In this week’s 1 Kings readings, Solomon is our main character. Solomon, a son of David, was the third king of Israel. He was not David’s oldest son and his rise to power was definitely challenged, but ultimately he received the throne.
Solomon was known for his wisdom and wealth and his reign started out great! He built God’s temple, which we’ll see finished today. He made wise judgments and is credited with writing Proverbs and Song of Solomon.
Unfortunately, Solomon was a man who liked things…and money…and women…and ultimately, his desires were his downfall. This week you’ll read about Solomon’s triumphs and tragedies. Solomon, probably more than any other biblical character, depicts the tension between American values and those of God. We can learn so much from him, we just have to be open to reading and hearing it.
Jesus’ ministry was all about turning common understandings on their heads. One place we see this in a concentrated area is the Beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s Psalm has a similar feel. This helps us understand that Jesus’ ministry wasn’t made up out of thin air. His ministry was a continuation of God’s work in the world and was reminded us of the areas we had missed the mark.
1 Kings 7:1-51:
- 1 – Note, it took Solomon 7 years to build God’s house and 13 to build his own.
- 2-51 – These are details on what Solomon’s palace looked like as well as some final descriptions of the temple.
- 30-38 – Stephen continues to recount Moses’ journey and experience.
- 39-50 – Stephen continues to describe times when the Israelites’ ancestors interacted with God. He highlights their unfaithfulness at times.
- 1-2 – Reminiscent of the Beatitudes when blessings are given to those who we wouldn’t normally think of as being blessed.
- 31-32 – With age normally comes wisdom and experience – and often, a more level head.
- 32 – “Ruling your spirit” versus “taking a city”. One sounds much more glamorous, but the other is far more advantageous overall.
Both our 1 Kings reading and our Psalm are about Solomon and the temple today. This makes me think of how much the Bible connects with itself. Have you noticed it? In the Psalms they talk about God parting the waters and saving the Israelites from the Egyptians. In the gospels Jesus and John the Baptist quote Isaiah. Genealogies continually confirm the stories we’ve previously heard. When you notice one of these things, let it remind you that God is consistently giving you nods that he is real and his word can be trusted.
1 Kings 5:1-6:38:
- 5 – Note that when David was in power, he wanted to build a house for God but God stopped him because that was not what he was calling David to.
- King Solomon’s temple most likely looked something like this:
- This entire section is a recap of the history between Abraham and Moses. Stephen is proving that he knows the Israelite history and is not blaspheming against God or Moses.
- Note that this psalm is written by Solomon.
- 1 – Meaning that all our efforts are only fruitful if blessed by the Lord. It can also be attributed specifically to the temple, or house of the Lord, Solomon built.
- 3-5 – Children, particularly sons, were seen as direct blessings from God. Barrenness was often seen as having been forgotten by God.
- This explains the destructiveness of evil intent and actions.
Remember as a kid when you would think about what your three wishes would be if you had a personal genie? The correct answer is, of course, “more wishes”. After that, it’s normally money, a cool car, a big house, etc. Solomon had a similar opportunity, but it wasn’t a fake genie and they weren’t fake wishes. He could ask God for anything. He asked for wisdom. I wonder where that would rank on my list?
1 Kings 3:4-4:34:
- 4-15 – In Solomon’s dream, of all the things he could ask of the Lord, he asks for understanding and discernment – wisdom.
- 16-28 – This story makes it clear that God granted Solomon’s request for wisdom and discernment even though he asked in a dream.
- 8-15 – Like with Jesus, some folks opposed Stephen, twisting his words, to say he had committed blasphemy.
- The Israelites found great identity in Jerusalem and specifically Zion. Zion was a sign of their connection and favor with God.
- This is the difference between someone who works for good, productive results versus someone who works for harmful, careless results.
Have you ever tried to stop a moving train with only your toughness and strength? I hate to break it to you, but it won’t work. In different words, Gamaliel explains this to the Pharisees in today’s Acts reading. If the movement of the early church apostles is of God, they’re not going to have a whole lot of luck trying to stop it.
1 Kings 2:1-3:3:
- 1-4 – David encourages Solomon to follow the Lord and that this will result in having someone in his line remain on the throne.
- 5-9 – David asks Solomon to avenge the wrongs done to him that he did not avenge himself.
- 13-25 – Adonijah’s request to receive part of the king’s harem, Abishag, is a clear play at taking over the throne. Solomon recognizes this move and squelches it quickly.
- 26-27 – Abiathar’s life is spared because he served David faithfully, but, because he sided with Adonijah, and because God had promised to remove Eli’s family from the priesthood, he is removed from the priesthood.
- 28-35 – The only exception to the asylum offered through grabbing the horns altar was if your sin was done with deliberate intent. Solomon felt justified because Joab’s murders were committed with intent.
- 1-6 – Ananias did not die because he only gave part, but because he presented it as the whole while holding some back. He lied about his gift to God.
- 17-18 – They are arrested because the religious leaders told them not to teach in Jesus’ name.
- 33-42 – Gamaliel gives wise counsel that the religious authorities ought to just leave the disciples alone because the effort will die unless it’s from God and if it’s from God they won’t be able to stop it.
- This is another psalm that was probably sung or recited while the Israelites traveled to Jerusalem for one of the three annual festivals that required a pilgrimage.
- And this is why we should seek God in all things.
There have been a number of famous declarations throughout human history, a personal favorite is the Declaration of Independence, which our forefathers signed in 1776. But in today’s Luke reading, we find a declaration far more significant in the life of one man as well as human history. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, is the first of his followers to recognize and vocalize that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah the people were expecting. Each of us, in our own ways, must also make this declaration confessing Jesus as the Christ and as our Savior. If you want to talk about that, let me know.
- 5-6 – Eventually God will choose Jerusalem as the place where the Israelites were to offer Passover sacrifices.
- 21 – Asherah poles were built in homage to another god.
- 2-5 – Keeping the Israelites worship pure was a high priority and taken very seriously.
- Later, when the Israelites actually ask for a king, God says it is because they are rejecting him. They want to be like the other countries around them when God has set them apart to be different.
- 10-17 – This story is also found in Matthew and Mark. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels. The writers most likely worked from each others accounts to help create their gospels.
- 18-20 – Peter is the first of Jesus’ followers to declare him as the Messiah.
- 23-24 – A powerful image of following after Christ even to the greatest of lengths. It does us no good ultimately to live a good life but never know or follow Christ.
- Solomon was the son of David who took over as king after him. He was known for his wisdom.
- 1-7 – A prayer all leaders should pray.