Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 8: 1 Kings 3:4 – 4; Psalm 126; Proverbs 16:26-27; Acts 6



Overview

            1 Kings: Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice and offered a 1000 burnt offerings. The Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon replied that because he was made king over such a great nation, he needed wisdom. The Lord was pleased because he didn’t ask for riches or other things, so he gave Solomon wisdom and all the other things. He also said if he walked in the Lord’s ways he would also have long life.
            Two prostitutes who lived together came to Solomon. One woman’s baby had died in the night and now claimed the other woman’s child as hers. Solomon said to divide the child in two and give half to each. The real mother said to give the living child to the other woman but the other woman agreed to divide the child. Solomon gave the baby to the real mother. Israel heard and was impressed and realized he had God’s wisdom to act justly.
            A list of Solomon’s officials is provided. Judah and Israel was populous, prosperous, and happy. His rule extended from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt. Other kingdoms brought tribute. He also had 12 officers who provided food for his house one month each year. Each day, his house consumed several tons of food. There was safety and prosperity in all Israel and Solomon had great wealth.
            Solomon’s wisdom was greater than all others, whether from the east, Egypt, or in Israel. His fame spread to surrounding nations. He spoke proverbs, composed songs, and expounded on plants and animals. The nations came to hear his wisdom.
            Psalm: When the Lord restored Jerusalem, people were joyful and proclaimed how much the Lord had done for them. The Psalmist asked the Lord to again restore their fortunes so they could be like those who sow in sorrow but reap bountifully with joy.
            Proverbs: A person works hard when he knows his need to eat relies on it. Rotten people actually plan evil. Their talk sets other on fire.
            Acts: More people became believers including Jews who spoke Greek. They complained that their widows were not getting a fair share of daily distribution. The Apostles said their duty was to preach the gospel, not distribute food, so they had the people select men full of faith and the Holy Spirit to take care of the needs.
            One of those was Stephen and he also did signs and wonders among the people. He was also skilled in apologetics so that the synagogue of the Freedmen and other from Asia couldn’t contend against the wisdom of the Holy Spirit speaking through him. So, they brought false witness against Stephen. He was arrested and brought before the Jewish council. They accused him of blasphemy and other things. They saw that Stephen’s face was like that of an angel.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9).
            Psalm: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy” (Ps 126:5)!
            Proverbs: “A worker's appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on” (Prov 16:26).
            Acts: “We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us” (Acts 6:14).

Insight

            1 Kings: Solomon started his reign with a great attitude. When God let him ask for anything, he asked for wisdom to govern and discern between good and evil. He had great glory because the Lord was pleased with what he wanted above all. We may not be people who will govern others, but we certainly should seek wisdom to discern good and evil long before we seek the glamorous riches of the world. Jesus made it simple, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). The wisdom that gives us the ability to discern good and evil comes only by knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The fall has corrupted all other sources of truth or wisdom. Some wisdom may seem right, but in the end, it leads to death (Prov 14:12). Some of it may be good but doesn’t provide eternal life. True wisdom is knowing Jesus and having eternal life in him. It surpasses all the glories of even Solomon’s kingdom.
            Psalm: When things are going the way we think they should, when things are “right,” we are happy and joyful. But that isn’t all there is to life. We need to consider that times of sorrow often are the times when we grow the most; it is only after that happens that we understand and have joy that surpasses the frivolous joy that come from a life of ease.
            Proverbs: Motivation is different for different people. However, most of us will work hard when we know that our subsistence depends on it. Unfortunately, some people are motivated by evil and think they can get more from it than by working hard. Some of us are motivated by lusts and others are motivated by pure hearts. The Lord knows exactly what motivates us and we will be rewarded by him (1 Cor 4:5). It gets back to seeking wisdom and also knowing that trials strength us.
            Acts: Some of what Stephen was preaching certainly included what Jesus said about destroying the temple and he would raise it again in three days (John 2:19). His accusers took this wrong saying that Jesus would destroy Herod’s Temple. Jesus’ teaching also changed the way we look at the Old Testament Law. We can’t expect to observe the letter of the Law but violate it in our hearts and believe we will be excused. Jesus taught this in the Sermon on the Mount.
            However, this accusation about Jesus destroying the temple and changing the customs of Moses (Acts 6:14) is actually truer than we often think. Though the Temple was destroyed by Rome in AD 70, it was predicted by Jesus and since God is sovereign, you could say that Jesus did destroy it. The destruction of the Temple changed the customs taught by Moses. No longer could there be a true sacrificial system without the Ark and the mercy seat. The altar for sacrifice was gone. Jews believe they are still following the Law but in reality, it is impossible for them because there is no Temple. Forgiveness of sins is no longer available through the sacrificial system.
            Jesus has replaced the customs of Moses because he is the sacrificial lamb. Forgiveness of sins and salvation is only available through Jesus. The Jews of Stephen’s day hadn’t seen the destruction of the Temple yet, but they didn’t like the message of salvation through Jesus alone. People today still balk at Jesus being the only way of salvation. It is the message we must preach and if it lands us before governing bodies falsely accused, then we should rejoice (Matt 5:11-12)

Application

             I need to make sure my motivations are correct. I need to ask for wisdom when sharing the gospel, writing, talking, and simply living my life. I want to be able to discern good and evil. I want to be prepared for trials and know that good always comes from them.

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