Manna for Today

 

Stay Focused on God (1 Kings 9:10-28)

At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings—the temple of the Lord and the royal palace— 11 King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted. 12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul, a name they have to this day. 14 Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents of gold.  (1 Kings 9:10-14)

20 There were still people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites). 21 Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these peoples remaining in the land—whom the Israelites could not exterminate —to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of any of the Israelites; they were his fighting men, his government officials, his officers, his captains, and the commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 23 They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon’s projects—550 officials supervising those who did the work.  (1 Kings 9:20-23)

Learn it:

            We have now reached the halfway point of Solomon’s reign.  It took him around 20 years to complete his projects of building the temple and the palace.  At this point he is still paying other nations for their help.  If you recall back to 1 Kings 5, the original agreement with the king of Tyre was to give them food.  Here we see Solomon changing that and giving him 20 cities.  It turns out that these cities are terrible.  The King of Tyre called the towns “Kabul” which literally means “worthless”.  That is a bold move by Solomon to do to a trusted ally. 

             We also learn in this section that Solomon has several other projects going on where he is building up Israel’s defenses.  He is building walls around the city and fortifying other cities.  He completes these projects by using slave work and the writer says that he does not use Israelites as slave labor.  We learn later on that some Israelites did work on these projects so maybe they weren’t long-term slaves and just temporarily worked on the projects.  We end up finding up that some Israelites become bitter about working on these projects. 

Live it:

            Solomon is in the second half of his reign and in the first half he did complete some really big projects.  He has the Lord God of Israel come to dwell among his nation.  How does he do something bigger than that?  We begin to see Solomon’s integrity slip but for the moment he is still serving God.

                How do we continue to serve God when things are going well?  How do we stay focused on the life of Christ and want to glorify God?  We should not get too comfortable when things are going well, that is when Satan is going to attack us.  


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God’s Covenant (1 Kings 9:1-9)

3 The Lord said to him:

“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’”  (1 Kings 9:1-9)

Learn it:

            After all the celebrations God appears to King Solomon for the second time.  We see that he approves of all the things the Solomon has done so far.  With God’s approval he then states the covenantal agreement between them.  If Solomon and his descendants remain faithful to God’s commandments he will continue to allow them to reign over Israel. 

            God then goes on to describe what will happen if they are disobedient.  That means if the people of Israel turn from God and begin to worship other gods there are going to be consequences.  Those consequences are that they will be removed from their land.  God will leave the temple and Israel will become an example of what not to do. 

Live it:

            This passage is important for us to remember as we read through the rest of 1 Kings.  As we read we will see if the kings are faithful or unfaithful to God.  We then read about how God responds to their actions and see if God is true to his word. 

            In our lives when we put our trust in God we enter into a covenant relationship with the God of creation.  We surrender our lives, by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.  By accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, God promises to forgive our sins, and gives us eternal life.  All we need to do is repent of our sins and being a relationship with God.  That should lead to us bearing fruit as Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is changing us.  God does all the heavy lifting in the relationship, it is us to us to be obedient.  How are you doing in being obedient to God’s teachings?


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Time to Party!  (1 Kings 8:62-66)

Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the Lord. 63 Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the Lord: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the Lord.

64 On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the Lord was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.

65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the Lord our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all. 66 On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.  (1 Kings 8:62-66)

Learn it:

            After all the dedications and prayers to God, King Solomon throws a huge festival for the nation of Israel.  They slaughter 22,0000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats!  That is a lot of meat for people to eat!  If the party lasted two weeks and a good portion of the nation was there, they needed it.  Israel was celebrating one of the most significant times in its history. 

            This is a huge fulfillment of a couple of God’s promises.  He has led his people to the Promised Land.  They have it and are living peacefully in it.  They have now built the temple and God is dwelling with them!  God is living with his people!  If there was ever a time to throw a two-week party, this would be it.  At the end of the two weeks, people left joyful and glad in heart.  The nation of Israel was brought together in unity, under one king, serving the one true God. 

Live it:

            We see an Old Testament example of God’s people throwing an epic party.  We need to follow suit and throw parties when we see God moving in our lives.  If he does something good, we need to gather together and praise God.  God answers a prayer, throw a party!  If someone comes to faith, we definitely need to celebrate that!  If there’s a party going on in heaven, we need to do the same here.

            What has God done in your life recently that needs to be celebrated?  Christians get a bad rap for being boring.  Here is an example that Christians need to learn from.  We need to practice throwing parties and celebrating the things God has done for us.  I am sure we can all think of reasons to praise God.  Bring your friends together, order a pizza, bake a cake and praise God!  


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Prayer for the Israelites (1 Kings 8:54-61)

When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:

56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”

Learn it:

            Solomon turns and then prays a blessing over the people of Israel.  In verses 56-57 he is telling the people to remember God’s faithfulness.  He is the one who brought them out of Egypt, He gave them the Promised land, and He is the one that protects them from their enemies. 

Then Solomon had three desires he wanted to see God bless Israel with.  First, he prayed that God would remain with his people (v. 57).  Second, he prayed that God would guide their hearts towards God and they would walk in obedience (v.58).  We see that it’s important that our faith begins within a person and then it is displayed outwardly through obedience.  Thirdly, he prayed that God would remain faithful so that the nations would learn of God (v.59-60). 

The end of the prayer is like how he started this prayer.  At the beginning he reminded them of how God has been faithful to them, now he is telling them to be faithful to God.   

Live it:

            This prayer is something we can pray today, and it would be just as applicable to our lives.  I love how rich this prayer is in theology and truth.  Solomon was praying about faithfulness, God’s presence with his people, and a call to an inner belief that leads to an outward expression.  It then even shows how God’s heart was always focused on reaching the nations through his chosen people.

            I   encourage you to pray this prayer to God and make it personal.  Pray that we, the church, may be faithful to God by being obedient to the gospel and live our lives in such a way that the nations would see the love of God.  Then do not stop at praying this prayer but live it out.  Find a way to love someone you do not know and show them God’s love.  


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Pastor’s Corner