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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,

Amen

 
 

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Solomon — 1 Chronicles 22:2-19

So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps, and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David. David said, “My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death. Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. “My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel. For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart! “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord —nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!” Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. “The Lord your God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people. Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord ’s name.”
1 Chronicles 22:2-19

Dear God, I know I talked about this before when I covered the beginning of Solomon’s reign in 1 Kings, but it bears repeating that a lot of people worked very hard to hand a fully developed kingdom over to Solomon. He got a pretty turn-key situation.

I pretty much inherited the same kind of thing at my job, although on a much, much smaller scale. Heck, you could probably say the same thing for my life in general. I was born in this country which was built by the sacrifice (sometimes the ultimate sacrifice) of a lot of people. I was born into a family that gave me a chance at education and advancement in life. Yes, I walked into life, adulthood, and even this job with a lot of advantages. So what am I doing with them? Am I willing to do the hard work to live up to this responsibility. Am I ready to continue to worship you when my heart is “prone to wander” (as the line from “Come Thou Fount” says)?

Father, all I have is today…this moment. I can’t get too far out into the future or I will lose my focus on you. I can’t be tied down in the past or I won’t experience your victory. So help me to take advantage of this moment. Help me to start with worshipping you and spending time with you. Then help me to take the love you give me and give it to others around me. And finally, help me to respond to your calls to action and use the life you’ve given me so that you might enter the world as much as possible.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2019 in 1 Chronicles, Solomon

 

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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,

Amen

 
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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,

Amen

 
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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,

Amen

 
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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,

Amen

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

 

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Solomon — “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson

“Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson

I will not make
The same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break
The way you did, you fell so hard
I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it’s not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
I’m forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known
Better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I’m ashamed of my life
Because it’s empty
Because of you
I am afraid
Because of you
Because of you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kelly Brianne Clarkson / Ben Moody / David Hall Hodges

Dear God, I was letting a random playlist run on YouTube this morning when this Kelly Clarkson song came on. I had just made myself a sandwich and I came in on the middle of the video. I know from other songs and interviews she’s done that she had a problematic childhood with her parents’ divorce. According the Wikipedia (the source of all dependable truth 😉), she wrote this song when she was 16. There was obvisouly a lot of damage done to her through this, and you can tell that it seems to have some words for both of her parents. I must admit that I’ve never listened closel to this song before. I always thought it was about a currently emotionally abusive relationship with a boyfriend or husband. But the video was very powerful.

So why am I praying to you about this today? Well, in the midst of all of the prayers I’ve been doing lately about Solomon, this made me wonder how his childhood might have affected him later in life. He obviously had an issue with women. I don’t know what his sexual habits were, but to have that many wives and concubines there was obviously something going on there.

What kind of damage did he carry into his adulthood. Assuming that it was an open secret about how his parents had first come together, was that how he fantasized about treating women when he became king? Did he decide at that point to just take what he wanted? Of the 700 wives and 300 concubines, did he have to take them from any men or kill any men for them? I think I have underestimated (neglected is probably a better word) how much the influence his childhood had on Solomon’s reign as king.

So how do I continue to allow my influencers from childhood to impact my adult life? What baggage do I carry to this day? Of course, we all have it. We all have damage. As a husband, mine mainly manifests itself as insecurity and neediness. As a discipling Christian, I think I worship you, but I still keep you at just a bit of a distance because I don’t want to become too pious. As a father, I’m getting better at overcoming neediness, but it’s still something I fight. Even in my work, there is still a bit of neediness for approval. Hmm. Maybe I’m catching a patter here.

Father, help me to find my peace and my worth in you. Be glorified in me. Help me to love with no strings, work as unto you, and worship you as you deserve.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2019 in Hymns and Songs, Solomon

 

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Solomon — 1 Kings 10:14-29

14 Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15 besides that from the traders and the wares of the merchants and all the kings of the Arabs and the governors of the country. 16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold, using 600 shekels of gold on each large shield. 17 He made 300 shields of beaten gold, using three minas of gold on each shield, and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne and a round top to the throne at its rear, and arms on each side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 20 Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps on the one side and on the other; nothing like it was made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None was of silver; it was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.

23 So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 25 They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.

26 Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland. 28 Also Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s merchants procured them from Kue for a price. 29 A chariot was imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150; and by the same means they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of the Arameans.
1 Kings 10:14-29

 

Dear God, but how would he have done if he were coaching Kansas State? You know I’m a college football fan and I can’t help but think about a parallel with this story and college football. Nick Saban is largely considered to be the best college football coach, but his last three college coaching jobs have been at Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama. Major schools with resources.

Bill Snyder, on the other hand, took over what was literally considered to be the worst program in the NCAA in the late 80’s and turned it into a consistent winner. True, he never achieved the success that Saban has achieved, but could Saban have done any better at Kansas State than Snyder did? Would he have even tried?

I say all of this because I really do wonder what kind of king Solomon would have been if he had been given the job under Saul’s conditions. Or even his fathers. What kind of a judge would he have been? Would he have been equally great for those times, but the results wouldn’t have shown up in the box score, so to speak, like they do for him after he inherited a strong kingdom from his father, David? Was he a Bill Snyder happened to be handed an Alabama?

One temptation we all have is we look on the outside and make our judgments based on what we see with our eyes. I am given a lot of credit for the organization that I currently run, but the truth is that I am here today because of the years and years of sacrifice that the founding director and countless others gave to make this place possible. I haven’t volunteered one hour for this organization. I have always been paid. Sure, I’ll work outside of my assigned 40 hours, but it’s not the same as the years of sacrifice that a lot of other people have given.

So my job now is to be the best steward I can be of this work that I can be, and I need to do it under your leadership. I’m not comparing myself with Solomon in wisdom, stature, or anything like that, but I am, on a much smaller scale, the beneficiary of a lot of hard work from a lot of people. The best thing I can do it remain faithful to you throughout the process and submit all of this to you. Then I can ask for your blessing for the benefit of those we serve. I’m sorry for ever taking any glory for any of this. It’s not my intention, but sometimes my insecurity gets in the way. This work is all yours. Help me to be your man through it.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon

 

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Solomon — 1 Kings 10:1-13

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, which brought honor to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers, and the burnt offerings Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord. She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of it! Your wisdom and prosperity are far beyond what I was told. How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (In addition, Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought rich cargoes of red sandalwood and precious jewels. The king used the sandalwood to make railings for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before or since has there been such a supply of sandalwood.) King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.
1 Kings 10:1-13

Dear God, I’m reading this story and trying to see beyond the surface of it. Is there a hidden story beneath the obvious one?

I started this series on Solomon so that I could see if I could trace his downfall as a good man into a mean and harsh king. Perhaps I should go ahead and refresh myself on his life and read the rest of 1 Kings because I’m wondering if a story like this one played into him becoming more arrogant and less submitted to you.

Regardless, Solomon had a lot of praise heaped upon him in this story. Frankly, that can happen to me as well. In my work of “doing good,” people often think more highly of me than they should. I get praise that is sometimes deserved, but often undeserved. But even with the deserved praise, do I deflect it for your glory and not mine? Do I allow myself to decrease and encourage your increase, or do I go along and satisfy my ego and insecurities with their praise?

Father, help me to always be mindful that you are the reason that I am anything and that my life is counting for anything. It starts with the mercy you show me and the forgiveness you give me. Then it flows from there to your provision as I submit myself to you. You are the reason I have any shot at living a life that is at peace. Your Holy Spirit is what brings love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, etc. into my life. You are my all in all. Help me to reflect that.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon

 

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Solomon — 1 Kings 9:25

Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple.
1 Kings 9:25

Dear God, now that I’ve finished going through these first few years of Solomon’s reign (okay, 20 years), it’s going to be interesting to see how things morph for the rest of his life. In this passage, he is disciplining himself and being careful to still bring you offerings to the Temple. That’s good. But sometimes, disciplining myself to go through the motions of discipleship without bringing my heart along and into the proper place is meaningless.

This certainly happens to me. Even in spending this time in scripture and doing these prayer journals, I can sometimes be mechanical about it and not bring my heart into the right place. Using Solomon in this story as an example, was he burning the sacrifices to you out of homage, or was he truly repenting of his sin before you as he did the sacrifices? I suspect that there might have been some repentance sometimes, but I would imagine that, for the most part, this was a duty he was performing and not a submission or resubmission to you.

Father, help me to–each time I come to you in prayer–to bring my heart with me and search it. Help me to seek you and submit to you. Help me to repent. Help me to love. Help me to give. Help me to do the work you have for me. Help me to go when you say, “Go,” and wait when you say, “Wait.” And help me to model this for others.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2019 in 1 Kings, Solomon

 

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