Manna for Today

 

Works and Faithfulness (1 Kings 6:1-38)

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord.  (1 Kings 6:1)

The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”  (1 Kings 6:11-13)

Learn it:

            In chapter 6 we get a description of the temple that Solomon is building.  It is huge and beautiful.  This is something that we would expect.  If you are going to build something for the creator of the universe to dwell in, you want to go big!  As you read through the description you see a lot of nature being put into the temple.  A lot of flowers and trees.  They are making references back to the beginning of creation when God was walking with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. 

            In the middle of this chapter, the Lord says something to Solomon.  God is reminding Solomon of the covenant between them.  If Solomon is obedient to the laws and commands of God, he will dwell with the Israelites and will never abandon them.  God wants to make sure the king is aware of his expectations.  We can all use a reminder in our lives of what God expects of us. 

Live it:

            God is giving Solomon a subtle hint that while he approves of him building a temple, he is more concerned with faithfulness to his commands.  In our lives, we get so caught up in doing good works that our motives become corrupted.  Our good works that were glorifying God begin to become about us.  While it started off well and good, we lose sight of Christ.  How can you bring glory to God in your work?  In your family?  In your community?  That is why we live and breathe, to give glory to God.  How can you be faithful to his commands today?  


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Doing the Lords Work (1 Kings 5:1-18)

When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. 2 Solomon sent back this message to Hiram

3 “You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. 5 I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’

6 “So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”

7 When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”  (1 Kings 5:1-7)

Learn it:

            King Solomon is beginning to start work on one of his greatest achievements as king.  He is building a temple for God to dwell in.  This project is going to be the focus for the next four chapters.  For a book that only has 22 chapters that is a significant amount of space the author dedicates to the temple.  That should stress the importance of the temple to us, the readers. 

            We see Israel does not have enough resources to build the temple.  Solomon must reach out to other nations for assistance.  He is able to make a contract with King Hiram to get cedar and pine to build the temple.  In verse 6 Solomon originally offers to pay the workers but King Hiram replies in verse 9 saying that instead of wages he wants Solomon to provide food for his household.  The kings are negotiating here, and we see Solomon’s wisdom and they are able to come to an agreement.  God is blessing Israel with peace and he is also blessing the nations with peace and prosperity. 

Live it:

            Solomon is focused on doing the will of God by building him a temple.  As he is focused on God, God blesses him with his dealings with other nations to accomplish his work.  Are we focused on what God has for us in our lives?  If so God will open doors and allow us to be successful.  Of course, we will encounter difficulties because of spiritual warfare but if we endure God will allow us to overcome.  How are you serving God and playing a part in building his kingdom here on earth? 


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Using God’s Gifts (1 Kings 4:29-34)

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.  (1 Kings 4:29-34)

Learn it:

            In this passage, we receive more details of the wisdom that was given to Solomon.  We see the wisdom that God gave him was very great, greater than all the sand on the shore.  Back in Solomon’s time people from the “East” and Egypt were famous for their wisdom.  Solomon was greater than all those people!  We also see that not only can he make good decisions but that he has knowledge about nature.  People would travel from far distances to come and seek counsel from King Solomon.  It is quite a gift that God has given him! 

Live it:

            The first thing we see is God’s faithfulness to his promises.  He has given King Solomon abundantly more than he ever could have imagined.  He has reached a level of fame that has never been seen in Israel’s history.  Israel is entering the golden age of its existence.  This should lead them to praise God and want to glorify him even more, right?

            God gives graciously to those who call upon his name.  Then, it is up to that person to use those gifts for either good or evil.  So far in this story, Solomon has been using his gifts for good.  Eventually, the fame and power wear on him and he is corrupted.  How well do you steward the gifts that God has given you?  Do you use them to glorify God or to build up the church?  Pray that God would give you wisdom on how to use your gifts in a way that would build up the kingdom of God.    


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Restructuring the Government (1 Kings 4:1-28)

Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year.  (1 Kings 4:7)

Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors of the finest flour and sixty cors of meal, 23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. 24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides. 25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.  26 Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses.  27 The district governors, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. 28 They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.  (1 Kings 4:22-28)

Learn it:

            In chapter 4 we begin to read about Solomon restructuring the government in Israel.  Israel used to have 12 tribes that all worked together.  Now he has created 12 districts with governors.  These districts all then have the responsibility to provide for all the needs of the king one month a year.  We are getting a picture of a nation that is prospering.  Solomon had a lot of people under him that he had to provide for.  He also had thousands of horses that he could use if a war broke out.  Horses were a luxury and displayed a nation’s power.  Israel is in a good place. 

Live it:

            What do we learn from reading a passage like this?  Israel is at peace.  King Solomon is taking control and helping Israel progress forward politically in the world.  We see that God is taking Israel through different seasons.  They had just come out of a season under David where they were constantly at war.  Now that they have taken over the land that God promised them God is giving them a rest, he is blessing them for their faithfulness. 

            We go through similar seasons in our own lives.  We will go through seasons that are rough but if we stay focused on God and are obedient to him, he will provide rest for us as well.  We should always expect God to show up in our lives.  Maybe he will give us a season of peace or maybe he will give us peace in our heart in the midst of a storm.  Either way, God is by our side.


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Pastor’s Corner