Category Archives: 1 Kings

Solomon: What Went Wrong?

Dear God, I’m preaching tomorrow at the local Presbyterian church and I will be using the verses that I’ve been journaling on over the last week from 1 Kings 3, Ephesians 5, and John 6. Certainly a pattern emerged (I’m sure those who chose these passages for the Presbyterian Church intended for there to be some synergy between them). I suppose I could say the executive summary is that a scared young man who was overwhelmed by his situation (which was orchestrated by his mother, Bathsheba, on his behalf against David’s oldest remaining son) had a vision from you and he showed some real insight by asking you for wisdom. But in reading what happened next, one almost has to wonder if you did the right thing by giving it to him because the wisdom made him very successful, but it also led him away from you.

I think there were two main things that were Solomon’s downfall: power and women.

Power: Quite simply, he got to where he didn’t need you and his priority eventually became amassing more and more wealth and power. He forced those from previously conquered peoples to be slaves (1 Kings 9:15-21) and he made the Israelite men his military and government officials (1 Kings 9:22-23). He forgot about the 1,000 years since your promise to Abraham and everything that had been done by you and through the faithfulness of others to you over the generations. He forgot about your command to stay loyal to you and not worship other gods (1 Kings 9:6-9). Simply put, he got fat and happy.

Women: This one is complicated, and I have a feeling it involves what he learned from his dad, to some extent. After all, I’m sure he knew the whole story about how his mother came to be David’s wife. He knew how his father abused his power as king to rape his mother, kill her husband, and eventually add her to his haram. He knew how his half brother raped his half sister and David did nothing about it. Eventually, he ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines (the only difference I can see between them is that the wives were of royal birth and the concubines weren’t). And going back to the power angle, because the wives were from the surrounding nations that God warned them about, it appears as if he married many of the 700 wives (the wives of royal birth, or princesses) to form alliances and consolidate his power so he would not have to devote resources to military, but instead focus them on his personal gain and ease of life.

So eventually, Solomon turned his heart from you, Father. He let the ease of life lull him wandering away. He let the excitement of these relationships with the myriad of women dilute his faith in you. He was joining with them in body and instead of insisting that they leave their idols and worship you, he joined many of them in their worship of other things.

So that’s Solomon. Now, what about Ephesians 5 and John 6? How do they fit into this? Well, obviously Paul is talking about wisdom in Ephesians Paul gives us a pretty basic instruction in Ephesians 5:15-20: Make the most of every opportunity. Act thoughtfully/intentionally, seeking what you want me to do. Avoid things that promote escaping reality like wine/drugs, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Sing to you by myself and with others. Thank you for everything.

Then there’s Jesus in John 6. True bread from you is Jesus and what he gave us through his life (teaching), death, and resurrection. Jesus is the bread, and he also instructed us to ask you for our daily bread–our daily dose of Jesus. Our provision for our physical needs, but also our continual dependence upon you for our emotional stability and purposeful growth and actions.

So what do we do to make sure we are pursuing our daily bread being filled by the Holy Spirit and avoiding the things that encourage us to escape reality and numb ourselves to the needs around us and what you are calling us to do? Well, I think that can be different for everyone to some extent. The general things are there. Daily time in prayer and scripture of some sort. Daily time worshiping you. Surrounding ourselves with a community of people who are like-minded in their worship of you. That’s not to say all of my friends have to be Christians, but certainly the ones I lean on the most should be. It’s looking for the opportunities you call us to to serve others.

Father, help me to not only take all of this and put it into a format that communicates effectively in the morning. Help me to live it out as well. Help me to live it out before you. Help me to live it out in my marriage and my family. Help me to live it out in my work and in my service to others. Help me to not focus on protecting what I have, but instead using what I have to help others. Do all of this so that my life would be part of your kingdom coming and your will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 14, 2021 in 1 Kings, Ephesians, John


1 Kings 3:3-15

Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.

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.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, 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?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor —so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon awoke —and he realized it had been a dream.

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.
1 Kings 3:3-15

Dear God, someone told me yesterday that I am smart. I certainly don’t feel it. I see all of the things I don’t understand, can’t comprehend, and cannot decipher. I have a particular challenge right now that I think I mentioned yesterday. I’m still sorting it out. I’m trying to negotiate with someone who has all of the leverage and no reason to care about the needs of those for whom I’m advocating. I need a pathway forward for the sake of those I serve. I need your wisdom.

And I need your wisdom not only in this situation, but in everything. My marriage. My children. All of my relationships. Keeping myself from situations where I am led to temptation. You get the idea. In every aspect of life I need your wisdom so that I might be the man you need me to be.

Father, to quote Solomon, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.” Help me. Give me wisdom. And when the fruit of your wisdom comes to hear in my life, please keep me humbled before you, worshipping you and thanking you. You are the only reason I am who I am, and I owe you everything.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 4, 2021 in 1 Kings


What are you doing here?

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9b)

Dear God, it’s a totally different context and set of circumstances within which I find myself right now than where Elijah was in his life, but the question came to me yesterday while I was driving to my vacation. What am I doing here? I don’t feel a particular need for a vacation. I don’t feel burned out. I don’t feel directionless. I don’t feel lost or scared. Why am I spending a couple thousand dollars this week to be here? What am I doing here?

The last time I remember feeling this question asked of me was in January 2005. That was a time of great uncertainty, and we were convinced that was going to be the year that we really focused on my wife. She was going to apply to graduate school in another state, and I was going to be willing to relocate for her benefit. 2005 was gong to be “The Year of Megan.” So I was at a men’s retreat at the beginning of January with my dad and brother-in-law, and I remember going for a jog/hike and praying about the year ahead and being willing to do whatever you wanted. In retrospect, it was a huge year for our family, but it ended up being my career for which we changed cities and moved.

So now I’m asking myself why I’m here. Honestly, I had the week off and I had no idea what I would do at home for a week. I could do some chores, but that would only take a day (and they’ll be waiting for me when I get back). The other days would just be killing time. But there is something being down at the beach at South Padre Island and that helps me to disengage and relax. And it also helps me to be away and to think. It also helps me to maybe give some attention to different writing projects that are on my heart.

So what am I doing here? Father, I think it’s just to not waste days, but to have some time to both rest, pray, and think. Pray about they year to come as it pertains to my personal world (family, work, friends, community, etc.) and the world at large. Think about what is on my heart and what might have been put there by you. And work on a couple of these projects and see if they have any traction. There just might be something there that can make a difference for your kingdom. So be with me this week. Speak to me. Give me ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind read to respond.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on December 27, 2020 in 1 Kings


Mothers of the Bible — The Widow Who Helped Elijah

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.” So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.” But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?” But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?” And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!” Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
1 Kings 17:8-24

Dear God, what made this woman so obedient to Elijah? Was it inherent kindness? Was it respect for men in that culture? Every time I read this story I’m always so surprised by how quickly she responds to his requests.

Hold it. Let me back up. You instructed a widow to support Elijah? My logic would have sent Elijah to a wealthy family that had enough resources to care for Elijah in addition to the rest of the household. I wouldn’t have sent him to a widow with a child. Widows had a hard enough time providing for themselves in that culture, much less adding another mouth to feed. I’ve never thought about this before, but maybe you already knew her son would die and she would need Elijah. You knew the son would need Elijah. It’s too bad we don’t know who this son became, but it’s obvious to me now that you weren’t as much providing for Elijah in this situation–you could have done that anywhere–but you were providing for the widow and her son.

I’m glad I saw this because I was going to join Elijah in his prayer when he said, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?” Did Elijah still have that limited level of vision of you that he thought you sent good things to those who love you and bad things to those who don’t? I guess this process was part of his own education and refining too. Of course, he was also responding to the pressure of the moment and the fog of war that he was in. After all, he had a dead boy in front of him and a distraught woman saying, “O man of God, what have you (emphasis mine) done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?” Again, the link between you sending punishment for sin instead of a view that life is life and tragedy will sometimes come regardless of the level of holiness in someone’s heart.

One more thing on Elijah before I return to the widow. I love how excited he is to have raised the son. “Look (exclamation point) Your son is alive (exclamation point)” What a relief! What a time to celebrate! He had to be thinking, “Oh, thank you, God!”

Going back to the widow, she woke up one morning in the midst of a famine and she knew she was at the end of the line. One more day’s worth of food. Then she was done. No more food to buy. No more food to cook. It was time to face facts. Their lives were coming to an end. Then you sent this guy into her life and she had nothing left to lose so she listened to him. I wonder if she would have helped him out a week before. Did she need to be at the end of her rope as a widow and a mother before she would help him? Maybe not. Maybe she would have helped him. But you certainly exhibited your power to her. After Elijah left, I would think there would never be a reason for her to doubt you or your love for her again.

Father, thank you for the reminder that sometimes we are just doing the best we have with the circumstances in front of us. That’s what she was doing. In this case, you had a plan for her life and her son’s life. I don’t know what you did with the rest of their lives or how they have rippled through time to impact mine except for me sitting here learning from them thousands of years later. She certainly probably never knew she and her son would be part of your scripture. It’s a reminder that I have no idea what you’re doing or how my life will work out, but it’s not important that I know. It’s just important that I am faithful to you and rest in the peace that you are in control.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



Fathers of the Bible — David (Part 5)

About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.” So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) Bathsheba bowed down before the king. “What can I do for you?” he asked her. She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.” While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.” Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?” King David responded, “Call Bathsheba!” So she came back in and stood before the king. And the king repeated his vow: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has rescued me from every danger, your son Solomon will be the next king and will sit on my throne this very day, just as I vowed to you before the Lord, the God of Israel.” Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground before the king and exclaimed, “May my lord King David live forever!” Then King David ordered, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came into the king’s presence, the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” “Amen!” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied. “May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!” So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule. There Zadok the priest took the flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon with the oil. Then they sounded the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound. Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?” And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.” “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about. What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, and he said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it.’” Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, “Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!” Solomon replied, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.” So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, “Go on home.” As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ “And there is something else. You know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me when he murdered my two army commanders, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He pretended that it was an act of war, but it was done in a time of peace, staining his belt and sandals with innocent blood. Do with him what you think best, but don’t let him grow old and go to his grave in peace. “Be kind to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead. Make them permanent guests at your table, for they took care of me when I fled from your brother Absalom. “And remember Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me with a terrible curse as I was fleeing to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore by the Lord that I would not kill him. But that oath does not make him innocent. You are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange a bloody death for him. ” Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. David had reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. Solomon became king and sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
1 Kings 1:5-2:12

Dear God, does all of this conflict really come down to simple lack of estate/succession planning on David’s part? What did he think was going to happen?

His firstborn (Amnon) was killed by his third-born (Absalom). His second-born, Daniel, I believe died of natural causes as a child. That left his fourth-born, Adonijah as the “natural” choice. I’ve never understood how Solomon got in there. According to Bathsheba, David had promised her, but I can’t find any reference to that promise in 2 Samuel. Perhaps I missed it, or perhaps it’s just something David said when she was mourning the loss of her first child. Either way, this looks to be another incredible lack of family leadership on David’s part. What was he thinking?

I’m not saying that Adonijah did it right or that he should have been king. But if David was going to make Solomon king all along then he should have been preparing him for it. He should have been guiding him. I suppose it is important to note here that there is another telling of this story in 1 Chronicles. That telling makes things look a little more organized. I think I believe the chaos of this story a little more.

Why was he like this? I was thinking today about the idea that David was a man after your own heart. What did that mean for all of the areas of his life?

  • There was David the servant of you–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the warrior–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the friend–Check, man after your own heart.
  • There was David the king–Check, pretty much a man after your own heart.
  • There was David the husband–Well, I don’t see his heart for you as much here.
  • There was David the father–Well, no, I don’t really see it here either.

David had this great integrity when it came to his worship of you and his humility before you. He had integrity as a warrior (letting Saul live twice) and as a friend (taking care of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, after Jonathan died). I think the power started to corrupt him a bit as king, but he certainly tried to lead the nation in following you. But when it came to husbanding and fathering, he seemed absolutely lost.

I talked to a mother of two teenagers today. I could feel her pain. I experienced some of it. Sometimes, it can be easier to just be a good public person and let the private life suffer. Is that what David did.

Then there is this whole angle of dealing with his estate planning and succession plan. I think I counted that he had 17 sons, although how many were alive when he died is a bit unclear. Did he deal with them and tell them how things were going to be? If not, why? Is there anything I need to be doing now to set my children up for good relationships after I’m gone by being open about what my and my wife’s estate plans are now?

Father, help me to be as attuned to my personal life as I am my public one. Scratch that! Make me more attuned to my life as a husband, father, brother, son, etc. than I am to projecting a good public image. Help me to do the hard work and to lead under your grace and mercy.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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1 King’s 12:26

Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David.
1 Kings 12:26

Dear God, I should have gone just half of a chapter further when I did my study of Solomon a few months ago. I read Fred Smith’s weekly blog this morning and it was about Jeroboam’s reign as king and how it not only went south, but influenced Israelite Kong’s for generations. It lead me to go back and look at his life to see what I can learn. When I went back to 1 Kings, I found this verse. There’s a concept that seems like the original sin that set up all of the others. He decided that hanging onto the tribe for himself was the most important priority.

Contrast that with David. David, a flawed and sinful man whom power corrupted with the indulgences of lust and self gratification still had one thing right when it came to his life. He knew that everything was from you and for your will to be done it would have to remain your right to give and take the throne any time you wanted. He wouldn’t take it from Saul (1 Samuel 24:6-7) and he wouldn’t keep it from Absolom (2 Samuel 15:25-26). He allowed himself to indulge his vices (which caused him countless problems), but he had his overall philosophy and theology correct. He didn’t try to force his will upon you.

Father, I know I have a will that wants to dictate what I allow you to do. I have a will about being safe within my job and my income. I have a will when it comes to what I want my marriage to look like. I have a will about what I how I want my children’s lives to go. But that’s not the prayer Jesus taught us. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. That is my prayer today. Make me sensitive to your will, and help me to be willing to put it all on the table for your will and your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on December 7, 2019 in 1 Kings


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Solomon — 1 Kings 11:41-12:4

The rest of the events in Solomon’s reign, including all his deeds and his wisdom, are recorded in The Book of the Acts of Solomon. Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king. Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
1 Kings 11:41-12:4

Dear God, I’m going to wrap up the 1 Kings telling of Solomon’s story by looking again at this initial exchange between Israel’s leaders and Rehoboam. Apparently, by the end of Solomon’s reign we know there were two pretty distinctly negative things about him:

  1. He worshiped other gods because of his many, many wives.
    He was a harsh king that gave people harsh labor and high taxes.

It takes me back to 1 Samuel 8 when Samuel warned the people who were then the leaders of Israel:

“This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”
1 Samuel 8:11-18

I’ve mused in these journals what Israel (and David) would have looked like if David had been a judge and not a king. I think David’s life would have played out completely differently. Even if he had been more of a warrior judge like Joshua instead of a spiritual leader judge, he still would have lived a much different life. But I suppose that any of us that make ourselves king, whether it be in reality or figuratively in our own minds or families, will end up needing people to rule over. That can include a spouse or children. But if we can keep thinking of ourselves as your servants and the servants of those whom you called us to love, them we have a chance at being more useful to you and getting more done in the long run.

Father, help me to be exactly who you need me to be for those around me. Use my life to draw others’ hearts to you. Increase through me and help me to decrease. Do it all for your glory and so that you are worshipped.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 22, 2019 in 1 Kings, 1 Samuel, Solomon


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Solomon— 1 Kings 11:26-40

Another rebel leader was Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s own officials. He came from the town of Zeredah in Ephraim, and his mother was Zeruah, a widow. This is the story behind his rebellion. Solomon was rebuilding the supporting terraces and repairing the walls of the city of his father, David. Jeroboam was a very capable young man, and when Solomon saw how industrious he was, he put him in charge of the labor force from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph. One day as Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh met him along the way. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone in a field, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten of these pieces, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and I will give ten of the tribes to you! But I will leave him one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. For Solomon has abandoned me and worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Molech, the god of the Ammonites. He has not followed my ways and done what is pleasing in my sight. He has not obeyed my decrees and regulations as David his father did. “‘But I will not take the entire kingdom from Solomon at this time. For the sake of my servant David, the one whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees, I will keep Solomon as leader for the rest of his life. But I will take the kingdom away from his son and give ten of the tribes to you. His son will have one tribe so that the descendants of David my servant will continue to reign, shining like a lamp in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be the place for my name. And I will place you on the throne of Israel, and you will rule over all that your heart desires. If you listen to what I tell you and follow my ways and do whatever I consider to be right, and if you obey my decrees and commands, as my servant David did, then I will always be with you. I will establish an enduring dynasty for you as I did for David, and I will give Israel to you. Because of Solomon’s sin I will punish the descendants of David—though not forever.’” Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died.
1 Kings 11:26-40

Dear God, well, it only took one generation to start to start the demise of what all of Solomon’s predecessors had built over the previous 1,000 years. He got handed the keys to a great car and he eventually milked the car for all it was worth and it was worth less than when he got it. Sure, there might have been more gold and glory lying around, but the cancer was there and it was ready to tear things apart. What could he have done differently?

Besides staying faithful to you, which is the obvious answer, I can’t help but think about what happens with Solomon’s son/successor, Rehoboam. After Solomon dies and Rehoboam is made king, the leaders of Israel comes to him and said, “Your father was a hard master. Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.” (1 Kings 12:4) Was it out of his wisdom that Solomon had become a harsh master? Was it the arrogance and then the fear of losing what he had that drove him to it?

I listened to a podcast today about Donald Sterling, former owner of the L.A. Clippers. It’s about the racism scandal that finally got him kicked out of the NBA. At the end of the second episode in the series, one man who had worked for the Clippers at one point said:

“He had become so bloated–that’s the word–so rich…being able to do what he wanted to do and have everything come back to him that he had a disconnect with what he could do, what he could get away with, what’s right and what was wrong, and what sounded wrong. He had lost his connection because people had patronized him for so long. So he had lost his ability to connect with the real consequences in life.”

Sounds like Solomon to me.

Father, this is a reminder to make sure I have people around me who are able and willing to come back at me and tell me when I am wrong. Help me to be vulnerable to them. Help me to embrace transparency. Help me to remain sensitive to the needs and perspectives of those around me so that anything I do will be driven by mercy and love rather than self-preservation and ego.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 20, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon


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Solomon — 1 Kings 11:14-25

Then the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite, a member of Edom’s royal family, to be Solomon’s adversary. Years before, David had defeated Edom. Joab, his army commander, had stayed to bury some of the Israelite soldiers who had died in battle. While there, they killed every male in Edom. Joab and the army of Israel had stayed there for six months, killing them. But Hadad and a few of his father’s royal officials escaped and headed for Egypt. (Hadad was just a boy at the time.) They set out from Midian and went to Paran, where others joined them. Then they traveled to Egypt and went to Pharaoh, who gave them a home, food, and some land. Pharaoh grew very fond of Hadad, and he gave him his wife’s sister in marriage—the sister of Queen Tahpenes. She bore him a son named Genubath. Tahpenes raised him in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s own sons. When the news reached Hadad in Egypt that David and his commander Joab were both dead, he said to Pharaoh, “Let me return to my own country.” “Why?” Pharaoh asked him. “What do you lack here that makes you want to go home?” “Nothing,” he replied. “But even so, please let me return home.” God also raised up Rezon son of Eliada as Solomon’s adversary. Rezon had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah, and had become the leader of a gang of rebels. After David conquered Hadadezer, Rezon and his men fled to Damascus, where he became king. Rezon was Israel’s bitter adversary for the rest of Solomon’s reign, and he made trouble, just as Hadad did. Rezon hated Israel intensely and continued to reign in Aram.
1 Kings 11:14-25

Dear God, I suppose that we all end up with obstacles to overcome in our lives that may or may not be our fault. In this case, Solomon has some enemies that are the collateral damage from how he became kind of such a powerful nation. They were bitter men. What I find interesting is that Pharaoh seems to be playing both sides, to some extent. He gave Hadad his sister-in-law in marriage, but he gave his daughter to Solomon. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get this story from Pharaoh’s perspective.

As for me, I suppose there will always be obstacles for me to overcome, some of my own making and some not. I think the call that you put on me is that I would simply be faithful to you and obey your commands. And sometimes I do that. But sometimes I fail. I judge. I covet, I lust. I create idols. I allow lethargy to overcome me. I’m sorry for all of that.

Father, help me to take my eyes off of my path, my enemies, my obstacles, and my successes and to simply gaze at you. Help me to die to my ego. I hope that I’m able to do all of that without you having to go to too drastic of measures in my life. But regardless of what you have to do, give me the path you need my life to take so that your will might be done and your kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 19, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon


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Solomon — 1 Kings 11:1-13

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods. The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”
1 Kings 11:1-13

Dear God, where do I compromise for the love and approval of others?

As the director of a nonprofit in a small town, I try to keep myself politically neutral. I work in a sector where people from all different types of political ideology can appreciate our work to serve the community. The trick becomes that I sometimes allow my desire for neutrality to keep me from supporting or not supporting some cause or political position.

I was actually talking to you about this topic this morning when I was walking the dogs, but more in the way of evangelism and being a witness for you. I was wondering how much more I should be doing to represent you and the 1.) mercy and love you have for us, 2.) the mercy and love you want us to show others, and 3.) the work we need to do to worship and commune with you that will help us to better understand numbers 1 and 2.

Then I got home and opened Facebook. I saw a post from a recently divorced acquaintance from high school who posted a meme about what women want in a man:

Every woman deserves a man who calls her baby, kisses her like he means it, holds her like he never wants to let her go, doesn’t cheat or lie. Wipes her tears when she cries, doesn’t make her jealous of other women, instead makes other women jealous of her. He’s not scared to let his friends know how much he really cares about her, and he tells her he loves her every day.

This harkened back to the sermon by Andy Stanley I was listening to on that walk that happened to talk about relationships. My favorite line in the sermon was (paraphrasing), “We all lie in bed thinking about what we are looking for in Mr. Right or Mrs. Right, but none of us lie in bed and think about how we ourselves can become Mr. Right or Mrs. Right for someone else to find.”

Anyway, I saw this post on Facebook and decided that this might just be a divine appointment, so I commented, “Awkward to post a sermon here, but I listen to this guy out of Atlanta every week, and literally 5 minutes ago I finished listening to this. It’s on the very subject.” And then I posted a link to the podcast. This might not have been the bravest thing I’ve ever done, and maybe no one will listen to it, but it was at least an attempt at sharing your love with a group of people who likely don’t understand it very intimately.

Father, make me the man you need me to be in every way. Both for my wife and children, and for your world. Make it the same man. Let there be no duplicity in me, but just a life that worships you for the grace/mercy you give me and then turns around and gives that same grace/mercy to others. Do it all of your kingdom and your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on August 18, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon


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