Manna for Today

 

Wisdom and Service (1 Kings 3:16-28)

 

Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.  19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”  (1 Kings 3:16-21)

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”  But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”  28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.  (1 Kings 3:24-28)

Learn it:

            On Monday, we read about Solomon asking God for wisdom.  In today’s story, we see if God was faithful in providing him with it.  We read about two prostitutes coming before the king claiming that the baby belonged to them.  For Solomon this is a nearly impossible problem for him to figure out.  No one was at the home where the women were, so it was a case of one person’s word against the other. 

            Solomon comes up with a drastic plan to do an unspeakable act on the baby.  The women’s response to his order shows the heart of the women and reveals who the real mother is.  The true mother shows a heart of compassion towards the baby and the other women’s heart reveals her broken and bitter heart.  At this, the wisdom of Solomon is displayed and we know that God granted him amazing wisdom and news of is spread throughout Israel. 

Live it:

            First, we see in this story that faithfulness of God in keeping his promises.  Solomon asked for wisdom, to lead the people well, and God gave him that.  When we pray to God we should do it in the full confidence that God will hear it and he will answer our prayers.  When we pray, we then have to be obedient and trust that God will provide for us.  Solomon trusted that God would give him wisdom and did not shy away from hearing people’s problems. 

            Second, we see Solomon gives his best effort to all people.  Remember, these women were prostitutes.  They did not deserve to have their case brought before the king.  Solomon could have brushed it off and just picked one of the women to be the mother.  He chose to show compassion to the lowliest people and give them the best he had.  What an example we should follow in our lives.  Always give a 100% no matter who we are serving. 

 


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If Given the Chance, Ask for Wisdom (1 Kings 3:4-15)

7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Learn it:

            While Solomon is at Gideon the Lord appears to him and grants him one request.  This would have been a very exciting opportunity for a new king!  He could ask God for anything he wanted.  Solomon’s request is one that shows his heart.  He asks God to give him wisdom so that he can leads God’s people well.  It shows a lot of integrity and selflessness.  The Lord was pleased with this response and gives Solomon more than what he wanted!  The Lord ends up blessing him with a long life and wealth.  We see the Lord being even more generous than he needs to be. 

            I’ll note one thing about Solomon’s request.  While asking for wisdom is a wonderful choice, he could have asked for something even better.  Moses wanted to understand God and to know his ways, which is a more righteous thing to ask for (Exodus 33:13).  Solomon still had a little bit of pride in his heart and we will see how that eventually leads to his downfall. 

Live it:

            Solomon is young and has just been given the Kingdom of Israel.  When he could have asked God for anything, he took the least likely option and asked for wisdom.  He knew that ruling over Israel was no easy task and he wanted to do it well.  In our own lives God has give us a lot to rule over.  In our relationships, careers and communities.  Are you leading others in a way that God would want you too?  Are you seeking out his wisdom?  Pray to God today that he would give you wisdom to discern his will and make decisions that are pleasing to him.


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King David’s Last Words (1 Kings 2:1-12)

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.

2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’  (1 Kings 2:1-4)

Learn it:

            Chapter two begins with David’s last words to his son as he is about to take over the throne of Israel.  His first words of advice are like what other rulers of Israel have told their successors.  He tells Solomon to obey the Law of Moses.  If he does this he will find favor with God and be successful, just like he was.  This is the best advice that Solomon will hear and there is hope that he will follow these words. 

            Then in verses 5-9, David gives advice on how to handle certain people.  Some people he recommends blessing and other men he recommends to killing.  The killing of certain people is not without cause and could be done within the bounds of the Law.  We are about to see if Solomon has what it takes to be a leader of a nation and uphold the Law of God.  

Live it: 

            In our lives, we get all sorts of advice some of it is easy to follow and other take a lot of effort.  David’s first piece of advice to follow the Law of God seems easy.  On Sunday mornings you probably hear often to love God and be obedient to his word.  Sure, sounds easy enough but we often learn that it is not the case.  Then David gives Solomon specifics on how to apply the Law.  Certain men deserve death because they have broken the Law. 

             Luckily, for us today, we are not commanded to kill others who have broken God’s commands.  Can I get an ‘amen’?  But we are commanded to put to death sin.  We are commanded to make disciples of all nations.  How is that being lived out in our lives?  It’s easy to acknowledge these truths on Sunday mornings but it’s another thing to put it into practice on a Wednesday afternoon.


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The Beginning of Solomon’s Reign (1 Kings 3:1-3)

 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.  (1 Kings 3:1-3)

Learn it:

            In these opening verses, we learn of Israel’s power compared to other nations.  We see that he takes Pharaoh’s daughter as a wife.  This is a big deal!  Israel used to be slaves in Egypt and now the Pharaoh is okay with his wife marrying an Israelite.  Oh, how the tables have turned!  While this is a good thing politically for Israel it is also something that is sinful.  Exodus 34:12-16 says Israelites should not enter into covenants, this includes marriages, with people who worship other gods.  It may seem like a small thing, but we begin to see sin creeping into Solomon’s life.

            We also see some goals that Solomon wants to get completed.  He wants to build a wall, a palace, and a temple.  Since there is no central place to worship God people have found it alright to worship God at these high places that used to be used for worship of false gods.  It’s frowned upon, but people are okay with it since there is not a proper place to worship God.  These are good goals that Solomon wants to do, and it will be exciting to read and see how these things play out.

Live it:

            Solomon’s reign is off to a good start.  He wants Israel to have good relationships with other nations and he wants them to build things that protect them and point them towards worshipping the one true God, Yahweh.  In the midst of these good things, Satan is slowly getting a foothold in his life.  Satan does the same thing in our lives.  He likes to mix in just a taste of sin into good intentions.  That is how he leads Christian’s away from God.  He does not lead people into robbing banks and having multiple affairs.  It starts with little concessions and slowly leads to bigger issues. 

            Examine your life and see if there are little things that Satan may be tempting you with.  Having a close friend hold you accountable is important in times like these.  They can often see things or attitudes in our lives that we may be blind to.  Ask them, if they see any sin in your life.  This will take some courage on both sides but, it can lead to some good healing. 


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Pastor’s Corner