Friday, 2 May 2014

(123) May 3: 1 Kings 3-5 & Luke 23:1-26

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read note how Solomon’s greatness is evident.

To ponder:
Solomon’s kingdom may be securely established (2v46), but we immediately see he will not be a perfect king. Rather than trust God alone for his kingdom, he enters a wordly alliance with Egypt and marries a non-Israelite, Pharoah’s daughter. Moreover, although we read he “loved” the LORD and walked according to David’s statutes (presumably those of 2v2-3), he disobeyed God’s law by offering sacrifices at the “high places” as the people did, rather than at the tabernacle. So we are still awaiting the king Israel really need, who could finally crush the serpent (Gen 3v15).
            Nevertheless, God was with Solomon. 1 Chronicles 1v1-13 tells us that although the ark was in a tent in Jerusalem, the tabernacle and altar were at the high place in Gibeon, which is why Solomon went there to offer his thousand burnt offerings – displaying how utterly devoted to God he was. In this context, God appeared to him in a dream, offering “whatever” Solomon might “ask for.” Solomon’s response displays thankfulness for his kingdom, recognizing it was given him because of his father’s faithfulness. With a sense of humble recognition that as but “a little child” he might not be as able to govern such a “great” and “numerous” people, Solomon prays for “a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong.” This is the very essence of biblical wisdom, for which we should all seek, especially when daunted by our responsibilities.
            God was “pleased” that Solomon had not asked for what would benefit him, and so promised Solomon would be wiser than anyone would ever be, receiving riches so he would be the greatest king of his day. If he obeyed God’s commands, he would also have a long life. As if displaying this wisdom, he immediately returned to Jerusalem to offer burnt and fellowship offerings before “the ark,” as was more proper. Here we are reminded of God’s pleasure when what we seek from him in prayer is what would benefit his purposes rather than our pleasures (Jam 4v3).
            Solomon’s wisdom is famously displayed in judging between the two rival prostitutes who both claimed a baby was theirs. His command to cut the baby in two revealed the true mother by her concern and the false mother by her callousness. And we read the people were in awe, seeing the king “had wisdom from God to administer justice.” This is the greatest need of all with authority to judge (Prov 8v15) – whether governments, elders in the church, or parents!
            The consequences of Solomon’s wise rule is then displayed in organising his kingdom so he could rule a nation as numerous “as sand on the seashore” (4v20, see 3v7-9). And here we see God’s promise fulfilled (Gen 22v17) as the people feast happily, Solomon reigns over the area God said Israel would (4v21, 24, see Gen 15v8), with the people experiencing peace in an almost Eden-like state of blessing (4v25), and Solomon receiving tribute from other nations. Although the note on his numerous horses sounds another alarm (Deut 17v16), the stress is on the summit of Israel’s experience under Solomon. God gave him unlimited wisdom, greater than all others, by which he wrote sayings, composed songs, studied nature and was listened to by delegates from “all the kings of the world,” fulfilling God’s purpose of commending his relationship with Israel to the nations (Deut 4v6-8). How much more should we listen to Christ, acknowledging the God whose wisdom he embodies. And how much greater a kingdom will he establish.
            It is in the context of glorifying God to the nations that Solomon tells the king of Tyre’s envoys what God had done, requesting cedars so he could build the temple God had said he would. The king then praises the LORD and we read of peace between the two nations as Solomon even manages to get Tyre’s workmen working on his project (Israel’s labourers were Canaanites, 9v15-23). In acknowledging the LORD, Jew and Gentile now join together under Christ in building the church.

Praying it home:
Thank God for the wisdom we find in his word, and most especially in and through Christ. Pray that he would make us wise as we study scripture, equipping us to govern our families and other responsibilities to his glory.

Thinking further:
None today.

If you receive this post by email, visit and make a comment.


Post a Comment