Posts Tagged ‘Solomon’

By faith (Abraham) dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  Heb. 11:9-10

Yes, I am a tad irate.

If you read my recent Facebook status (in regard to our latest government shutdown) you would probably come away thinking that I was pretty annoyed with our politicians in irategeneral and our president in particular. You would be right. I’m angry that our government has closed up shop, I’m angry that our nation is 17 trillion dollars in debt. I’m angry that half our nation has become (or is becoming) dependent upon government assistance. I’m angry that the constitution is being trampled upon. I’m angry that our leadership is cozy with our enemies.

And that’s just the short list!

Then the Lord offered this explanation:

“The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” (Psalm 2:2-12)

How Appropriate

The Psalmist explicitly states that part of the problem lies with the leaders. Working together, our rulers (nationwide and worldwide), seem to do everything within their power to violate, transgress, and/or contravene the ways of the Lord. As they collectively cut the cords that bind, they legislate ungodly decrees to hinder those of us who choose to cling tightly to them. As the psalm concludes, our Father in Heaven compassionately offers our kings the opportunity to repent.  Hence, it’s only fitting that we pray for them.

The Bigger Problem

It would be easy for us to rest upon the knowledge of Psalm 2 and deny that there are other issues that serve to perpetuate our current national decline (boy, wouldn’t that would be a shame). I believe, based on scripture, that the larger portion of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the church, or more accurately, the nominal Christians who make up the church.

What is a Nominal Christian?

Nominal Christians (NC’s) fall into different categories, ranging from those people who think they’re believers (but have no actual relationship with Jesus Christ), to those who are born again and are severely back-slidden, and everyone in-between. One characteristic common to all NC’s is selfishness; that is to say, they are primarily serving themselves and not Jesus Christ. Plainly said, they are not committed, submitted, or consecrated to God.

Consider God’s words to King Solomon.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

One might look at the present condition of the United States and surmise that the reason for our nation’s downward spiral is because the majority of us are decadent, depraved, and degenerate, non-Christians. I submit to you that’s not the reason at all. Those who aren’t walking with Jesus Christ should be behaving in this manner — it’s what heathens do.

God’s warning to Solomon was for the believers who were acting illicitly. Clearly God is saying to His church that it’s time to clean up our act.  In other words, it’s time for those dirtwho call themselves Christians to start acting like Christians. Our nation is not going down the tubes because of the perverted efforts of one elected official. It has taken us decades to get to where we find ourselves today. Our current president can point to the former president all he wants and proclaim that it’s his fault, but he’s wrong — it’s the churches fault. This wrath we’re witnessing, which is only a very small glimpse of the wrath to come, is our fault and it is a direct warning to the church to repent. God uses those in authority to admonish His children, in much the same way He used King Nebuchadnezzar (and Babylon) to admonish, and ultimately correct, the nation of Israel.

“For I the Lord do not change” Malachi 3:6

What should we do?

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

If God is saying that we need to be humble, it means that huge numbers of us, since the inception of our nation, have positioned ourselves above His authority. Therefore, we must express godly sorrow for our sin and step down from that post to a place of submission. If you’re not agreeable to this doctrine, then don’t even bother praying, for God will not hear you; the text is that clear. The directive is to be humble, pray, seek Him, and turn away from depravity.  And remember, the ordinance in this context is not for the heathen, it’s for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ!

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 2 Corinthians 7:8-9

Are you angry?

I hope you are.

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4

Let your God-given emotion bring you to a place of decision. I hope you’re angry enough to lovingly pray for our government and our leaders. I hope in your anger you allow the Holy Spirit to identify your role in the equation, as I have. I was once a NC and although I have repented, I recognize that my back-sliding days have caused much damage. So while it is true I am forgiven, I am as much responsible for what’s going on in our nation as those who are actively nominal in their faith. It is for this reason we sound the trumpet. There can be no healing of the land unless the church as a whole is submitted to the will of God. It starts with me and it starts with you.

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

But aren’t we aliens in a foreign land?

Why should we care what happens here, after all we’re just passing through, right?

This is true, but we’re also called to be good stewards with the things the Lord has provided to us. How selfish it would be to devour the land and our liberties, without any effort to leave the place better than we found it. We have also been instructed by our creator to submit ourselves to those in authority over us and to obey the laws of the land, as long as those laws do not violate the laws of our Lord. Therefore, it is our duty to sustain that which is good (as prescribed by our forefathers) and maintain that which the Lord has graciously given. In regards to our stewardship, I cannot help but think of Christ’s words to Saul (aka: Paul) on the lonely road to Damascus.

‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:14-18

I ask you, has God stopped sending people?

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. Proverbs 1:7-9

The year I believe was 1965 and the place was the Fireman’s Fair in Long Branch, New Jersey. The fairgrounds were located near the beach, behind the West End Firehouse on a few acres of land where a tiny strip mall now sits. I was probably about 7 years old. I recall the noise and excitement amid the dozens of extravagantly lit, red and white striped tents that sheltered food stands, clackity carnival wheels, and other assorted games of chance. To my silent displeasure dad ignored most of the canvas commotion; we went to the fair for the rides and maybe, if we were good, a cotton candy – in my family we rarely questioned my father’s decisions. However on this occasion, as we walked past a ring-toss game and the gigantic stuffed animals, I chanced it and asked dad if I could give it a try.

As I expected, dad said no, sternly citing that winning was a near impossible feat to pull-off.

I persisted.

Dad, I know, but I can do it. Please?”

Mom stood by nervously knowing precisely where this exchange was headed as dad repeated his veto, but I knew dad was wrong this time and so again I rolled the dice.


What happened next was pretty ugly, even by 1960 standards, but incredibly dad yielded and plopped down the quarter (I believe) for the bucket of twenty or so, small, red rubber rings. Grabbing the first, I confidently tossed it towards the cases of empty Coke bottles, absolutely positive I would get a ringer on the first throw.

I didn’t.

Twenty more times that stupid ring bounced in every conceivable direction except the one that would have won me a prize. I couldn’t believe it. Surely after twenty attempts, one should have accidently fallen into place. Too embarrassed to look at dad, I stared in total astonishment at the bottles just shaking my crew-cutted, seven year-old, little head.

Dad tried to spare me this indignity the best way he could, but I was relentless. While I accepted the fact that he was more knowledgeable, I believed given an opportunity, I would succeed; I would master what my wise father could not. Alone, I could find satisfaction. Dad lovingly warned and I selfishly ignored.

Our Father Lovingly Warns

And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… 1 Kings 4:29-31a
Solomon was a Godly man and the wisest on the face of the planet; that is until he neglected God’s counsel and began his private quest for all things worldly. He soon discovered that a thousand women were insufficient. Godless wisdom and knowledge were of no value (Ecc. 1:16). Diverse amusements, pleasures, and alcohol were inadequate (Ecc. 2:1-3). Increased wealth and elaborate hobbies brought little comfort (Ecc. 2:4-6). Pampering himself and lavishly entertaining was futile (Ecc. 2:7-8). Even pouring into his career left him unsatisfied (Ecc. 2:10).

In the end this was Solomon’s assessment:

I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:17

Using Solomon as the ultimate example, God graciously warns the rest of us that if the wisest and richest man who ever lived; the best of the best (aside from Jesus) couldn’t do it, neither can we.

We know these things to be true, but yet there seems to linger inside every one of us the notion that given the chance, we could do it better than Solomon or Trump or Gates. God is saying without any equivocation, no we cannot. Without Jesus Christ, no human being can ever be complete or entirely satisfied. Solomon, the poster-boy of worldly achievement tried and failed and in the end he hated it all.

Do I think I can do better than Solomon?

Do I think I can do better than Jesus?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones…My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:5-8, 11-12
It’s truly time to accept the fact that Father knows best and it’s our best move to take Jesus at His word.  Oh, He will allow us to try life as a solo-man, but in the end, like Solomon, we will fail.  Like my dad, God would like to spare us that indignity — His yoke is easy and His burden is light.


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And Solomon had all these articles made in such great abundance that the weight of the bronze was not determined. 2 Chronicles 4:18

Bronze (or brass) in the Bible always speaks to judgment and it is not a coincidence that all of the components outside the Temple’s Holy Place were made of bronze. The last item in fact to be seen before passing into the Holy Place was the bronze covered door. In the typology, that door speaks of Christ Jesus and the bronze encasement speaks to all the judgement He endured and bore for our transgressions.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

What I like about the 2 Chronicles passage is that it records that weight of all the bronze used in the Temple was without measure. Similarly it can also be supposed that the weight of the judgment cast upon the shoulders of our Lord and Savior cannot be calculated. My prayer would be that we; that is you and I…

may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 2:18-19

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart (*perfect heart, KJV) and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

The Myth

Nike, the winged goddess of victory, is of course a myth, which is quite fitting since the philosophy behind the slogan “Just Do it,” (that we currently attribute to the modern day name), is also a fairy tale. Taken out of its biblical context, “Just Do it” minimally serves to set one up for ruin. However, in its proper framework, the phrase is the perfect tag for a most wonderful counsel.

The Math

As we read King David’s encouragement to Solomon, the numbers begin to add up. Inspired by God, David lays down a pattern for the boy king to follow, first acknowledging that the tried and true God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is also his God. “If the God I follow were not genuine,” David might have said to his son, “I would have told you so!” Therefore David does proclaim, ‘Know God.’ The Apostle Paul would add…

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11

Serving God

It might seem obvious, but it’s of vital consequence to recognize that we cannot serve God until we know something about God. It is for this reason David prescribed the order to be followed. Once we know, and as we are committed to knowing Him more, the church, both individually and corporately can more effectively serve Him. Performance flounders for those whose biblical and relational knowledge of Jesus is shallow.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

A Perfect Heart

In the New King James version, the passage is rendered as serving God with a loyal heart, while the King James translation cites a perfect heart. The message being conveyed by both is that Christian service is not to be done half heartedly. Since the Father searches our hearts entirely and wholly comprehends our intensions, to bring Him less than all is pointless.

I will praise You with my whole heart… Psalm 138:1a

.Less of Me

David continues that we should seek Him…

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a

And that we have been chosen by Him…

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you John 15:16

And that we have a house to build too!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

How Do We Pull it Off?

When we talk about things like perfection, aren’t we over extending ourselves? You bet we are. As we read further along in 1 Chronicles 28 we discover that David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple that was to be built. Similarly, our Father has given us the pattern in His written word to pursue.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

David told Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God–my God–will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord,” and God tells us the same thing; we have the identical assurance.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6; 4:19

No Worries

God does not take away our ability to choose, so we can, if we desire, worry. But in light of God’s established promises (for those who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), why would we elect to waste precious time focusing on our anxieties–Jehovah Jireh is our provider and His grace is our sufficiency. We can know Him, whole heartedly serve Him, and seek Him resting in the reality that we have been chosen and thoroughly equipped by Him. Praise be to God!

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as He has said to you. Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. 1 Chronicles 22:11-13

David Van Biema and Jeff Chu, writing for Time Magazine on September 10, 2006 addressed the controversy surrounding prosperity gospel in their piece titled, “Does God Want You to Be Rich?” They write that the, “Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology,” is the, “new good news,” that their followers believe, “God doesn’t want us to wait [for].” The article continues, “It suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke. Its signature verse could be John 10:10: ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’ In a TIME poll, 17% of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61% believed that God wants people to be prosperous. And 31%–a far higher percentage than there are Pentecostals in America–agreed that if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.”

The Problem

This kind of prosperity doctrine begins to unravel when we consider that the supposed leader of the movement, Jesus the Christ, was (for our sakes) a poor man. He willingly gave up His heavenly riches, was born in a stable to a poor mom and step-dad, toiled as a carpenter, considered Himself a servant, and proclaimed homelessness to His followers. Yet, in spite of His poverty, He was the most blessed man who ever walked the earth.

The Truth

What’s the deal? There is a difference between Christ’s wealth and the assets associated with the prosperity movement of today. Jesus was, and still is sold-out entirely for His Father. I’m not seeing that with the prosperous ‘Word-of-Faith-ers.’ Jesus kept nothing for Himself, but gave all He had for Dad’s honor and for our benefit; not His own. Jesus gave back entirely that which He received as an obedient gesture to the Father, thus giving Him all the glory. Just as Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that, “He will glorify Me” and “He will bear witness about Me,” Christ’s sole purpose was to magnify the Father and do His will. Jesus truly was about His Father’s business. Our Lord makes known that there is a divine purpose for prosperity.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13

Recognize how the 1 Chronicles 22 passage supports our Lord and Savior’s position and how it further implies there are two types of prosperity: that which is God-centered and that which is self-centered. The verse reveals that Godly prosperity begins with prayer, that it’s given for a divine purpose, and maintaining it is provisional. Provisional? Yes. That’s not to say it will be taken away necessarily (we know that not to be the case), but rather it might very will be the thing that brings about a person’s destruction.

Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:20

Look around at the ‘Name-it-and-claim-it’ clan. Where do they live, what do they drive, and what are they wearing? They might be all about Jesus on Sunday morning, but what does the rest of the week say about their loyalties? What would their checkbooks reveal about their faithfulness? Do they claim their prosperity as an entitlement or the vehicle by which they might further the Kingdom of God? Listen to their message and look at their fruit—what is the Holy Spirit telling you? Beware those who would tell you that your best life is available now.

However, if you find yourself prospering, you should know the reason why. There is a true prosperity doctrine and a false one. Don’t be led astray. The manner in which you walk is determined by which side of the aisle you stand. Know that the blessings of God are a curse to those who would hoard and use them selfishly.

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he wanted to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. 1 Kings 9:1-2

This is incredible, isn’t it? God appears to Solomon yet again! Man oh man, he is so blessed; it’s no wonder that Solomon in these early days was so amazingly dedicated to the Lord. But wait; do the math—it’s been twenty years since the last time Solomon and the Lord had such an encounter. It’s our tendency occasionally to lose track of the biblical time line, inclined to read the Bible with a consecutive mindset; that events occur one right after the other. Well that isn’t always the case.

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. Psalms 40:1

The reality is that the Bible is abounding with instances of godly men and women waiting on the Lord. Abraham waited, Noah waited, Joseph waited; the list goes on and on. In these occurrences we take notice of how these people abided in their faith and glean from their example. But more importantly we should observe that their confidence in the Lord was not dependant upon regular miraculous incidents. We’re reminded that Promise-Land-bound Israel witnessed more signs and wonders then any other people group on the planet, but yet in one generation’s time, only two men came to believe. The lesson: miracles don’t draw people to faith, God does and people who come to rely upon miracles to walk-in-their-faith are characteristically found dead-in-their-tracks.

There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways Nor abide in its paths. Job 24:13

What do I do? In spiritually dry periods, do I go to His well; in darkness do I seek His illumination; in loneliness do I yearn for His touch, or is it the miraculous signs I crave? The fact of the matter is that God is satisfied when we walk by faith abiding in the shadow of His wings. It was Jesus who said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29b). The implication is that those who walk by faith alone are more blessed than those who require persistent confirmation and miraculous coddling. Walk by faith and be abundantly blessed!

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. Then he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. 1 Kings 8:54-56

Thank you Father, you’re timing is perfectly magnificent. These past few weeks You have been doing a wonderful thing in me. One particular joy [to me] is that as I’m growing spiritually, I am not feeling the pangs I normally encounter. All that is to say that my personal Bible study is marvelously in line with how You have been moving me and I do not for one moment believe it is coincidence. In light of that, today’s focus revolves around the subject of blessings; not receiving them, but bestowing them on others.

Bestowing the Blessing

Sharing a blessing is simply conferring happiness and prosperity upon another. While there is a prescribed order and method that I want to examine, the Christian should rest comfortably that he or she has the God-given authority to pronounce blessings. How do we know this? We know this because Holy Scripture reminds us:

(We are) a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5b

Having been given the right to bless one another, we should come to recognize the privilege and responsibility associated with it. As we read the 1 Kings passage we note that Solomon had prepared himself through sacrificial prayer. Why is that important? Prayer prepares us to bless; in continual prayer we come to discern God’s will so our blessings will not be arbitrary or spiritually illogical. Furthermore, God, through prayer, provides power. In other words, prayer puts us in a position to be empowered by God. We see the ‘formula’ repeated time and time again in the Bible; we must go in before we can go out.

And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.” …Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. Leviticus 9:7 + 22

The altar always speaks of sacrifice and believers acknowledge that there is an expenditure one makes when we come before the Lord in prayer. Have you ever noticed that practically every single person you bless, regardless if they are saved or not, always say, “Thank you?” The reason is, whether they’re conscious of it or not, that they perceive there was a cost involved, a cost that included more than just your time. Sadly for some, it is that cost-factor that keeps them from praying and pronouncing blessing. Prayer time can be draining, challenging, and strenuous, but for the prayer-warrior and the blessing-giver these are seen as privileged opportunities to serve God and viewed as a very reasonable sacrifice.

What’s Our Motivation?

What motivated Solomon’s blessing? 1 Kings 8:60 tells us, ‘That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God (and that) there is no other.’ The blessing wasn’t selfish, nor was it selfless; in the long run it was purposed to bring recognition, glory and honor to the only One who could deliver on his words. Did it work; was anyone of the earth drawn by the Holy Spirit to know the Lord? The Queen of Sheba was! In 1 Kings 10:1 we read how this African queen heard of Solomon’s reputation (particularly as it related to the Lord) and how she came to investigate. In her own words Sheba concludes:

Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:8-9

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen more clearly how blessing others is evangelical. I am purposed in my heart to do it more and do it more effectively, with Solomon (and many others) as my example. How about you? Go pronounce a blessing upon someone today, in the name of the Lord and with an expectation that the blessing will come to pass!

It’s my blessing to you that your day is Jesus-filled to the point He overflows upon everyone you encounter.

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Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. 1 Kings 8:6

It had been almost 500 years since the Exodus and Solomon had finished constructing the desire of his father David’s heart, the Temple of the Lord. Its moving day and all the components of the Temple were brought in and put in position and the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies. Question—‘What’s inside the Ark of the Covenant?’ Follow-up question—‘Are you absolutely sure?’

Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 1 Kings 8:9

Okay, Who Stole Aaron’s Rod and the Manna?

While God in His Word does not explain what happened to the staff and manna, we can rest assured that there are reasons why they were missing. Before we delve into the explanation, we would recall why these items were placed in the Ark in the first place. Aaron’s ‘budding’ rod was a miraculous confirmation; a sign to Israel that Moses and Aaron were His intended leaders. The manna on the other hand was a wondrous sign of God’s provision. The Law was a sign of a different category; a tangible road-sign informing every reader of where he is (in sin) and where he needs to go (to the cross of Jesus Christ).

So the question of most importance is not, “Who removed these two items,” or, “where are they,” or “what happened to them,” but rather, “why does only one remain?” The answer is evident; this singular article (two tablets) effectively demonstrates two facts…

…The word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25a

The second fact might not be as obvious. It will serve us well to remember that there is no other people group in world history that witnessed more miraculous signs and wonders than post-Egypt Israel. What impact did all those signs and wonders have upon them? Not much. Out of entire generation of people (a couple million or more), only two, Joshua and Caleb, came to believe. There is an enormous lesson in that.

Are We Done With Miracles?

Heaven forbid! Jesus told His church that there is an order in which these things will occur…

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18

And He told us why there needs to be an order…

A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 16:4

And there’s the second reason. Generally speaking, we are sign-seekers; we want evidence, we want confirmation, we want corroboration before we commit and handover the reigns to Someone we cannot readily see or touch. There’s a drawback that comes with that kind of attitude and Jesus told us pointedly what it is:

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24

The rod and the manna were removed for our protection! So like me, you might ask why were those signs and wonders placed into the Ark to begin with. I submit to reveal to us that a) they exist, and b) we don’t need them to come to faith, and c) they will follow us as we follow Jesus. We should consider what was said regarding John the Baptist [who] Jesus called the greatest prophet whoever lived…

Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” And many believed in Him there. John 10:41-42

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Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: “Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. 1 Kings 6:11-12

Solomon’s Temple, unlike the Lord’s Tabernacle, was a work of man. It is true the hands of men constructed both, but only the Tabernacle was inspired, configured, and directed by God the Father. That’s not to say the Father didn’t appreciate Solomon’s effort (or ours), but that He is most concerned with what it is we are becoming rather than what it is we’re making.

I recall a mentor who once asked me, “So Dave, how are you doing?”

With enthusiasm I told him all the stuff I was doing. He respectfully tolerated my ramblings and then politely asked again, “That’s nice Dave, but how are YOU doing?”

Not unlike the Lord, this friend was more interested in my spiritual condition and much less in my spiritual activities—he wasn’t devaluing; he was prioritizing. My friend’s question reminded me that my faith walk was all about relationship and obedience, and less about construction and creativity. These are the very things that God queried of Solomon’s heart.

A Great Reminder

There are many angles by which a man can stand, but only one angle he can stand straight. God asks me, as He asked Solomon, “As you go about the components of religion and the purposing of your duties, are you walking correctly?” A fair question by One who is more concerned in what I am becoming rather than what I am building. The fact of the matter is that God is more concerned with what He is putting together.

Case in Point

…You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

We’re all familiar with this verse from First Peter and how it clearly demonstrates that God not only created us, but is creating something new in us. But are we as familiar with how that doctrine applies to this verse:

And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. 1 Kings 6:7

The verse points out that all the preparation for the Temple’s stone, all the chiseling and the hammering and the polishing, was being done in the quarry and not on the Temple grounds. Likewise, as living stones, all our preparation is being done in the quarry (the pits) before we are brought home to be peaceably placed into our spiritual home. Since this is the case, it should be our chief focus to be upon submitted to the process. The Christian who walks in His statutes, executes His judgments, keeps all His commandments, and walks in them, is one who is both blessed and a blessing.

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And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:23

Here’s the scene: King David is dead and his son Solomon, at age sixteen, is the rookie king. Adonijah, Solomon’s half brother has just been executed by Solomon, and Joab, King David’s formal general is running scared. And he should be. As David lie on his deathbed, Joab had joined forces with Adonijah in his failed coup d’état. But even before his death, David warned Solomon of what a scoundrel Joab was and that a wise man should have him killed.

Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace. 1 Kings 2:5-6

In fear, Joab runs to the Tabernacle.

So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold of the horns of the altar. And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the Lord; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 1 Kings 2:28-29

Two Things…

The first thing that jumps out of the text is why King David allowed so much insubordination in his general. If Joab was so horrific a general (and he was), why didn’t David just have him executed? The answer is scandalous: Joab had dirt on David. In addition to Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba; Joab was the only one who knew about David’s plot to kill Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband). While it is true David had confessed his sin to the Lord, his dirty little secret from the world had consequences, essentially leading to the deaths of Abner, Amasa, and his own son Absalom. There is a powerful lesson for all believers in that.

Depart From Me

The other lesson is for the non-believer: in times of trouble evil men cannot cling to a faith they do not have. Even in First Peter 2:16, the writer asserts that believers are not to use their liberties as a cloak for vice. In other words, no one can unrepentive-ly do whatever they like Monday through Saturday and then crawl into the confessional on Sunday and claim sanctuary. For this reason every believer should examine themselves, or more accurately submit themselves to God’s examination, to see if they are truly in the Kingdom of God or merely clinging to the horns of the altar. Joab discovered too late that the church is no sanctuary for the unrepented soul. Let no one make the same mistake.


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