1 Kings

Two Pillars of Prayer {1 Kings 5-8}

8:00 PM

Today’s chapters read like a construction progress report. Not too exciting at first glance, especially since the author seems to be writing to those who would know much of the significance to all he’s added here, but once you do just a bit of investigative work things begin to pop and the excitement begins to build!

One aspect found in chapter six and seven tells us that this is more than just a building project. It’s actually the beginning of a whole new era in Israel’s history. Israel had spent 430 years in Egyptian bondage (before God redeemed them), and since, Israel has spent 480 years of wandering (so to speak) before God gives them the gift of rest. For some reason God has decided Israel’s wandering days are over, and allows Solomon to build Him a Temple. It’s as if God would not rest until He had given His people rest. Pretty cool, huh? But there’s one more thing I discovered in chapter 7 that may just fire up your prayer life,

“He (Solomon) set up the pillars at the portico of the sanctuary: He set up the right pillar and named it Jachin; then he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz. The tops of the pillars were shaped like lilies. Then the work of the pillars was completed.” 1 Kings 7:21–22

It’s important to note that these two pillars are not described as supporting any structure or roof. They were a free-standing testimony to all who entered the Temple, and Solomon actually gave each pillar a name. Did that peek your interest while reading? It did mine! Why would Solomon erect two pillars that serve no purpose in supporting the structure and name them?

It’s also important to note that the portico was the entrance of the Temple, therefore the men of Israel would pass by these pillars as they entered the Temple, but the true significance is found in the names Solomon gave them and not so much in their placement.

One, Solomon named Jachin which means, “He will establish.” It may also be construed as a prayer, “May He establish.”. The second was, Boaz which means “In Him is strength” or “By the Lord, the King is mighty.

Here we have “He will establish” and “In Him is strength” serving as majestic (standing some 35 feet in the air) statements in front of the Temple for all to see while passing by..
·         The first highlights the promise of the Lord, the second the power of the Lord.
·         The first recalls what the Lord said; the second reminds us that He is able to do all He has said.
·         Jachin stood to point to the original anchor of God’s Word; Boaz stood to points to His ongoing power to bring His Word to pass.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have these two reminders before us always as we meet with God each day? I was reminded of what Paul had said about Abraham in Romans 4:20-21, “He (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise, but was strengthened in His faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what he promised He was also able to perform.” (emphasis mine)

In essence, you could say, Jachin highlight’s God’s grace, while Boaz points to our responsibility highlighted in Psalm 105:4, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.”
If you approached God always between these two pillars of thought, how much more powerful would your prayers be?

happiness 1 Kings 3:5

Happiness = Wisdom {1 Kings 1:1 - 4:34}

12:30 AM

Imagine if you heard God ask you, “What do you want?  Ask, and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5b).  What would you ask for? 

Image result for wisdom

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I would be writing about wisdom today.  You see, I could probably find in my journals 100’s of times that I’ve asked for wisdom and what happens when you gain wisdom?  Happiness.  Yep, you gain happiness.  Just listen to Proverbs 8:32-36.  Here wisdom is speaking and she says, “And so, my children, listen to me, for happy are all who follow my ways.  Listen to my counsel and be wise.  Don’t ignore it.”  Do yourself a favor and GET WISDOM!  Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, and understanding than silver!”

What do you chase after day after day?  Last week I wrote about accumulating stuff and sharing what we acquire.  But why aren’t we chasing after eternal happiness?!  We spend a lifetime chasing after happiness and if we do not have the wisdom to seek God in it, then we will find it in whatever substitutes the world has to offer.  “Terrorists may find it in shooting presidents and popes.  Executives may find it in climbing the corporate ladder.  Athletes in breaking world records.  Scholars in publishing books.  Gamblers may find it in Reno.  Musicians in selling millions in records.  The sources where people seek happiness apart from God are countless:  drink, drugs, sex, suntans, televisions, tubing, eating, talking, walking, etc., etc.  But the happiness that these things bring is not true and lasting.  It is not ultimate and eternal.  It is not the joy for which we were made.  And, therefore, it leaves us unsatisfied, frustrated, incomplete, knowing that there must be something more.  But that ultimate and eternal happiness that we crave is only found in wisdom.”  John Piper

What are the characteristics of a person who has wisdom?  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10.  It is fearing to run away from Him.  It means fearing to seek refuge and joy and hope from anywhere other than from God.  It means fearing that to stop trusting and depending on God and look to anything else to meet our needs. 

A wise person is characterized by humility.  “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.”  Proverbs 11:2.  A proud person does not fear the Lord.  But a person who fears the Lord is humble, because she depends on God for everything.  Humility is the foundation for other aspects of godly wisdom because humility is teachable and open to change.   Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.”  Matthew 7:24.   So hearing and doing God’s Word would be a good definition of godly wisdom.  

If you are seeking happiness then God’s Word is a divine prescription for how to finally be cured of all unhappiness. 

But what happens when you are in a situation that God’s Word just does not speak directly to your dilemma?  1 Kings 3:16-28 is like a soap opera to me and makes me smile at how this all works out for Solomon.  There was no biblical command to tell Solomon what to do when these two prostitutes claim the same baby.  Wisdom must go beyond knowing and doing God’s Word.  Wisdom must include a sensitive and mature judgment of how the fear of the Lord should work itself out in all the circumstances not specifically dealt with in the Bible.  It’s like what Paul calls in Romans 12:2, a “renewing of the mind”, and in Colossians 1:9 when Paul says, “So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you.  We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what He wants to do in your lives, and we ask Him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom.”   It’s so tough when there is no clear word from God, but when we saturate our minds and hearts with God’s Word that we gain spiritual wisdom to guide us in all situations.

How?  How do we get wisdom?

  1. Desire wisdom.  Proverbs 4:8 says, “Prize her highly and she will exalt you; she will honor you for your embrace.”  Proverbs 2:4 says, “Seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasure.” 
  2. Since wisdom is found in the Word of God, we must apply ourselves in study and meditation to know the Word and do it.  “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  Psalm 19:7
  3. Pray.  Solomon asked God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:11).  James probably says it best, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God.”  James 1:5.  If wisdom leads to true and lasting happiness and we are not born with it, it’s a gift from God and if we are to “get wisdom”, we must pray.
  4. Think about our death.  Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”   Talk about purging our priorities! 
  5. Come to Jesus!  “The queen of the south will also rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon.  And now someone greater than Solomon is here – and you refuse to listen to Him.”  Matthew 12:42.  “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:24  “In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:3

To know and love and follow Jesus is to own the treasure of ultimate and eternal happiness.  So listen to the command, “Get Wisdom”.

2 Samuel

To Him Goes The Glory {2 Samuel 20:1-24:25}

12:00 AM

In these final chapters of 2 Samuel, David’s reign as the King of Israel is nearing its end. David was a shepherd, a warrior, a hero, a king, a psalmist, and a sinner. And through it all he never lost his faith or his desire to live for the Lord. Now in his final years, he reflects on all that God has done for him and writes a song of thankfulness and love for the Lord. "I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised." (v. 22:4)

While researching these chapters I ran across a website called sermon notebook which teaches that in his song, David sings of a God who saves, sustains, strengthens, and secures. How amazing is that?! And as I thought about David and his relationship with the Lord, I took a look at these attributes of God that He manifests in the lives of all of believers.

God Saves: Along with His saving grace available through His Son Jesus Christ, the Lord also saves us from our enemies. “He delivered me from my enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.” (v. 22:18) Whether they be people, addictions, disease, or Satan himself, we all have enemies. Each day is filled with personal battles. But we never need face them alone. When we put our faith and trust in God, even the mightiest of foe cannot stand against His power. We can confidently cast all of our anxieties on the Lord because He cares for us and is committed to helping us win every war. (1 Peter 5:7)

God Sustains: Life is hard. We all endure periods of temptation, trials, and testing. David was no exception. He faced dark times and felt the same feelings of hopelessness that we too may feel. But David knew the secret of overcoming any obstacle was by trusting not in his own strength but in God’s. “For you are a lamp, O Lord; and the Lord illuminates my darkness” (v. 22:29) Although we may feel overwhelmed and lost, we can cry out to Him to shine His brilliant light leading us to the comfort of His loving arms. For He promises in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” 

God Strengthens: David knew exactly who was the source of his strength; God. “God is my strong fortress; and He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds feet, and sets me on high places.” (vs. 22:33-34) “Like a hind (female deer)with strong legs and swift feet that go to high places on the mountains, so was David strengthened by God’s enabling grace.” (Moody Bible Commentary) What a beautiful picture of our God who is strong when we are weak. Who when we feel like we can’t take one more step, takes our burdens upon Himself and promises that when we trust in Him we, “will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Is. 40:31) When we humble ourselves to the Lord and count on Him instead of ourselves, we learn that that sometimes the strongest thing we can do is to ask for help.

God Secures: In an increasingly unsafe world, there is nothing more precious than the feeling of security. And unshakable security can only be found in the Lord. He is our Deliverer, Rescuer, and Comforter. “He went from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.” (v. 22:17) David knew that because he placed his faith in the Lord, God secured not only his past, present, but also his future. And He promises the same for us. When we receive Christ as our Savior, we entered into a secured and forever relationship with Him. “You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13) “The Holy Spirit is not with us temporarily. He lives within us and never leaves us. This is the reason we can be sure we have eternal security. Neither sin nor anything else can cause the Lord to forsake us because His Spirit has sealed us in Him forever guaranteeing our relationship with Him for all eternity.” (Dr. Charles Stanley) 

From the time David was a simple shepherd boy to his reigning as King of Israel, God abundantly blessed, loved, and protected him. No wonder he sang his heartfelt song to the Lord. And even though he often faltered, he always wanted to know and please God. We can learn much from the life of the man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22).  And most of all, we can trust that the same love and promises He gave to His beloved David, He freely gives to us; His beloved children. And to Him alone goes the glory