Manna for Today

 

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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Oaths, Kingdoms, Blood, and Death (1 Kings 2:13-46)

And now, as surely as the Lord lives—he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised—Adonijah shall be put to death today!” 25 So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.  (1 Kings 2:24-25)

 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab and killed him, and he was buried at his home out in the country.  35 The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab’s position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.  (1 Kings 2:34-35)

The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. 45 But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure before the Lord forever.” 46 Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died.  The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.  (1 Kings 2:44-46)

Learn it:

            We see throughout this section the Solomon takes his fathers words seriously and is ferociously loyal to the Law.  Any person who tries to go against the king the God has put in place is punishable by death.  In this passage we also see Solomon giving some of the people chances to stay alive.  Shimei he told not to leave Jerusalem, even though David thought he should be killed.  Solomon gave him a chance, an act of mercy. 

            We see that Solomon is starting out his reign as one committed to God and the Mosaic Law.  It might be bloody from our perspective, but he is being obedient to God and keep things in control.  The chapter ends with the author telling us that Solomon now has the kingdom of Israel in his hand.  He is seen as the new ruler. 

Live it:

            In this passage, we see that sin has consequences and the king is not afraid to act swiftly.  We see God exhibiting justice through King Solomon.  It should be a stark reminder to us of what we deserve for our sins.  In the throne in our hearts, we constantly try to seat ourselves there.  For doing that we deserve death.  Praise be to God, that he sent his Son to give us forgiveness and mercy.  We have received something that is totally undeserved.  Thank God today for the grace you have received and that he was willing to take our place.   


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The Next King is Chosen (1 Kings 1:28-53)

nZadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted,“Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.  (1 Kings 1:39-40)

At this, all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed. 50 But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’52 Solomon replied, “If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” 53 Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, “Go to your home.”  (1 Kings 1:49-53)

Learn it:

            In this passage, we read about King David responding to the news of Adonijah trying to take the throne for himself.  He assembles his closest friends and leaders, and orders them to get Solomon and anoint him as king that night.  While Adonijah is having a banquet thinking he is going to be king they here a trumpet blow and find out that Solomon been made the king!  They are fearful because it was not unheard of back then for kings to kill their siblings that may pose a threat to their rule.  Adonijah for now is humble and shows no threat to King Solomon.

            One thing that is interesting is that God chooses a son that comes from King David’s wife Bathsheba.  She is someone that David should never have married.  Why would God choose a son that came about because of David’s sinfulness?  We will never know that answer fully, but we see God’s grace in action even when we do not deserve it. 

Live it:

            I think the big thing we see here is how God’s word will always reign true.  Solomon was not the oldest son and he came from King David’s disobedience to God’s commands.  Yet God, in his infinite wisdom, had a plan and purpose for Solomon.  We all have sin in our lives.  We have been disobedient to God, yet he still has a purpose for us.  He wants to use us to build his kingdom.  What situation do you need to trust God with in your life?  How can he use it in a way for his glory and power to be displayed?  


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The Fight for a Throne (1 Kings 1:1-27)

So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. 16 Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king.  “What is it you want?” the king asked.  17 She said to him, “My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: ‘Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.’ 18 But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. 19 He has sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant. 20 My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.”  (1 Kings 1:15-21)

We are going to be going through 1 Kings and I will be covering longer passages of Scripture, so I won’t be copying the full text into each devotion.  So, you may want to have a Bible handy to read through the full passage at some point. 

Learn it:

            In the book of 1 Kings, we find the history of Israel.  It reveals to us how politics and faith in God come together in a messy way with sinful leaders.  Yet, when things look hopeless, God is still in control guiding his people where he wants them.  In the opening chapter of 1 Kings, we see King David is old and his sons are beginning to fight for who will be king next.  His son Adonijah, takes the initiative and claims the throne for himself and throws himself a party making it seem like he is going to be king.  Word got to David’s wife Bathsheba and she plotted with Nathan, a prophet and close friend of King David, to make sure her son Solomon becomes the next king. 

            We are just looking at the beginning of this story where Bathsheba pleads before David that others are conspiring against his desires and if he does not act she will die along with Solomon.  They do not want David to appear weak and want his desires to be honored, which God also wants Solomon to be the next king of Israel.  We know this from 1 Chronicles 22:9-10, where God told David this. 

Live it: 

            Where there is power, there are people fighting to get it.  We see that in politics, people looking for the next promotion, and even in our churches some people want more influence and power.  In our own lives, we have some level of control.  When we see opportunities to gain more we need to pause and examine our motives.  Maybe God wants somebody else in that position?  That is a hard urge to fight, especially when we feel we have the talent, skills and it seems like we are the next in line.  These are some feelings that David’s son Adonijah felt.  But he did not go through the proper steps and took it for himself. 

            What roles in your life do you have power, or authority over people?  Are you using your place of position for good and the benefit of others?  Are there areas where maybe you need to step down because you rushed in and took it for yourself? 

 

            


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Pastor’s Corner