June 3, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Kings 3:16-28

Our passage today contains a well-known story, and it displays Solomon’s great wisdom. Here’s a summary of the story: Two women had babies. One of the new born babies died in the middle of the night. The mother of the deceased baby took the living baby from the other mother while she slept and replaced it with the deceased baby. The mother awoke to see that the dead child was not hers, and that the other mother actually had her living baby. Umm, can you say, “DRAMA?”

Of course the mother of the living child wanted her child back so she took the case before Solomon. With great wisdom, Solomon solved the seemingly unsolvable issue and the rightful mother got her baby back. Verse 28 says that when all Israel heard of the judgment that Solomon had made, they feared Him because they saw the great wisdom of God in Him.

Solomon was revered amongst the Israelites. He is often referred to as the wisest man who ever lived. That’s a lofty title to have. In the New Testament, there is evidence of how Solomon was highly esteemed. As wise and great as Solomon was in the eyes of the Jews in the New Testament, there was One who was greater than him. Look what Jesus said:

The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.—Matthew 12:42

“In other words, Jesus was saying that His judgment was even greater than Solomon’s judgment, that His wisdom was even greater than Solomon’s wisdom. And we are thankful for that, because we know from the Scriptures that Jesus will be our Judge when this life is over. Solomon, then, becomes a picture (a symbol) of a much more important judgment that is still coming at some point in the future, a time when the Lord, “…will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31‐33).”— (emphasis added) Rev. Baxter Exum

The Bible teaches that we respond to God’s coming judgment by receiving the free gift of forgiveness that Christ offers to us, by turning away from our sin, and by surrendering to His Lordship. When we receive this salvation, we are guaranteed that the Wise Judge has declared us not guilty and we will be counted among His sheep.

I don’t know about you, but this passage points me toward Christ and reminds me of the assurance I have in Christ of a relationship with Him and eternal life in heaven. There’s a restful peace that comes from this assurance.

Posted by: Rich Duffield


June 1, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Kings 3:1-15

Many of us are parents. As I am writing this I am not a parent but by the time you read this I will be. Crazy to think that. As parents we have a huge job to do. Our kids come to us ready and primed for instruction, training and direction. It is our God-given job to be the primary givers of those things in our kids’ lives. None of us is perfect but I am willing to bet we all want our kids to grow up to be successful, happy and fulfilled in some way. As believers, we know that these things are found as we walk obediently in a relationship with Jesus. If that is true, then our job is to show them how to do that in hopes that they follow our instruction and example. Remember, “More is caught than taught.” Your kids need to see you living this life in order to really grasp what it looks like.

We see this in today’s passage. Solomon is talking with God and is reminiscing about his father, David’s, walk with God and how he lived a life that wasn’t perfect, but was sold out to God. This, along with instruction in wisdom and justice, helped Solomon make the right choice when faced with a big decision. He could have asked for wealth, long life, victory in battle, etc. but he asked for wisdom and discernment. He knew what was really important and knew it because of his father’s life and legacy. I don’t know about you, but I would love for this to happen to me and my child. I would love to see my child make the best and wisest decisions in life, just as I had taught and trained them to. So how can you set your kids up for success? Here are some basic steps to get you started.

  1. Teach the gospel to them and live the gospel in front of them. They have to know Jesus before they can walk with Him
  2.  Follow the Deuteronomy 6 principles- God has not left us without some instruction on how to impress His word on our kids. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Pretty clear about what to do.
  3. Regularly spend time with your kids one on one for discipleship. Your kids need regular alone time with a parent for intentional teaching and discipleship (preferably both, but primarily dad if he is in the picture).
  4. Continue to coach and support your kids as they get older, but allow them to experience some failures and consequences. Parents naturally want to shield our kids from any hurt, pain and consequence. This seems, on the surface, to be a good thing but is actually not. The world will not be so kind to them and once you are out of the driver’s seat of their life they will not be ready to face such a world.
  5. Prayer. Parents should regularly pray for their kids at least from the time they are born until you die. God knows what is best for them so it is important for you to always bring them before Him.

There are many other principles and practices you can do but if you at least do these things you will be on the right track to raising a child that will not leave what you have taught them (Proverbs 22:6).

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

May 31, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Kings 1:1-27

I couldn’t help but think of the phrase spoken by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings films when I read this passage:

“There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.”

In this passage, King Solomon has just officially taken over the throne of his father, David. His first steps as King are to rid the kingdom of those who would try to usurp the throne for themselves. Yielding to David’s dying instructions, King Solomon begins a campaign to kill or expel those who are not loyal to him:

Adonijah (13-25): Adonijah had a seemingly innocent request. “Please ask King Solomon… to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife” (v. 17). The problem with this request is that Abishag was recruited as a servant to the King alone (see 1 Kings 1:3-4). Adonijah’s request was an attempt to begin stealing the throne away from his younger brother. For his treachery, Solomon had him killed.

Abiathar (26-27): Of the house of Eli, his role as a priest was now being revoked as a fulfillment of 1 Samuel 2:27-36.

Joab (28-35): Joab was a supporter of Adonijah. When he heard of King Solomon’s campaign, he tried to seek refuge at the altar. However, the altar proved to provide no sanctuary for Joab as it is only to provide refuge for those who have killed accidentally (Exodus 21:12-14).

Shimei (36-46): David’s promise to Shimei was that he would not put him to death by the sword (v. 8, 1 Samuel 19:18-23). But when Shimei broke a promise to Solomon that he would not leave Jerusalem, he sent for him to be killed.

At a glance, this campaign of violence seems harsh and unnecessary. But there is more happening in these verses than the establishment of Solomon’s reign. Verse 33 speaks of an eternal reign; a greater purpose for the house of David. “…for David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore.” From the reigns of David and Solomon will come one whose reign will never end.

So here’s my question to you:

  • What is in your life that seeks to take the throne away from Christ?
  • What area in your life have you been holding on to; refusing to let go of its control? The consequences, as seen is this passage, could be devastating. After all, there is only one LORD, and he does not share power.

Posted by: Adam Mabe, Richmond Campus Student Ministry Intern

May 30, 2013

Today you should read: 1 Kings 2:1-12

In today’s passage we read about the new king. Solomon was about to take the throne that David had occupied for many years. Solomon had enormous shoes to fill because David was God’s chosen king and the man after God’s own heart. David wrote many of the Psalms that we still have today. He was the imperfect representative and foreshadowing of the one true king, Jesus Christ who we, as believers, know as Lord and savior. Solomon had to be nervous to take on the responsibility of leading God’s people but the pressure must have been even more severe knowing that he would be taking over for his father.

Not only does Solomon find himself taking over for his father, David, but the throne was under great controversy at the time. Adonijah, David’s fourth oldest son had already claimed the throne for himself without his father’s blessing. Adonijah had a following of people in the kingdom as well. Also, Solomon was sort of the black sheep of the family since his mother was Bathsheba (see 1 Samuel 11). One can assume after reading 1 Kings 1:20-21 that Bathsheba & Solomon were not the favored choice among Adonijah and his crew. However, Solomon was God’s choice and the promised son from (1 Samuel 7:12-13).

With all of the pressure that surrounded the throne, we find ourselves evesdropping into the final conversation and instruction between David and Solomon. Since this was the last thing that David would get to say to his son, we can assume that what we read in this passage was the most important thing that David could say to his son. So what does David say? David tells Solomon to be strong and show himself a man by keeping the law and commandments of the Lord. This speech that David gives to Solomon sounds very familiar to the following passages: Deuteronomy 6:4-8, Joshua 1:1-9, Psalm 1, Proverbs 3:1-12, and Matthew 28:18-20

It is amazing to me that at many of the most important points in scripture this simple message is given: “Be strong and courageous by doing everything that the Lord has said and it will guide our paths and bring about Godly prosperity.” Of course I summarized all of the above passages and please note that I said “Godly prosperity” not “worldly” on purpose. If you are not sure what I mean by that please read Galatians 5:22-23.

So, long story short, if David saw fit to give this message to his son before taking on the responsibility of leading the people of God as the King of Israel; as God gave to Joshua before entering the promised land and just as Christ gave to the disciples before ascending into heaven, then how much more should you and I pay attention to the same message?

Solomon followed suit with his son when he wrote this verse in Proverbs 3:5:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

So my one question today for each of us to ponder is, “Do I trust in God and his Word or do I lean on my own understanding?”

Posted by: Chad Wiles