in the days of Samuel.
- The Hebrew word for ‘precious’ means rare or scarce.
- It means coming only at long intervals.
- There was no open vision.
- This means that the Spirit did not manifest Himself much in the revelation gifts of the Spirit: the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom or Discerning of Spirits.
- The Spirit of God did manifest but there were long intervals of time between occurrences.
- Eli was the High Priest and judge over Israel at this time.
- He held the position for forty years.
- Since Eli was the High priest, that meant he had the anointing working in his life.
- Only three types of people had the anointing in the Old Testament; prophets, priests, and kings.
- But despite having the anointing, Eli had problems on the home front.
1 Samuel 2:12 (KJV) — 12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
- The phrase ‘sons of Belial’ means worthless men.
- The Hebrew has it as having no qualities that would render it valuable or useful.
- What a sad commentary on the lives of these two boys.
- They had no qualities that would render them valuable or useful.
What the Lord Thought of Eli’s Parenting Style
- The Lord had something to say about the state of affairs in the Eli household.
1 Samuel 3:11–13 (ESV)
11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.
- God said that He was going to judge Eli because he did not restrain his children.
- The Hebrew word ‘restrain’ is a verb and it means to rebuke, to censure severely or angrily.
- Eli never called his sons on the carpet for what they did.
- He never censured them.
- Eli never told them no.
- He never disciplined, frowned upon, or jumped their case.
- Eli never restrained the behavior of his sons.
- Maybe Eli got sucked into this whole ‘reason with the child’ philosophy which seems so prevalent today.
- ‘Reasoning with the child’ is not the Bible way to raise children.
- The Word says to train them up.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) — 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- Do you see ‘reason with the child’ in Proverbs 22:6?
Proverbs 13:24 (KJV) — 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
- Do you see ‘reason with the child’ in Proverbs 13:24?
Eli Didn’t Love His Kids
- He hated his children according to the Bible.
- If you don’t put boundaries in place for children, you are not loving them.
- When you are raising children, you must make a choice about your parenting style.
- Are you going to be the child’s friend or are you going to be their parent?
- Trying to be both at the same time, doesn’t work.
- What works is be the parent first and then after you have finished raising them, be friends.
- Eli thought he was loving his boys by not restraining them, by not putting up boundaries for them, by letting them do whatever they wanted to do.
- God was watching the whole thing.
- What was the outcome of Eli’s parenting style?
Corrupt Sons and God’s Offerings
1 Samuel 2:12–17 (NKJV) — 12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. 13 And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.
- Eli’s boys were sons of Belial, wicked men, they knew not the Lord.
Does Your Parenting Style Lead to Reproach of God’s Kingdom
- They made others abhor the offerings of God by their greedy unchecked example.
- They brought a reproach upon the Kingdom of God.
- God had given specific instructions for handling the peace offering to the priests.
- They were supposed to bring the fat and the shoulder.
- Then the priest was to take the fat and burn it upon the altar first.
- Afterward, they were to take the shoulder and wave it before the Lord.
- After all of this was accomplished, then a part of that offering would go to the priest to sustain him and his family.
- The sacrifice which was laid out pointed to this Kingdom first principle.
- Give God His due first.
- These wicked sons reversed the order.
- They wanted their part first, then the Lord could have the leftovers.’
- As a result, they treated the offerings of God with irreverence.
- But that’s not all these boys did.
There is Right Sex and Wrong Sex
1 Samuel 2:22 (ESV) – 22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
- The two sons of Eli were committing fornication with the women that were doing God service at the Tent door (Exodus 38:8).
- It’s wrong for a pastor or church leaders to sleep around with the women in the church.
- The judgment of God will come upon those who engage in this type of behavior.
- Eli heard what his sons were doing.
- Did you notice what the scripture said, ‘He kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel?’
- So, he knew about it.
- People were coming to tell him about what the boys were doing.
- He had parental authority to do something about it.
- And He didn’t.
- Eli had spiritual house of God authority as a representative of the King to do something about it.
- And he didn’t
- Eli refused to exercise his authority.
- Consequently, he allowed his sons to go on in sin.
God Weighs In On Eli
- So, this is what the Lord said about Eli’s choices.
1 Samuel 2:30 (ESV) – 30 Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
- The words ‘but now’ let us know that God’s promises are conditional.
- Eli’ house was supposed to be a perpetually blessed household.
- But, his choices changed the blessing in his life.
- Did you notice the reverence piece in God’s words to Eli?
- ‘Those who honor me, I will honor.’
- Reverence is reciprocal.
- When you respect God, He respects you.
- That’s not all the Lord had to say.
1 Samuel 2:34–36 (ESV) – 34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”
- First, comes the subtraction of blessing, afterward, the addition of judgment.
- This is God’s math.
- It’s not new math.
- This is how it works up to our present time even from days of old.
- Those that honor me, I will honor and those that don’t… well you do the math.
- The Lord said He judgment would come upon Eli’s sons.
- Both boys would die in the same day.
- Irreverence toward God leaves a negative balance.
- It is simply not a good thing.
- Honor God, that’s profitable.
- Reverence Him and respect His Word, that’s what brings abundance.
- So, put the Lord first then all things will be added to you.
- Since, this is the whole duty of man.
- Eli chose his sons above the Lord, above the Kingdom.
- He did not honor the Lord.
- He did not pull his sons down like Asa did his mother.
- Who comes first with you, God or family?
Abraham’s Parenting Style
- Do have this strong like Abraham did?
Genesis 18:17–19 (KJV) — 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
- Notice what pleased God concerning Abraham.
- ‘He will command his children and his household after him that they may keep the way of the Lord.’
- The Bible says command the children.
- The word ‘command’ in the Hebrew means to cause to do.
- It means to charge someone do something.
- When it comes to children and putting God first, the operative word is command negotiate.
- Therefore, charge your children to do the right thing, the God thing, the holy thing, the pure thing, the righteous thing.
Don’t Ever Compromise
- Most of all, don’t compromise Kingdom principles with your kids.
- Oral Roberts said this years ago and you see it in the negative example of Eli.
What you compromise to keep you will ultimately lose.
- So, charge your children to walk in the way of the Lord.
- Walking with Jesus is not a democracy.
- So, it’s not asking the children if they want to go to church.
- It’s command them to go and then put the ‘or else’ on the end of that.
- Train them to obey because the very Kingdom you want your kids to walk in operates that way.
- It’s a monarchy where a sovereign ruler speaks.
- When God speaks, there is no negotiation.
- There is only doing the will of the King.