Psalm 83; 1 Chronicles 29:23-25; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 1 Kings 2:13-3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:2-6; 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7-13
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Ever feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 83 verse 1 - "O God, don't sit idly by, silent and inactive!" I think the beauty of the Psalms is seeing some of our human emotions expressed so well. Considering this verse - I don't think that God is ever sitting idly by, silent or inactive. I believe God is a Living God who is always with us. But, perhaps sometimes God's perceived silence in our lives is for a purpose that we may not fully understand now, but will later. If God seems very "silent" to you now, I would encourage you to pray to God - and really listen in your prayers - don't just speak. I believe you'll soon hear Him...
Today we begin the book of Second Chronicles! Are you ready to read about the reign of King Solomon? Let's go!
Date: Fifth century B.C.
Content: Second Chronicles contains the history of Judah that was begun in First Chronicles. It deals with the glory of Solomon's reign, with a special emphasis being placed upon the glory of the temple. This emphasis is made because a priest point of view pervades the book. The remaining kings of Judah are discussed, with a stress upon how the religious affairs of the nation were going. Hezekiah is given mention because during his reign an extended revival took place. The destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the people to Babylon are described, and the book ends with the Persian king's decree to let the people return home.
Theme: Judah's history is described from a religious point of view in this book. The righteous kings are commented on and the evil kings are named so that all can see who is responsible for the rise and fall of the nation. The religious leaders and their ultimate failure to remain true to God added to the sin of Judah - until God allowed his own chosen people to plunge themselves into ruin, as an example for all time that God will not tolerate sin. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers "The One Year Bible Companion" pp. 7-8)
Today in 1 Kings we read about Adonijah's request to marry Abishag. You'll recall from yesterday's readings that Abishag took care of David in his old age. She was a virgin, but still considered part of David's harem. And, in those days, to inherit the harem was to inherit the kingdom. (I know, strange stuff to talk about harem's... it was the way it was back then - even though God's plan from Genesis with Adam & Eve was 1 man & 1 woman - not 1 man & many women... us humans - even David - do not always pay attention to God's plans...) So, Adonijah's request to marry Abishag was essentially his attempt to gain back the kingdom again. Hence, Solomon got upset...
Joab proved the maxim of "those who live by the sword, die by the sword." David knew Joab had killed Abner and Amasa and passed on his disdain for Joab to Solomon. Solomon knew Joab was in cahoots w/ Adonijah. Joab was seeking sanctuary at the altar - and there was indeed sanctuary in the Law for those who accidentally killed someone else. There were sanctuary cities. However, Joab's killings of Abner and Amasa could in no way be viewed as accidental. His attempt at sanctuary at the altar did not stand up in Solomon's eyes. Below is a fascinating piece of artwork of Joab running for the altar - with what appears to be a shadow of a person running in the background... As if Joab's past was haunting him & pursuing him? I'm not sure, but an interesting piece of art here on this Joab scene in any case!
It is an interesting thing to read about the blood and deaths caused by some of our fathers of our faith - David & Solomon and the list will go on. I think the thing I take away from all of this is that in the B.C. age, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" ruled the day. People "got what they deserved" so to speak... It essentially kept the peace in a barbaric age. But, we were fortunate to have Jesus Christ come into our world and be the final sacrifice and change the rules. Jesus died on a cross. Jesus got what WE deserved. He changed the whole eye for an eye Law to a higher law of love & grace. We deserve condemnation. Thanks to Jesus, we are given eternal life through the free gift of faith in his life, death and resurrection. I think it is always important for us to remember that Jesus got what we deserved... this is why Jesus is called Savior!
Today in 1 Kings chapter 3 we read about King Solomon asking for wisdom from God! It is of note that Solomon is estimated to be about 20 years old in this chapter - he was born about half way through David's 40 year reign. So, he is a very young king. In verse 5 we read these words from God to Solomon – “Ask for whatever you want me to give you." In verses 7 through 9 we will read this amazing response from Solomon to God – “O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" Solomon could have asked God for anything – more wealth, more power, more strength, more whatever, but he simply asked for wisdom. Why? Because he wanted to govern God’s people well and distinguish between right and wrong. Amazing. How would you or I answer this question today? What if God came to you today and said the same thing to you from verse 5 - “Ask for whatever you want me to give you." What would you ask for? Would you ask for Wisdom? If so, God offers this to you and me now. Where? I believe wisdom is offered to us through study of the Bible and by living in a loving and right relationship with God. We can receive the gift of God’s wisdom today! If we would answer this question from God differently – maybe wanting more money, or power, or whatever – do you think we might forfeit gaining wisdom? So, again, what if God were to say to you right now this same statement he said to Solomon? “Ask for whatever you want me to give you." What do you ask for? Below is a wonderful portrait by artist Guy Rowe of the young King Solomon praying for wisdom:
Worship God: Today's readings in 1 Kings 3 reminded me of Michael W. Smith's song "The One Thing That Really Matters:"
Do you know your One Thing? Click here for the One Thing that matters most!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 1 Kings 3:5 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you show wisdom like Solomon did in 1 Kings 3, and ask God for wisdom. Don't ask God for riches or power, but pray for discernment in your life.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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