Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9: 1 Kings 5 – 6; Psalm 127; Proverbs 16:28-30; Acts 7:1-29



Overview

            1 Kings: King Hiram of Tyre and David were good friends, so he congratulated Solomon when he became king. Solomon then asked Hiram for cedar because the Sidonians were the best woodcutters. Hiram rejoiced that God had given Israel a wise king. Hiram agreed and Solomon paid for the cedar with wheat and olive oil.
            Solomon drafted forced labor from Israel to work in Lebanon and in the hill country in the stone quarries. They worked one month then had two months at home.
            The temple is described. The work was done offsite and assembled at the temple without the use of iron tools. The Lord told Solomon that if he would keep the commandments and rules, he would establish the promises he gave to David. He would live among the people and not forsake them.
            More details of the interior of the temple are provided. It was completely lined with cedar and the inner sanctuary was overlaid with gold. He made two cherubim ten cubits high and ten cubits from wingtip to wingtip. There were also carvings of cherubim, palm trees, flowers overlaid with gold. It took seven years to complete.
            Psalm: All our labors are unproductive if the Lord isn’t in them. If he is, then we can do it and he will give us peaceful sleep without being anxious.
            The Lord also provides children. They are a blessing to those who have them. They give him confidence when confronting enemies.
            Proverbs: Dishonest, violent, scheming people mess up friendships, neighbors, and end up bringing evil.
            Acts: The high priest asked Stephen if the accusations against him were true. Stephen makes his defense by relating the history of the Jews starting with Abraham’s call by God out of Mesopotamia. He spoke of the promise given to Abraham, that his offspring would inherit the land where he sojourned. He recounts how Joseph was sold into Egypt. God was with him in his affliction and became known to Pharaoh. Joseph brought his family to Egypt.
            Later, the Egyptians enslaved Israel and forced them to kill their children. But God raised up Moses in Pharaoh’s household. Moses thought he was saving his brothers when he killed an Egyptian. Moses knew he was in trouble and fled when he tried to intervene in a fight between two Israelites. One asked him who made him a judge or them. Moses fled to Midian and had two sons.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “As soon as Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people’” (1 Kings 5:7).
            Psalm: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” (Ps 127:2).
            Proverbs: “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Prov 16:28).
            Acts: “He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand” (Acts 7:25).

Insight

            1 Kings: We should never underestimate what it means to have good relations with people who are not Christians. Hiram was a pagan king but recognized and praised God for the way Solomon asked for help in building the temple. Solomon didn’t try to bargain for a better price but was willing to pay what Hiram wanted. Demonstrating that kind of trust brought glory to God.
            That doesn’t mean that we have to trust every salesman we don’t know, but it does mean we should be careful about how we interact with others in our financial dealings. We should acknowledge their expertise and our inability. We should be willing to pay a fair price and not always get the best deal at their expense. It may lead to a friendship and the opportunity to witness.
            Psalm: I’ve seen people struggling with their work trying to get rich. They work at a regular job and also pour their hearts into schemes that promise riches as well. They are promised if they follow the plan, they will make millions. After a few years, they realize that the ones making the millions are the ones that are telling them the lie. They don’t have rest during that time but are anxious in their toil.
            God promises a good night’s sleep when we are aligned with his plan and his plan is, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim 6:6-8). Paul goes on to say that people who want to get rich only run into trouble, especially from a spiritual standpoint.
            This isn’t to say that God doesn’t lead some people into riches, but we must follow Jesus first and determine what he want us to be doing in this world. Then we don’t have to be anxious and can sleep well.
            Proverbs: Sins have a way of messing up relationships. Gossip kills friendships. Violence obviously causes problems. Hardly a day goes by without the newspaper reporting a shooting and that is just in Snohomish County. It’s bad enough when our sins are carelessness but there are some who plan it. We need to realize that these are not just sins against each other, but they are also sins against the Lord. There is only one solution to stopping it. That is salvation through Jesus Christ.
            Acts: Stephen’s defense is to show the leaders that he knows the Scriptures and who Moses was. This will show them that he is not teaching anything false. In the first part of that defense, he says that Moses thought he was going to give his people salvation when he murdered the Egyptian. This thought is not recorded in Exodus 2:11-15. Since this portion of Acts is also Scripture, there must be a reason that Stephen dropped this into his defense. It is possible that this was the rabbinical teaching, though I don’t know that. However, it is more probable that he added this information to show that the council was doing the same thing to Stephen that Moses’ brethren had done to them.
            Stephen has been showing the way of salvation to his countrymen and they have rejected him. According to Stephen, Moses came to free his people but they rejected him. When people reject the gospel, they do it because they don’t want to have anyone judge them. They don’t want God or any other person telling them what is right or wrong. They certainly don’t want to admit that they are accountable to God. Stephen has planted the seed to convict his accusers. His defense will be continued tomorrow.

Application

             I can see that trying to get a bargain isn’t always the best witness for the Lord. It can appear to care more for material things than people. I also need to make sure the Lord is directing my work and plans.

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