Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Precious You Are!

O. T. #764  "How Precious You Are!"
May 31, 2016
1 Kings 6-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

Do you consider yourself as being precious, friend?
According to Webster's Dictionary, precious means of great value or high price.
Do you realize that you are precious to God? He loves you so much. You are of great value to Him. How do I know? Because His only Son, Jesus Christ, died in your place so you do not have to pay for your sins? (Me included) That tells me that we are of great value, precious, to Him. He paid a very high price so our soul does not spend eternity in hell, but in heaven with Him. How precious you are!

We read about the shell of the new Temple of God which Solomon built. It took 7 years to complete this place of worship for the Jews (Hebrews). God had given Moses the details and David collected materials for it. The Israelites were living in the Promised Land, flourishing with God's blessings. The Tabernacle had been the Hebrews ' worship place and was a temporary, movable tent. This Temple was a permanent place for their worship, since the Promised Land had been conquered.

Now we read of the details of the Temple, as one entered it:
  • First, the two huge outer doors made of cypress (like modern bi-fold doors) were opened.
  • The foundation and walls were made of stone.
  • There were three parts-the entrance was called the Porch, which means vestibule (bound to the building)
  • There was an outer and inner court. The outer court had stone walls and ceiling were totally paneled with cedar and overlaid with gold. the cedar was decorated with jewel carvings of gourds and open flowers.  (verses 16-18)
  • It was in the outer court where the animals were brought and killed for the people's sacrifices by the priests. Their hands were cleaned in the brass lavatory. Candle stick stands provided the light needed there. 
  • The outer and inner court  were separated by  huge veil, curtain, which hung from the ceiling to the floor. An altar of incense burned in front of the veil.
As I think of the precious gold covering the walls, I wonder, are your sins covered in the precious blood of the Lamb of God?

This was a building like no other. I am sure there were no flaws found. Perhaps that is why it took so long to build. Our God deserves the best we have.
No wonder the Babylonians wanted possession of it, with all the precious metals and jewels in it. Its contents and construction were of great monetary value.

What do we value inside our worship center? Is it the people, who are actually the church, or material things? Is God's presence  of most importance?


LET IT GROW
  • This inner sanctuary was only 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high.
  • Behind the veil, curtain, was the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat, where the high priest (once a year) offered blood sacrifices for the nation of Israel. The room, known as the Holy Place or Holy of Holies, was overlain with gold.
  • Two wooden cherubims, covered with gold (probably hammered gold foil), represented the glory of God and stood over the Mercy Seat of the Ark. Their wingspan was 15 feet.
  • Falwell says that the actual time of construction was 7 1/2 years.
  • The veil was a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of chereubim. (NLT, 2 Chronicles 3:14)
Do you see how this was such a magnificent building where the King of kings and LORD of lords was worshiped and dwelt among His people? My description does in do it justice.

This veil in the Jewish Temple split from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross, giving us access to the throne room of God. Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of God, killed on a cruel cross, providing the pure sacrificial blood to cover our sins, which God required. What an Awesome God!!

Jesus, the One True God, reigns forever.
Christians are the temple of God, where His Holy Spirit dwells. Does He sit upon the throne of our heart?

LET IT GO

Offer my self as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.

Sing my God's praise-forever He is faithful, true, with us, as the song says.

Worship His Majesty.

Be thankful that He provided salvation to us Gentiles.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Waiting and Working

O. T. #763  "Waiting and Working"
May 28, 2016
1 Kings 6
I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.  1 Kings 6:13 NLT



LET IT GLOW

It took 3 years for the men of our church, as well as contractors, to complete it. Oh, what a long time it seemed. the waiting and working took forever, it seemed. I can't imagine having to wait 7 years or even 20 years for it to be done, like Israel waited.

So, 480 years later, after Israel left Egypt and were free from 400 years of slaver, building of the Temple of God began in Jerusalem. It was during his fourth year reigning as king. King David had begun preparing the materials which would be used by Solomon, his son. These years are symbolic and represented 12 generations.
It took 7 years for Solomon to complete the Temple; then he built the king's house, other structures, and courts making up the Temple area. The entire project took 20 years.

In verse 13, God's promise is reminiscent of the one that He made to Moses in Exodus 25:8. The Lord forewarned Solomon and Israel that the temple was no guarantee of His presence; only their continued obedience would assure that. (MacArthur)

The Israelites had to obey God's law. They were not cut off from God for failing to keep some small part of the law. Forgiveness was amply provided for all their sins, no matter how large or small.
As we read through the history of the kings, we will see the law breaking was the result of the separation with God. The kings abandoned God in their hearts first and then failed to keep His laws. When we close our hearts to God, we soon lose His power and presence. (Life Application Study Bible)

Sadly, 500 years later, the Temple is destroyed when Israel is taken into captivity by Babylon.

Are we striving to keep God's Word in our heart? We fail, since we are sinners, but Jesus forgives us of our sins when we confess them.

LET IT GROW

The description of the shell of the Temple is given  in the first 13 verses:
  • Its dimensions were about double that of the Tabernacle.
  • The porch, or vestibule, was an attachment about 15 feet long and in front of the building.
  • Windows were place high on the inner side of the Temple wall, as shutters. These allowed the vapors of the lamps and smoke of the incense to be let out, as well as let in light.
  • Chambers around the main part were 3 stories high with a spiral staircase connecting the two upper ones. The priests lived there and the money was kept there.
  • Stones for the Temple were finished away from the site in order to show reverence in quietness for God's presence and sacredness of the building. No iron tools were to be used, as God had instructed in Deuteronomy 27.
Do we show reverence for God's house where we worship Him? Are we teaching our children to treat it in such a way?

LET IT GO

Act as though God were living in my presence and among my family.

Trust Him to never abandon my people.

Show respect for God's house where I worship.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sorry folks but my server is down. Probably it is due to all the thunderstorms in our area this week. I will try later today to post.
Solomon was building a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. 2Chronicles 2:5.
Have a safe & peaceful weekend dear ones.
Linda

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eager to Oblige

O. T. #762  "Eager to Oblige"
May 26, 2016
1 Kings 5


LET IT GLOW

I remember my grandfather using the phrase "much obliged" as a way of thanking a person. It seems to have fallen by the wayside today. Today we read of a king who was eager and obliged to aide in providing the supplies for the building of the new Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon.

In this chapter, we read about the preparations Solomon made for building the Temple. David, his father, had the desire to build a house for God. Up to this point, He was worshiped in a tent, Tabernacle. However, God denied David of this privilege since he had been a man of war (2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Chron. 228, 28:2). God promised David that his son Solomon would carry out his wishes concerning this desire. David wasn't idle about the matter, for he began purchasing building materials from Tyre and stocked them up for use later. So King Hiram of the city of Tyre was aware of David's unfulfilled intentions.

Now King Solomon was at peace with his neighbors and ready to carry out his father's wishes. Solomon sent a message to King Hiram:
  • My father David was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the LORD his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations.
  • He could not build until the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies.
  • God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well.
  • I plan to build a Temple just as God had instructed David.
  • Please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. allow my men to work alongside yours, and I will pay them wages as you suggest.
  • No one can cut timber like the Sidonians.
So Solomon was ready to send his unskilled laborers to work with the Sidonians (Phoenians). Also, he agreeded to pay wages to this king's men who was cutting  the trees down. What a deal!

Are we striving to fulfill our Heavenly Father's will in our life? At all cost?

LET IT GROW

What was King Hiram's reaction to King Solomon's message?
  • He was very pleased and it sounds like he was quite eager to oblige.
  • Hiram promised to have the timbers, cedar and fir, cut from Lebanon, transported to the Mediterranean Sea, made into rafts, floated down to Joppa, the nearest port to Jerusalem..
  • There they would be broken up and transported over land to the construction site in Jerusalem.
  • Hiram's request was to be paid for the timbers with large quantities of food from Israel, in addition to the wages of the cutters.
Evidently payment continued until the Temple was completed. A peace treaty was made between these two kings (verse 12).
Apparently Solomon was the first king to impose a labor tax on Israel (verse 13). Prophet Samuel warned Israel this would happen when they demanded a king for their nation (1 Sam. 8:16-18).
The rest of the chapter gives the details of the men sent to cut timber and the stone cutters for the foundation of the Temple.

1 Chronicles 2: 1-18 gives more details on this transaction. Solomon desired a place set apart to burn fragrant incense, display the special sacrificial bread, and burnt offerings in the morning and evening, Sabbaths, new moon celebrations, and other festivals God established. Included in Solomon's message to King Hiram:
This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. But who can really build Him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain Him!

How great is our God! Nothing can contain Him. He is everywhere-omnipresent.

In the back of my mind, I knew the phrase cedar in Lebanon was familiar. It is found in Psalm 92:12, the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

These cedars were a symbol of majesty and might because they were durable, resistant to rot and worms. It could be polished to a fine shine. It was regarded as the best lumber for building material.  (MacArthur)

[Resources: New Living Translation, Liberty Bible Commentary]

LET IT GO

When distracted by other things, set them aside and make working for God a priority.

Sing praises to God throughout the day.

Be like a cedar of Lebanon-strong in faith, not allowing the world to cause my life to become rotten with sin, and be polished by the fire of tests in life.

Be a temple for the Holy Spirit to live. 



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Are We Content?

O. T. #761  "Are We Content?"
May 25, 2016
1 Kings 4-Part 2

LET IT GLOW

Are we content with food and drink? With all the things we have? Soon it will be 10 years since we moved into this little house. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for it, but would like to have a bigger one. We only have 1 bathroom and no room for guest to stay overnight. In time, it will come. Meanwhile, I will be grateful. Israel was content with what they had at this time.

Verse 20 tells us two of the blessings God has given Israel:
  1. The people of Judah and Israel were a numerous a the sand on the seashore.
  2. They were very contented with plenty to eat and drink.
Here we read of figuratively speaking of the increased population growth. Do you recall the Lord's promise which He made to Abraham in Genesis 22:17?-I will bless you and make your offspring numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand of the seashore.

Last month we went to visit my sister and family who live in Florida. We were able to go to the beach a couple of times to pick up shells. I had not seen the white sand before and thought how pretty it was, yet difficult to walk in to get to the water. I never gave thought as to how many grains of sand were there, as far as I could see down the coastline. Wow! They were too numerous to count. So Abraham's family, Jews and Gentile believers alike, are down through the ages were and are too numerous to count like grains of sand.

Israel and Judah were content with what they had to eat and drink, since there was plenty available. I think of a time when they were not, back during their treck in the wilderness with Moses. They complained about the manna and longed for leaks and onions.

Are we content with what the Lord has given us? In Hebrews 13:5 are instructed to be content in what things we have.
Are we, do we, can we, be content? It seems to be rare now days.

LET IT GROW

How is Solomon's prosperity measured?
  •  His empire grew in vast land, from the Euphrates River to Gaza.
  • There was peace on all the borders; during his lifetime, all lived in peace and safety.
  •  Kingdoms served him by bringing tribute or presents. 
  •  In verse 22 we read of the vast amount of daily food consumed in just Solomon's palace.
  • Each family owned their home and garden. (They lived under their own  grapevine and under its own fig tree.)
  • Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses and 12,000 horses.
  • The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court, and nothing was lacking.
  • Also, they gave  barley and straw for the royal horses in the stables.
  • God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. e was wiser than anyone.
  • Solomon's fame spread throughout al the surrounding nations.
  • He composed 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs.
  • He spoke with authority about all kinds of plants, animals, bird, small creatures, and fish.
  • Nations sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.
Solomon used details in nature to teach moral lessons. Sounds like the parables that Jesus used so people could understand the point He was trying to make. Jesus's wisdom was greater than that of Solomon's (Col. 2:3) and in His wealth (col. 1:19, 2:9). Do we give Him the glory which Jesus deserves?

Isn't it rather easy to be content when we are prosperous, things are going our way? Paul was content in all situations because  Jesus was with him. A lesson for us to learn, huh?

LET IT GO

Ask God for wisdom  when I need it.

Thank Him for blessings.

Be content in prosperous and poor times.





Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Influences

O. T. #760  "Influences"
May 24, 2016
1 Kings 4


LET IT GLOW

The hand who rocks the cradle controls the world, so the saying goes. Are we realizing how much of an influence we are to our family, community, and world? Bathsheba had an influence on Solomon's life, the third king of Israel. We saw evidence of this when she was deceived into trying to persuade her son to make a decision what could have potentially cost him his kingdom, without her realizing it. The values we instill in our children while they are young lasts a lifetime. Whether they implement those is up to them. What kind of influence are we today?

Solomon was the third king of Israel and David's chosen heir. He is considered the wisest man who ever lived, with God as his source. He wrote Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, books of the O. T. as well as 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. Not only were those his accomplishments, but Solomon is remembered as building the God's Temple in Jerusalem. Among his deeds is included diplomat, trader, collector, and patron of the arts. [Resource: Life Application Study Bible]

First mentioned are the princes (sar in Hebrew), which were not members of the royal family, but high ranking officials. He kept some of David's officials for his administration, his cabinet. Solomon did find a need to enlarge his staff. Solomon's kingdom was the largest in Israel's history, according to verse 21. Those were days of peace and prosperity. However, later during Solomon's reign, Judah separated from Israel.
Well, who were these men in Solomon's bureaucratic structure?
  • Three scribes, Elihoreph, Ahiah, and Zadok, who were recorders for the archives.
  • Benaiah was promoted to captain of the host.
  • Zaok and Abiathar were the priests. (This was before Abiathar was removed from office.)
  • Two sons of Nathan the prophet, Azariah, who was over the officers, and Zabud, the principal officer and king's friend, as well as possibly one of a confidential advisor to the king.
  • Ahishar was over the affairs of the palace. 
  • Adoniram, probably referred to as Adoram in David's administration, oversaw the tribute, tax or forced labor. He served in three administrations, David's, Solomon's, and Rehoboam's.
Now I can see how important these positions were. With such a large and rich kingdom developing, the Temple being built, and world trade extending, it is no wonder that Solomon's reign is notable in Israel's history. To have a part in this administration would have been a privilege and prestigious life.

Do we consider our work as a part of the kingdom of God work? Are we doing the best we can for His glory? Do we witness in our workplace?



LET IT GROW

In chapter 4, we realize how well organized Solomon was. He established 11 high officials, who had specific duties, 12 district deputies (1 per tribe), and a general manager in charge of the 12. Each person had responsibilities in their territory to manage. Due to Solomon's kingdom being so large, this was essential for his government to be effective. Verses 7-19 give the officers and their districts, which I will not list here.
Judah is not included, which may have tribute to their separation from Israel.

It is important that we have godly leaders in our government positions. Let us remember to pray as election time is nearing.

LET IT GO

Consider my position as worthwhile in God's kingdom work.

Honor God in my work.

Pray for my nation's leaders and potential ones.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wisdom for a Specific Matter

O. T. #759  "Wisdom for a Specific Matter"
May 23, 2016
1 Kings 3-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

A day holds so many decisions to be made, large and small ones. Are you seeking the Lord's wisdom concerning a specific matter right now in your life? I am. Since I have no direction or answer from Him, I am waiting and looking to see how He is working in my situation. Then I will know the right decision to make.

When the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, asking what he wanted and it would be granted, Solomon asked for an understanding heart and to know the difference between right and wrong.
Because his greatest desire was to help his people, and Solomon did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of his enemies or a long life, but rather he asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern his people, God gave his request. (1 Chronicles 1:11-12 NLT)

As we read through the Bible, we will realize that God did grant Solomon's request and gave him wealth, riches, and fame like no other king had before or after him.
In 4:32, we read that Solomon composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. His fame spread to surrounding nations and kings sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge was as vast as the sands of the seashore. He spoke about all kind of plants, animals, birds, small creatures, and fish.

What would be my answer if God asked me, "Linda, what do you want? Ask, and it will be given you!" How about you, what would your answer be? I often pray for all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be saved and desire to serve the Lord Jesus with their life. I may or may not live to see those prayers answered, but I trust God will grant it.


LET IT GROW

Picking up in verse 16 of chapter 3, we read of a case that Solomon resolved using his God given wisdom. The case involved two prostitutes who were arguing about to whom a baby belonged.
What are the details concerning this?
  • Two prostitutes lived in the same house.
  • They gave birth to a baby only 3 days apart.
  • These women were alone when the other one's baby died because she rolled over on it during the night. So, during the night, she exchanged her dead baby for the woman's live son while the mother slept.
  • The deceived mother recognized the baby beside her was not her baby, and confronted the woman.
  • The women were arguing back and forth in front of King Solomon, needing him to straighten out the mess.
  • Both claimed the living child to be theirs and the dead one to belong to the other woman, the king understanding the case.
How did Solomon settle this?
He called for his sword, demanding that the living child be cut into two, giving half to each woman. The real mother, who loved her baby very much, spoke up giving her child to the other one so it would not be killed. Solomon halted the killing of the baby.

He knew the liar would not object, but out of the maternal-compassion, the real mother would. (MacArthur)

Solomon found out who was the real mother, the one who desired to lose her suit and suffer the loss of her child rather than see it be killed. To this mother Solomon awarded custody of the child.

Verse 28 says, When all Israel heard the king's decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice. (NLT)

KJV says it this way, And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for thy saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do the judgment.

The word feared,  in the Hebrew, means to revere, in reverence.

Israel was in awe of and willing to submit to the rule of Solomon because of his wisdom from God.
(MacArthur)

God had given Solomon the wisdom to resolve the case. Otherwise, who would think of doing such a thing? The people recognized this.

Do we seek wisdom from God? Do people recognize that our decisions are directed by God? Do our decisions result in others fearing the king, for they saw the wisdom of God was in him? Also, do we realize when God has given wisdom to a person concerning a judgment or decision?

LET IT GO

Seek God's wisdom concerning my decisions.

Then carry them out.



 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mercy and Kindness

O. T. #758  "Mercy and Kindness"
May 20, 2016
1 Kings 3-Part 2


LET IT GLOW

Folks, I must share what has been going on in my life the past year and this week, for God's glory. I had a colonoscopy on Tuesday, so that is why I didn't post anything. After 45 years of battling with the disease called Crohns, I got a good report, no inflammation or polyps. I have been taking a different medicine for less than a year now and it is working for my body. After all those years of embarrassing and humbling diarrhea and pain, I am able to live a normal life. It may be an usual thing to be grateful for, but words cannot express this happy and thankful heart. Such kindness and mercy my God has shown to me! How great is our God! Truly, the Lord is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Heals. (I realize that I must continue to watch my diet and take my medicine, but it is worth the results.) My heart wants to sing "how great is my God!"
David and Solomon experienced the mercy and kindness of God, also. Join me as we find out how they did so.

When God offered Solomon the privilege of asking for anything he wanted and he would receive it, for what did he ask? It was not wealth or riches, but an understanding heart, wisdom, and discernment between good and bad. God answered Solomon's prayer.

Jeremiah Study Bible, written by David Jeremiah, states:
Scholars estimate that Solomon was about 20 years old at this time. His answer to God's question marks his maturity as well as his love for the Lord (3:3).  The humility of an understanding heart births a spirit that is sensitive to what God says through His Word and His people. Discern derives from the same root as the word between and refers to the ability to choose between two options.
Do you see the values that Solomon was taught and had? Here is a ruler of a great empire who desired to have an obedient and wise heart.

Another thing, Solomon acknowledged in verse 6, that God had shown His servant David mercy and kindness.
In Hebrew, the same word is used for mercy and kindness, checed (pronounced kheh'-sed).

Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary states that almost always chesed  refers to covenant faithfulness. David was faithful in his obedience to God; God was, in turn, faithful in giving and keeping His covenant promises to David. Covenant faithfulness is a key concept in OT theology.

In Psalm 72, we read about a prayer for Solomon's reign as Israel's new king. In it, Solomon desires to judge God's people with righteousness, break the oppressor in pieces, deliver the needy and poor.

In speaking of Jesus, the coming Messiah, verse 17 says:
His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed.

Do we recognize God's mercy and kindness in our life daily?


LET IT GROW

Solomon said that his father David, servant of God, walked before God in:
  • truth,
  • righteousness, and
  • uprightness of heart.
What an example for Solomon and us to follow.

Solomon's attitude and request pleased God. (verse 10)
He did not take the opportunity to seek after personal gain or power. God rewarded Solomon with wisdom. Because of his choice, Solomon was rewarded  with riches and honor, as well as a long life if he remained faithful to God's commands. Thus, Solomon is known as the wisest man born, next to Jesus Christ. Solomon reigned 40 years as king of Israel.

When Solomon awoke from his dream in which God spoke this to him, then he went to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant and offered burnt and peace offerings and had a feast for all his servants. (verse 15)

God does not promise riches to all his followers, but He does give what we need if we put His kingdom and principles first (Matthew 6). We will find deep satisfaction in life when we serve God and put Him first in our life.

LET IT GO

Thank God for His mercy and kindness.

Don't seek to live by the world's ways, but seek God's wisdom in my life.

Ask for discernment between good and bad form God.

Give God the glory in my life.





Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wisdom vs. Wealth

O. T. #757  "Wisdom vs. Wealth"
May 19, 2016
1 Kings 3
That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!"  1 Kings 3:5 NLT

LET IT GLOW

If God gave us an option of wisdom or wealth, which would we choose? I like to think I would choose wisdom. Although both can be used to help others and support God's kingdom work, wisdom does not flee. Wealth does. Here today and gone tomorrow. James tells us to ask for wisdom and we will receive it. Do I? Most of the time I do when it is a big decision, but daily small decision, I am sorry to admit that do not ask as much as I should. Solomon was given the choice of wisdom or wealth, or whatever he would like. Let's find out what he chose.

During this time, royal family members were often exchanged for marriages between the nations to secure peace. Solomon began taking foreign wives, the beginning of his downfall. In this chapter, we read where he took the daughter of Pharaoh of Egypt as one of those wives. Their marriage was like a diplomatic alliance or a modern ambassador. The problem is, he allowed those foreign women to worship their own gods, so their pagan ideas and practices entered Jerusalem.
Solomon brought the princess to live in

The people sacrificed in the high places. (verse3)
God's laws said that the Israelites could make sacrifices only in specified places (Deut. 12:13-14). It was to be the place where God had chosen that Israel was to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Keep in mind, this is before the Tabernacle was built by Solomon. This was to prevent the people from instituting their own methods of worship and allowing pagan practices to creep into their worship. However, Israel and their king were making sacrifices in the surrounding hills. Although King Solomon loved God and walked in the statutes of David, this was an act of sin. It took the offerings out of the watchful care of priests and ministers loyal to God and opened the way for false teaching to be tied to these sacrifices.

The Ark resided in a tent located in Jerusalem where David erected it. Solomon went to Gibeon, 6 miles northwest of Jerusalem, where a tabernacle and bronze altar were, instead of worshiping in Jerusalem.

Are there any pagan practices we use in our worship centers? Do we compromise with the worldliness that surrounds us by bringing their ways into our churches? What comes to mind is Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny are often brought in. Do we allow them to enter so our children do not see the distinction between worshiping God and those?


LET IT GROW

It was in Gibeon that the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream one night when He asked, What shall I give thee?

Some commentators think Solomon was age 12, 14, or 20. Falwell
How did Solomon show humility and reverence to the Lord?
  • He said that God had shown great mercy, faithful love, to his father David because he was honest, true, and faithful to Him.
  • He acknowledged how God's faithful love had continued to him as David's son.
  • Solomon says he is like a child who does not know his way around.
  • He is in the midst of a God's own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted.
  • Solomon asked God to give him an understanding heart to judge, govern, the people so he could discern between good and bad.
Falwell explains verse 9, that a hearing heart hears the voice of God and follows its lead in obedience or having the patience to hear a case and understand it fully.

When given a chance to have anything in the world, Solomon asked for wisdom, an obedient heart, in order to lead well and to make right decisions. As Solomon did not ask God to do the job for him, but through him. His wisdom is given so we know what to do and the courage to follow through on it. Solomon did not ask for riches. While God does not promise riches to those who follow Him, He gives us what we need if we put His kingdom, His interests, and His principles first (Matt. 6:31-33).
(Life Application Study Bible)

LET IT GO

Ask for God's wisdom so I can follow His will and ways.

Trust Him to meet my needs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

House Cleaning

O. T. #756  "House Cleaning"
May 18, 2016
1 Kings 2-Part 4
Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him very powerful.  2 Chronicles 1:1 NLT

LET IT GLOW

Not only do I need to do a thorough cleaning of my house, but also of people in my life. There are some who try to take advantage of me, use me, take from me. This is not faithful friendship or the way a family should act. I need to focus on the godly ways that the Lord has for me to live and associate with those living for Him. Solomon knew it was time for him to do some house cleaning, also.

Solomon had to rid his empire of the scoundrels who had been traitors to his father David and would do the same to Solomon if given a chance. Reconstruction of the government was in order.
 New men, who could be trusted, took over positions:
  • Benaiah became commander of the army in place of Joab;
  • Zadok was installed as the priest to take the place of Abiathar.
So the kingdom was now firmly in Solomon's grip. (verse 46)


LET IT GROW


Now that we know what happened, let's step back at the details as to how Solomon cleaned his house. Before David died, he gave Solomon some advice concerning some people. David knew how they had been traitors in his kingdom and would try to harm or turn against Solomon, too. In the plots against Solomon, all the conspirators lost. Solomon cleaned house, ridding his court of crooked men.

David's warning was heeded:
  • Scheming Adonijah persuaded Solomon's mother to ask Solomon to give Abishag, one of the girls in David's harem, for marriage to Adonijah. Had this been permitted, it would have symbolized Adonijah taking over as king of Israel. Solomon could not allow it to take place. The scheme cost the man his life. Solomon had Adonijah killed.
  • Next, Abiathar, the priest, was told to return home because he deserved to die. Solomon was not going to kill him because he had carried the Ark for David and shared in his hardships. Abiathar lost his position and job. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled that the Lord gave at Shiloh concerning the descendants of Eli. (In 1 Samuel 2, Eli had allowed his son to commit sinful acts within the tabernacle.)
  • Joab had joined in Adonijah's rebellion, had previously murdered two righteous men Abner and Amasa, was killed at the order of Solomon.
  • Shimei was told to build him a house in Jerusalem and live there, but if he ever stepped outside the city, he would die. (Shemei had cursed and thrown stones at King David, then supposedly changed his ways and supported David, later. David forgave the man, but warned Solomon.) When Shimei left Jerusalem, he was killed as warned.
Solomon cleaned house, all right. Benaiah was the one of carry out the ordered executions of those above. He had served as one of David's Mighty Men and captain of David's bodyguard.

All political rivals had been eliminated, as Falwell wrote.

There is a limit to longsuffering when mercy is ignored and sinful people persist. (D. Jeremiah)

By executing justice and tying up loose ends that could affect the future stability of his kingdom, Solomon was promoting peace, not bloodshed. He was a man of peace in two ways: He did not go to war, and he put an end to internal rebellion. (Life Application Study Bible)

Do we have loose ends that need to be tied up? Is there some house cleaning we need to do in our life by separating from sinful schemers?

LET IT GO

Seek the Lord as to the truth of situations.

Clean house in my life when I need to separate from people who are not living for the Lord.

Tie up loose ends if need be.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Costly Request

O. T. #755  "A Costly Request"
May 16, 2016
1 Kings 2-Part 3


LET IT GLOW

Have you ever asked God to something, selfishly? I am glad He did not grant one particular request. In the long run, the consequences would not have been what I would have chosen. God answered it in another way, and I am so glad about that. Today, a man asked the king for something and it cost him dearly. Check it out with me.

Solomon was the new king of Israel now. David was gone. Adonijah, the rebellious son of David, was spared. Then one day he tries to pull the wool over Solomon's eyes. Here's his scheme:
  • Adonijah went to Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon, with peaceful intentions.
  • He asked a favor to ask of her. Really, is he in any kind of position to do this?  
  • He won't let it go, but said that the kingdom was rightfully his (older than Solomon) and that all Israel wanted him to be king. Pewy. That is what he had in his mind because it was not true.
  • The tables turned and the kingdom went to his brother instead, for it was the way the LORD wanted it.
  • With that said, Adonijah asked his favor: He asked Bathsheba to speak to Solomon on his behalf, since he would do anything she asked. Talk about trying to take advantage.
  • Ask Solomon if Adonijah could marry Abishag, the girl.
 Adonijah always had something up his sleeve. If he married this girl, then it was a symbol of his taking claim to the throne. Tradition then was, when a king stepped down, he passed the harem, wives, concubines on to the next king as his possession.

Do we know of folks that scheme to get their way, being sneaky? Children will learn their technique and use it for their self.

LET IT GROW

Was Bathsheba na├»ve as she asked Solomon the request of Adonijah? Some suggest that she was glad to do it because she thought it would eliminate the last threat to her son's throne. Who knows? She was tricked into it. Of course, she was manipulated because she was the king's mother.

Continuing on, when Bathsheba entered the throne room, Solomon arose from his seat and bowed before her, the queen-mother. He had a seat brought in for her to sit on his right, a high position for one. Then Bathsheba presented her one small petition to the king, asking him to not refuse.

How did King Solomon reply?
What is it, my mother? You know I won't refuse you.

Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:8)

Jesus hears us when we pray believing He can answer our request. We must trust His answer to be the right one at the right time for us, since our answer if not always immediately a "yes."

So Bathsheba asked Solomon what Adonijah had requested, marriage to Abishag. His answer was not a yes.
How can you possible ask me this? You may as well have asked me to give the kingdom to Adonijah. You know he is my older brother, and has Abiathar and Joab on his side.

Solomon had pardoned Adonijah on good behavior. Now he over stepped his boundaries, knowingly. His chance to live was now forfeited. Solomon vowed that God kill him if Adonijah had not sealed his fate with the request that day-death. The LORD placed Solomon on the throne of David, establishing his dynasty as promised.

The king ordered Benaiah to execute Adonijah. And it was so.

Well, well, the scheme of Adonijah fell through. It cost him his life. What a bad decision, plan, trick to try to pull off. Sounds like the guy was desperate to be king. Could he have been jealous of his brother? He gave it his best, with one last try, we have to give him that.

People just don't think through their ideas. Sometimes the consequences are obvious, but they are blinded by their selfishness.


LET IT GO

Be careful what I pray.

Consider the consequences if the answer is affirmed.

Point out to others if their request is not the appropriate one and what could happen.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Impacting Lives

O. T. #754  "Impacting Lives"
May 13, 2016
1 Kings 2-Part 2


LET IT GLOW

Who has impacted your Christian life? Many have in mine, and probably yours. My step-grandmother took me to Sunday School and church for years. School teachers and then preachers throughout the years have. David left some last words for his son Solomon before he passed on.

Solomon, who was David's son, is now on the throne of Israel. He is reigning after his father, but not without some serious and godly advice from the king with 40 years experience. Join me as we take a look at it:
  • Know the Lord God, serve Him seek Him-observe God's requirements and follow all of His ways, keep his statues, commandments, judgments, testimonies. As Moses wrote, you will prosper and be successful in all you do and wherever you go. (verse 3)
  • If you do this, the Lord will keep His promise as made (to David): If your children live as they should and follow God with all their heart and soul, walking in truth, one will always be on the throne of Israel. (verse 4)
  • Concerning Joab, who murdered two of David' commanders Abner and Amasa, during a time of peace, but pretended it was due to wartime. According to your wisdom, do what you think best, but don't let him grow old. (David wanted Joab's wickedness dealt with). (verses 5-6)
  • Make the sons of Barzillai permanent guests at your table, for they provided for me when Absalom rebelled. (verse 7)
  • Another the matter of Shimei, who cursed me, yet he met me at the Jordan River, sorry for it all, so I allowed him to live. In your wisdom, you can arrange a death of him. (verses 8-9)
In Chronicles 28 and 29, David encouraged Solomon's ruling the people with strength and courage of the Lord. God chose Solomon to build God's Temple, not for man, but for God. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.
Can you see it, with battle-scared hands, David hands over the scepter of Israel and the plans for the Temple of God.

What a legacy David left his son! Faith like no other at that time. Solomon would enjoy numerous benefits because of his father's accomplishments.

Are we grateful for all our ancestors have done so we can enjoy freedoms, a Christian heritage, godly principles to live by, and family values? Are we passing them onto our children and grandchildren?

[Resources: David, A Man of Passion and Destiny by Charles Swindoll,

LET IT GROW

Sadly, it is time to say good by to David. In verse 10, we read of his death and he was buried in the city of David. David's words of encouragement live on as we read them in the book of Psalms. How blessed we are to have them.

Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly. (verse 12)

Solomon received numerous things from his father as an inheritance:
  • a nation unified under one flag;
  • a royal capital in Jerusalem;
  • the military force of Israel respected by all their enemies, with all enemies subdued, including the Philistines;
  • Israel's boundaries extended from 6,000 to 60,000 square miles;
  • prosperity due to trade routes set up by David;
  • a people who hungered for God, righteousness, and the sounds of his father's songs.
Are we paving the way for our descendants to walk with God? Are we grateful for the investment of time and labors of our parents? Are we a people who hunger after God and His Word?

Thanks to the Heavenly Father of David, who has shown us how to be a passionate people with a destiny. God uses us weak ones for His kingdom work, encourages us when we are fearful, forgives us when we fail,


LET IT GO

Impact lives with the love of Jesus and His Word.

Leave my family with a legacy of faith.
                                                                                                                           

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Key to Success

O. T. #753  "The Key to Success"
May 12, 2016
1 Kings 2

...so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 1 Kings 2:2


LET IT GLOW

Who isn't desiring to be successful in whatever they are endeavoring to accomplish and wherever they go? Today we will find out what the key to our success is, as Solomon found out from David.

David quickly placed his son Solomon on the throne of Israel as his replacement when he got word that his other son Adonijah took the position through self-appointment in rebellion. Adonijah was then temporarily pardoned.

You will recall that David is in his 70's and no longer able to function as king. He realized that his time on earth was drawing to an end, so he wanted to tie up loose ends concerning the kingdom.
According to 1 Chronicles 23:1 and 29:20-25, he called the leaders and priests to assemble with him and Solomon. The made offerings and sacrifices to the LORD, as well as feasted and drank in the LORD's presence with great joy that day.

Solomon was anointed as king a second time before his father David, died. The first anointing was rather impromptu because of the circumstances, but the second was more formal before all the people. (Falwell)

David, son of Jesse, reigned over all Israel a total of 40 years-7 in Hebron and 33 in Israel. Can you imagine the biter sweet time? The only king that generations had only known stepped down and a new king was sitting on his throne.

Will everyone be faithful to serve Solomon as they did David and the LORD God?
When we have changes in staff of our church, are we able to let go of the former ones and serve the new leaders that God has put there? Can we do it with great joy as the people did in today's reading?


LET IT GROW

David's charged, instructed, to King Solomon to be steadfast, firm, and obedient were the king of covenant challenges presented to leaders and common Hebrews throughout the Old Testament (Joshua 1:9). The result of obedience o the law was made explicit for Solomon: it would bring success in everything. (Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary)

Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all His ways, so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. (verse 3, NLT)

In order for David's dynasty to continue with one of his family on the throne of Israel as king, obedience to God was a requirement. It was the key to David's successes, obedience to the Word of God.

David emphasized the spiritual before the political, for he wanted his son to walk in the ways of the Lord. (Wiersbe)

David experience so many challenges in his lifetime. Battles were won when he sought the Lord's will and ways. Although he stumbled into sin, he repented. Truly he was a man after God's own heart. We can feel it as we read so many of the Psalms that David wrote.

The greatest king of Israel was David. His line would go on forever if his descendants remained faithful and obedient to God and His laws. This was fulfilled at the birth of Jesus Christ, who sits on the throne beside God our Heavenly Father interceding for us. What a legacy! Millions have been saved throughout time due to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for us sinners.

Now that is something to shout about and praise Jesus for accomplishing and providing!!!


LET IT GO

What do I need to let go of today, Lord, in order for me to be successful in Your eyes?

Keep me on Your road of faith and obedience, serving You and others.

May my successes go to God.

Praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Showing Grace

O.T. #752  "Showing Grace"
May 11, 2016
1 Kings 1-Part 4
Solomon replied, If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. 
1 Kings 1:52 NLT 

LET IT GLOW

Adonijah, David's son, was setting himself up to take over as the next king of Israel and gathering his supporters. David was now old and unable to continue his duties as king. Three of David's supporters informed him of this plot, with the prophet Nathan and wife Bathsheba informed David what was going on.

How did David react to this news?
  • He called for Bathsheba to come into his presence. (The etiquette in that time was for her to leave when Nathan previously entered the room.)
  • David was making good on his promise to Bathsheba, telling her that Solomon, their son, would be the next king and sit on his throne that very day, just as David had vowed earlier to her and the God of Israel. (verse 28)
  • Then David called in his three supporters to carry out this order.
  • Priest Zadok, Prophet Nathan, Benaiah and body guard, lost no time in putting Solomon on a King David's mule and took him to Gihon  Springs, located on the west side of Jerusalem in the Kidron Valley.
  • There Solomon was anointed by Zadok with the olive oil from the Lord's tabernacle as king of Israel.
  • The ram's horn was sounded and the people showed their support by shouting, "Long live King Solomon!"
Although David was weak bodily, he was still strong in his mind. We are assured this when he instructed the anointing of Solomon and gave his king's mule for him to ride. To ride the king's mule was to claim the throne and served as a symbolism of David's approval. He acted quickly. With the proper religious personnel present at the coronation of Solomon, the people gladly accepted him as their next king.

When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, it symbolized Him as King of the Jews and fulfilled Zechariah 9:9. (Matthew 21)  Jesus is called the son of David. The people, along the way, praised Jesus and waved psalm branches, acknowledging Jesus as their king.
One day, Jesus will return to earth to reign as its King for a thousand years. Everyone will bow to this Holy One of Israel.

Is Jesus the king of our heart and life? Does He rule over our attitudes and actions, our decisions and deeds?

LET IT GROW

The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound. Now that is some party! With the noise of the celebration of Solomon as the new king of Israel, Adonijah and his guests over in En-rogel heard it.
"Why is the city in such an uproar?" Joab inquired. The spy in Jerusalem informed them that Solomon was anointed as king of Israel and was presently sitting on the throne. Adonijah's guests scattered at the news. He was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar.
Adonijah plead, "Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!"

How would Solomon react? Adonijah was as bad as their brother Absolom when it came to selfish ambition and rebellion.

Solomon's 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.
King Solomon summoned Adonijah, who went down to the altar. He bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him to go home.

By grasping the hors of the altar, the culprit placed himself under the protection of the saving and helping grace of God, which wipes away sin, and therefore abolishes punishment (Keil)

Solomon granted Adonijah a conditional pardon on the basis of good behavior and his relinquishing any further claims on the throne. (Falwell)

Anyone in need of grace today besides me? When we get caught in sin, we want grace shown to us, don't we? Especially, God's grace for us. Are we willing to show someone grace today that has harmed us?

LET IT GO

Forgive and show grace to those who have hurt me.

Work on being gracious today.

Be expectantly awaiting Jesus return.





Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Intervening

O. T. #751  "Intervening"
May 10, 2016
1 Kings 1-Part 3
Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?  1 Kings 1:27

LET IT GLOW

After my grandfather passed away, back in the 70's. I intervened between my mom and dad. Dad was making plans to buy his father's farm from his siblings and move into the house where he grew up. Mom, on the other hand, had in mind that they would remodel their present house instead. I realized that those two had not communicated very well on the situation. So, finally, I intervened, informing both of my parents the other ones' plans. As it turned out, Mom got her way. What a mess it could have been had I not helped them understand how the other thought and felt. Years later, I now live in their old house and my brother now lives in my grandfather's house. Ownership of both farms have remained in my family.
David was in need of someone intervening in his situation, unbeknownst to him.

David is growing old. His son, Adonijah, jumps in and appoints himself as king, getting his supporters together without his father's knowledge. When three of David's loyal servants take matters into their own hands, they inform Bathsheba of the situation. She took the message to King David. He had previously promised that their son, Solomon, would be crowned the next king. Nathan had given Bathsheba the message to tell the king, then he would come proclaiming the same one.

Although the Bible does not record David's promise that Solomon would be Israel's next king, it is clear that he was the choice of both David (1:17, 30) and God (1 Chron. 22:9-10).

David had his remaining supporters listed in verse 8. Life Application Study Bible tells about them:
  • Zadok, the other high priest under David, who was given the privilege of crowning Solomon as the next king, then became the sole high priest under King Solomon.
  • Benaiah, was a distinguished great warrior, who commanded a division of David's army of over 24,000 men. He was One of the Thirty and in charge of David's bodyguard. Solomon later made him chief commander of the army.
  • Nathan, God's prominent prophet during David's reign, who wrote a history of David and Solomon.
  • Shimei,not the same man who cursed David, but probably the one who was rewarded by Solomon and appointed district governor in the land of Benjamin.
  • Rei, probably an army officer, who is only mentioned here.
  • David's Warriors, including leaders of several different divisions of the troops.
Do we remain faithful to our spiritual leaders? Are we a faithful warrior for God today? Do we appreciate our supporters?



LET IT GROW

Both Nathan and Bathsheba intervened to King David.
Intervene means to come between, as found in Webster's Dictionary.
What was their message?
  • Adonijah had sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep.
  • He only invited the king's sons, your commanders of your army, Abiathar the priest to attend a celebration.
  • They are feasting and drinking with him, shouting, "Long live King Adonijah!"
  • However, he did not invite Zadok the priest, Benaiah, Nathan, nor Solomon.
  • Have you really done this, King David, without letting any of your officials know who should be the next king? Nathan the prophet asked.
  • Bathsheba added that David promised her that Solomon would sit on David's throne next.
That was all it took for David to get the ball rolling, in other words. We will discuss next time what happened that day. Had David not acted quickly, another rebellion by another son would have been on his hands, such as Absalom did.

Do we inform others of the truth? Are we intervening on others' behalf? Will we continue our prayers for others in need? Do we stand in between, intervening, to help peace come to conflicts?

LET IT GO

Help others who are in conflict.

Intervene for others in prayer.












Monday, May 9, 2016

Sibling Rivalry

O. T. #750  "Sibling Rivalry"
May 9, 2016
1 Kings 1-Part 2
Then Adonijah, the son of Haggith, exalted himself, saying, I will be king...   1 Kings 1:5

LET IT GLOW

Time and time again I have witnessed sibling rivalry. It continues into adulthood if the relationship is not reconciled. Then they take those bitter feelings to the grave with them. How sad it is. If only pride could be buried instead. Enjoyment of peaceful and loving relationships could be had. If they are honest, this is what is desired. Well, David's family was not exempt from this sibling rivalry, between two of his sons. Shall we peal back the curtain and peak inside this family once again?

David had established his kingdom by uniting God's people with the help of God. Now he has grown old (in 70's). Since he was unable to carry on his kingly duties, David's son Adonijah took advantage of the situation and appointed himself king of Israel as a plot to take over David's kingdom. This was without David's knowledge. No precedence had been established as to the method of replacing their king. Keep in mind that it was God's will for Solomon to be king after his father.

If there had not been sibling rivalry before this, there certainly was now. Adonijah was David's fourth son and oldest surviving heir. He first son, Amnon, had been killed by Absalom's men for raping his sister; Chileab, the second son, may have died at an earlier age since he is not mentioned again; Absalom, the third son, was killed by Joab (David's nephew).

What good can we get from this rebellion? We can look forward and be assured that God will make sure that Solomon is Israel's next king, not Adonijah.

Are we trusting God to take care of our future and the future of our children?


LET IT GROW

What was involved in Adonijah's plot to reign as the next king of Israel?
  • First of all, he was boasting that he was making himself king. (verse 5)
  • He provided himself with chariots and charioteers, hired to be loyal to Adonijah, along with 50 Runners to be in front of him. They were recruited to give a royal appearance of Adonijah. (verse 6)
  • David did not discipline Adonijah in his growing up years, nor did David question his actions and motives now, as he was in the dark on the matter.
  • Adonijah persuaded Joab, a brilliant general and David's army commander, and Abiathar, one of two high priests under David, to help him become king. (verse 7)
  • Jonathan, Abiathar's son, who helped David stop Abslom's rebellion but supported this rebellion. (verse 42)
  • Some of David's men, including Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, and David's body guards refused to support Adonijah.
  • Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoleth to sacrifice animals at his self-coronation. He invited his other brothers, all royal officials of Judah to join him. However, Nathan, or Benaiah or the king's bodyguard nor Solomon were invited. Solomon was Adonijah's rival to the throne.
Nathan, a man of faith and action, immediately tried to stop this conspiracy. Some one else was trying to take over the throne so they had to move quickly to stop it. He was one of the three loyal servants (including Zadok) who took matters into their own hands. He informed Bathsheba of the plot. Then she took the message to King David. Solomon was David's choice and God's choice for the next king of Israel. He was also Bathsheba's son. Although it is not recorded in scripture, David had promised Bathsheba such (verses 17, 30; 1 Chron.22:9-10).

We are going to leave the story there. To be continued... How will David stop Adonijah? What a mess again.

Are we faithful friends who desire to see things done God's way? Are we willing to give our all so God's will is carried out? No matter who we have to stand against?

LET IT GO

Remain faithful to God's will and plan.

Support those in leadership who are carrying out God's will.

Be loving to my siblings.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Gracious or Grouchy

O. T. #749  "Gracious or Grouchy"
May 6, 2016
Introduction to 1 Kings
Now King David was old and getting on in years. 1 Kings 1:1 (LASB)

BACKGROUND

Title:
Both books, First and Second Kings, record the history of  the reigning kings and the history of the nations of Israel and Judah. Both are part of the larger content of the Old Testament, known as 12 Historical Books (Joshua-Esther). Initially, these two books were only one book, but divided by the translators of the Septuagint (Greek translators of the O.T.).

Author:
There is a difference of opinion among the commentators as to the author of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. Some consider the Prophet Jeremiah as the one who wrote those books. However, he was exiled into Egypt and not Babylon towards the end, and would have been about the age of 86. The kings did have official recorders of the history of Israel. So, your guess is as good as mine concerning the authorship.

Dates:
Both books cover about 410 years in history. First Kings begins with the death of King David, around 970 B.C., and Second Kings ends around 560 B.C., with the release of King Jehoiachin from prison. About 930 B.C. the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms, with both going into exile (Israel-722 B.C. and Judah 587 B.C.). That is why there are two kings reigning God's people at the same time.

Themes:
From the theological perspective, both books expressed these themes:
  1. sinfulness of the kings and nation;
  2. conflict between politics and faith;
  3. glory God gave obedient covenant kings;
  4. God's harshness in judgment and leniency;
  5. conflict of worshiping the Lord and other gods.

The Davidic covenant established the king as the moral representative of the people for covenant purposes. The moral state of the king represented the moral state of the people, which eventually became not so.

The last two revival kings of Judah (Hezekiah and Josiah), experienced individual revivals that had few effects on either the rest of the royal house or on the nation as a whole. They simply delayed the inevitable judgment.

In the Deuteronomic history, Joshua-2 Kings, there was failure of the religious program in the people to live up to their part of the covenant with God. Thus they were sent into captivity.

Outline:
I. Final days of David (chapters 1-2)
II. Solomon's Reign Over the United Kingdom (chapters 2-11)
III. The Divided Kingdoms of Judah and Israel  (chapters 12-22)


[Resource: Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary]


LET IT GLOW

We begin with David reigning as king, picking up where 2 Samuel left off. In verse 1, David is old and stricken in years. He was approaching the end of his 70 years of age now. (Falwell)
David's years of hardship had deteriorated his health. What a blessing of long life David had experienced.

LET IT GROW

Israel was in their golden years of David's reign as well as David's physical condition. David was not senile, just growing old and getting on in years. He had problems with circulation, it sounds like. His bed clothes could not keep him warm, so they brought in a nurse named Abishag to meet his needs in that area. No electric blankets back then.Though considered a concubine, she had not sexual relations with David. (verses 1-4)

For years now, in the winter I often sleep with socks and sweats on, under an electric blanket. It is had to keep my little footsies warm. If they are not warm, then I struggle with going to sleep. If I don't get enough sleep, well, you know it makes for a grouch.

Not only do we grow older physically, but also spiritually. Are we maturing in our faith and obedience of the Lord Jesus?

As we grow older, do we get cold feet toward God? Do we tend to blame Him for the misfortunes in our life? Let's keep in mind that we have been given the freedom of choice, we are all sinners and others can affect our life, evil is always lurking to bring us down and separate us from God. How are we going to live in our golden years-gracious or grouchy?


LET IT GO

Forgive others and let the past go and remain in the past.

Work more on being gracious today instead of grouchy.

Thank God for my golden years.




Thursday, May 5, 2016

Promises

O. T. #748  "Promises"
May 5, 2016
Summary of 2 Samuel

Promise keepers, promises breakers. In this day and age, so many people do not keep their promises. Oh, they may have good intentions at first, but life happens and they just can't seem to stay faithful. There is One who keeps every promise He made-Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

V. Epilogue (chapters 21-24) These are not written in proper order as they occurred, but the author wanted to include them in Scripture.

  • The Lord's judgment against Israel (21:1-14)
  • David's heroes (21:15-22)
  • David's song of praise (22:1-51)
  • David's last words (23:1-7)
  • David's mighty men (23:8-39)
  • The Lord's judgment against David (24:1-25)
Three events led up to David's weariness: his son Absalom's death, a three year famine, and war with the Philistines again. Those events led him to write the songs found in chapter 22.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies. (NLT 22:1-4)

All the LORD's promises are true. (22:31)

What do you need the Lord to be for you today? Do you need a refuge and place of safety and protection today? Our Rock, Jesus, is there for us.
Are we trusting in His Promises and Words to be true?
David knew God was a promise keeper.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Troubles

O. T. #747 "Troubles"
May 4, 2016
Summary of 2 Samuel

Although David was a man after God's own heart, he was not exempt from troubles in his life. Using The MacArthur Study Bible's outline for this book, we find:

IV. David's troubled reign (chapters 9-20)
  • Kindness to Mepibosheth (9:1-13)
  • Sins of adultery and murder (10:1-12:31)
  • Family troubles (13:1-14:33)
  • Rebellions against David (15:1-20:26)
Mephibosheth was the crippled (in both feet) son of Jonathan, David's best friend. After Jonathan died, David showed kindness to him by bringing him to eat regularly at King David's table. Do we come, crippled by sin, to eat daily at our King Jesus' table, with our soul filled with His Word?

David was not where he should have been, joining his army in battle. That was when he was tempted to sin with Bathsheba. He tied to cover it up by sending her husband home so it would look like the baby was his, but the man was too dedicated to his fellow troopers and refused. David had the husband sent to the front line so he would be killed. And it happened. David married Bathsheba, but it was not well. Their baby died. David reaped the consequences by God making sure his family would live by the sword due to David's taking Uriah's wife to be his own and showed he despised God.

David wrote many Psalms, but a few significant are:
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. you will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. (Ps. 51:17)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. (verse 10)
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean: wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (verse7)

What can be worse than incest? David had it in his family when Amnon raped his half sister Tamar. Absalom, her brother, had Amnon killed. Later, Absalom rebelled against David being king and took over as David fled from Jerusalem. Then Joab killed Absalom and David returns as king. Sheba revolted against the king, but was killed, with his head thrown over a city wall.

In Psalm 7, David wrote:
God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. (verse 10)
For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God. (verse 9b)
I thank the LORD because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (verse 17)

Are we singing His praises in spite of our circumstances, troubles?






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Man After God's Own Heart

O. T. #746  "A Man After God's Own Heart"
May 3, 2016
Summary of 2 Samuel

I always like to review when we finish a book, hitting the highlights of events. So much happened in the life of David recorded in this book. God called David "A man after His own heart." (NLT version is used for scripture.) Let's review the highlights as outlined in The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

I. David's accession to kingship over Judah (chapters 1-3)
  • Deaths of King Saul and son Jonathan (1:1-27)
  • David anointed by Judah (2:1-7)
  • His victories over the house of Saul (2:8-3:1)
  • Wives and sons of David in Hebron (3:2-5) 
Must we always be killing each other? Don't you realize bitterness is the only result? (2:26)
Abner, Saul's army commander, said this to Joab, David's army commander, when Judah and Israel were at war with each other. Later, Joab killed Abner.
Can we also ask the same within our church, killing another's witness through gossip? Within our families, neighborhoods and communities?

II. David's accession to kingship over Israel (chapters 3-5)
  • Deaths of Abner and Ishbosheth (3:6-4:12)
  • David anointed by all Israel (5:1-5)
  • David's conquest of Jerusalem (5:6-12)
  • Wives and sons of David in Jerusalem (5:13-16)
Ishbosheth was a self-appointed king over Judah, reigning two years, but the people wanted David as their king. Two men sneaked into his house and cut off his head.

III. David's triumphal reign ((chapters 5-8)
  • David's victories over the Philistines (5:17-25)
  • Spiritual victories of David ((6:1-7:29)
  • David's victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Arameans, and Edomites (8:1-18)

But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David. (5:7)
We know Jerusalem became the sight of the Temple of God then and throughout the New Testament times. It is the chosen place where Jesus will reign.

David attempted to move the Ark of the Covenant on a new cart without consulting the Lord first. As a result, a man died when he touched it. Searching the scriptures, David found the Levites were to carry it upon their shoulders using poles. David danced through the streets as the procession entered Jerusalem. The Ark was a symbol that the Lord was with Israel.

Corresponding with this is 1 Chronicles. In chapter 16 we read:

Remember the wonders He has performed, His mercies, and the rulings He has given. (12)
Do not touch My chosen people, and do not hurt the prophets. (22)
Great is the LORD! He is worthy of praise! (25)
Give to the LORD the glory He deserves! (29)
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. (34)


The Lord covenanted, promised, David that He would give him a dynasty of kings in his family in chapter 7.

Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? (7:18)  Do you hear the humility in David's heart, this man after God's own heart?

Where are you and your family in perspective of God's will for you? Are you serving Him faithfully?
What has God brought you through in your lifetime?





Monday, May 2, 2016

A Significant Place

O. T. #745  "A Significant Place"
2 Samuel 24-Part 3
Then David said, "This will be the location for the Temple of the LORD God and the place of the altar for Israel's burnt offerings." 1 Chronicles 22:1

LET IT GLOW

Are there any significant places, the ones that have been of importance in your life? I can think of one that has been in our lives. It is our home church. Both my husband and I were baptized there, although two years apart; we were married there; then we surrender to the ministry there. In addition to all of those events, it was the first church which both of our children attended as babies. Although its physical appearance has changed, I still see it in my mind as it was some 40 years earlier. David turned a threshing floor into a significant place. Join me today as we learn what a simple, insignificant place became one esteemed in all of Israel.

We left David recognizing the enormous result of his willful rebellion against God. He was given three options from which to choose as his punishment-3 years of famine in Israel, 3 months of fleeing their enemies, or 3 days of pestilence in the land. When this broken man faced up to his responsibility, he throw himself on the mercy of God.

What happened next?
  • This resulted in 70,000 fresh graves and families grieving their loss. So many lives were marked by David's compromise with pride (taking a census in Israel).
  • David looked up and saw the angel standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. (verse 16)
  • David and the leaders of Israel fell face down on the ground. David interceded for his city. (verses 15-16)
  • Then the Lord stopped the death angel from destroying the people of Jerusalem. He was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  (verse 15) 
  • That day the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. (verse 18)
  • In the meantime, Araunah and his 4 sons were threshing wheat and saw an angel  there. His sons ran in fear.
What is so significant about this threshing floor?
Reading this same story in 1 Chronicles 21:18-22, we find that it would become the location for the Temple of the LORD God and the place of the altar for Israel's burnt offerings in Jerusalem, the city of David. (1 Chron. 22:1)

Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary give more information:
Araunah's threshing floor sat above Jerusalem to the north, in the area where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice and where Solomon would later build the temple. Since threshing utilized the wind, threshing floors probably were often in high parts of cities.

What is significant about this specific place in Jerusalem?
We read of its importance to Abraham, David, and Solomon. Prophets foretold of the destruction of the Temple, and then restoration. It would be the site where Jesus would teach and preach in the Temple. Also, another New Jerusalem is included as the place where God will gather all His people in Revelation 21.

To me is so amazing how God has places of significance by His choosing. The important thing is, are we and our loved ones going to be included in this gathering?

My significant place currently is where I meet with the Lord daily to worship and speak with Him and He with me-my little office at home. Oh, it is a multipurpose room where my clothes hang in the closet and on the door, books sit upon the shelves, commentaries are spread out on the desk, my granddaughter's toys are waiting for us to use, Vacation Bible School decorations are in the making, and family pictures and history remain. Most importantly, though, it is a place where I can go to pour out my heart to my loving and caring Heavenly Father. It's significance is that He communes with me there the first part of the day. Amidst the cluttered room, He finds His way around it all, and comes directly to tis sinner's heart to visit with me, on this country road of faith where I live. It is so quiet that I can still hear the frogs on the pond croaking songs of praise to Jesus.


LET IT GROW

Now, back to David. He and his elders went to this threshing floor and consulted the owner:
What transpired on this insignificant place which was about to change into the most significant site in Israel?
  • The owner bowed when he saw King David approaching.
  • David offered to buy it at full price. Then he would build an altar there so the Lord would stop the plague on Israel.
  • The owner offered it to David as a free gift, as well as oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing boards used as wood for the fire, and wheat for the grain offering, to be used. He wanted to give it all to David.
  • David refused the offer, insisting on buying it paying the full price.
I Chronicles 21:24 records David saying: I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have not cost me nothing!

David paid Araunah 600 pieces of gold for the threshing floor, on Mt. Moriah. He built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt and peace offerings upon it. David prayed and the Lord sent fire to consume the offerings. That is when He spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath. David made sacrifices there when he saw the Lord answered his prayer.

At that time, the Tabernacle of the LORD was located in Gibeon. However, David did not go there to inquire of the Lord because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the LORD. Thus Jerusalem became the location for the Temple of the LORD God and the place of the altar for Israel's burnt offerings. [Resource: The One Year Chronological Bible/NLT]

This was where the shedding of blood took care of the sins. Notice that David would not give the Lord another man's sacrifice. A cheap sacrifice is worse than no sacrifice at all. (Wiersbe)

God puts a higher value on sacrificial offerings than on their monetary value. (Falwell)

Do we present offerings to the Lord that cost us nothing? Or do we present Him with sacrifices that cost us? What is God asking us to sacrifice to Him today? Jesus gave His blood as a sacrifice for our sins, costing Him everything, His life. Should we do any less?

LET IT GO

Give my body and myself as a living sacrifice to God.

Keep my significant place a place of  surrender.

Praise my God of grace and mercy.