Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 7: 1 Kings 2-3:3; Psalm 125; Proverbs 16:25; Acts 5



Overview

            1 Kings: Before David died, he charged Solomon with four things. The first was to keep the Lord’s commandments so that it would go well with him and it would fulfil God’s promise to have one of his descendants on the throne. The second was to deal with Joab who had killed men during peace to avenge deaths in war. The third was to deal loyally with Barzillai’s sons because he had supplied David in exile. The forth was to deal with Shimei who had cursed David.
            David reigned over Israel 40 years. Seven in Hebron and 33 in Jerusalem.
            Adonijah asked Bathsheba to intercede for him with Solomon so he could have Abishag (the woman who cared for David in his old age) as his wife. Bathsheba went to Solomon and relayed the request. Solomon said he might as well have asked for the kingdom since Abiathar and Joab are on his side. So, he sent Benaiah to kill Adonijah.
            Solomon then told Abiathar that he deserved death but would not kill him because he carried the Ark and suffered affliction along with David. He banished him from the priesthood.
            Joab then fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab. Joab refused to come out so Solomon told Benaiah to kill him where he stood. Solomon said this was to take the blood guilt away from David and Solomon’s house. There would then be peace on David’s house forever. Benaiah killed Joab and then became the head of the army. Zadok became priest in place of Abiathar.
            Solomon told Shimei to build a house in Jerusalem and if he left Jerusalem, he would die. Shimei agreed, but after three years, he went to Gath to find a runaway servant. When he came back, Solomon had Benaiah kill him.
            After this, the kingdom was secure in Solomon’s hands. Then Solomon made a marriage alliances with the king of Egypt. He worked on building his own house, the house of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people continued to sacrifice at high places because the temple had not yet been built. Solomon loved the Lord and followed in David’s footsteps following the Lord’s statutes except for offering at the high places.          
            Psalm: Those who trust in the Lord are as firm as Mount Zion because the Lord surrounds his people like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. Though wicked people may reign for a while, they will not continue lest they corrupt the righteous. The Lord will do good for those who are upright but banish evildoers.
            Proverbs: We may think we now better than God, but it ends in death.
            Acts: Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold property and took some of the money to the Apostles telling them the amount given was all they got from the property. Peter questioned Ananias and because he lied to the Holy Spirit, he died on the spot. Later, Sapphira came in and the same thing happened. Great fear came on the church.
            The Apostles were performing many miracles. Believers met together and others didn’t dare to join them but they were held in esteem. Multitudes of people became believers. People came from far and wide to be healed.
            The high priest and Sadducees were jealous and imprisoned the Apostles. An angel freed them overnight and told them to preach in the temple. When the council came to try them, they were not found in prison. The council heard they were in the temple so they were brought from there. The council accused them of disobeying their previous order. The Apostles answered that they must obey God and preach Jesus, killed by the council, exalted by God as Leader and Savior to give repentance and forgiveness of sins.
            The council was upset and wanted to kill them but Gamaliel told them that if this movement was from man, it would perish. If it was from God they couldn’t stop it and would be opposing God. So, they beat the Apostles, told them not to speak in the name of Jesus again, and freed them. The Apostles rejoiced that they were worth to suffer for Jesus and kept on teaching in the temple and house to house.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace” (1 Kings 2:6 NIV).
            Psalm: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever” (Ps 125:1).
            Proverbs: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov 16:25).
            Acts: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?” (Acts 5:3).

Insight

            1 Kings: David showed remarkable restraint when he dealt with Shimei after returning from Absalom’s defeat. He promised that he would not kill him for his treasonous actions. However, in his last days, he instructed Solomon to deal with Shimei and Joab wisely but to make sure they die violently. That doesn’t sound like grace. However, as the new king, Solomon was at risk for a revolt. Those following Adonijah and anyone else who had threatened David’s kingdom was a threat. He warned Adonijah that anything that could be perceived as wickedness would cost him his life. It should be noted that both Shimei and Adonijah had the opportunity to live long lives if they were careful. Joab on the other hand was spared only as long as David lived.
            I am so thankful that the Lord doesn’t treat us the way ancient kings dealt with their enemies. If God told us he would spare us only if we didn’t sin one more time, how long would we last. A minute, hour, maybe a day? We must face the fact that before we were saved, we were enemies of God (Rom 5:6-11). But now, we have been reconciled with God. Though we still sin, he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. That is true grace, not man’s poor imitation.
            Psalm: One thing is sure about those who trust in the Lord Jesus for their salvation. They are steadfast. Their position in God’s family will never be lost. We are secure in our salvation because God surrounds us just like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. There is no other place that is as secure as being surrounded by God.
            Proverbs: This proverb should be written over this current generation. Everyone thinks they know better than God. From abortions to homosexuality, from raising children to legalizing drugs, people think they can do their own thing because it is right for them. Sadly, most of these things lead to eternal death if there is no repentance and turning to what God says is right.
            Acts: God is always in control of every situation. He is in control of the Sanhedrin, the council that tried to stop the Apostles from preaching about Jesus. They could have killed the Apostles but Gamaliel gave the wise advice that if the movement was from God, they wouldn’t be able to stop it and the would even be opposing God.
            God is even in control of situations like Ananias and Sapphira. There is no reason to suspect that they were not believers. Though, at that time everyone was a new believer. They were eager to help others less fortunate. But they had a problem. They wanted recognition from man more than from God. Peter says Satan used that to get them to lie to the Holy Spirit. God could have easily kept them from following their own lusts, but in this case, he didn’t. This shows that Satan can influence believers to sin. But God used that to send a powerful message to the rest of the believers and to the people who were not. You can’t lie to God and get away with it. The same is true today, but the Lord doesn’t prove the point by killing us when we think we can sin and get away with it.
            However, we should really take this to heart. We should understand that Satan can influence us by using the sin in our hearts. We should also understand that honesty before God is something that he holds as something very important. He also wants Christians to be held in high regard among nonbelievers. The fact that believers were highly esteemed was mentioned more than once in this chapter. When we behave in hypocritical ways, that esteem is tarnished.

Application

             I really need to be thankful that God doesn’t treat us the way David and Solomon treated their enemies. God gives us second, third, and many more chances. Yes, he punishes and I should expect that if I’m blatantly sinning. So, I need to have my heart and mind open to the Lord to make sure that Satan doesn’t get a foothold and that I don’t fall into temptations. I also need to behave in ways that outsiders will hold Christianity in esteem.

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