Month: April 2017

1 Kings 8-9

1 Kings 8:10-11
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

One can only imagine how spectacular it would have been to have witnessed the cloud, the glory of God filling the temple. The holiness of God, manifested in His glory, was so overwhelming that it completely undid a person. I believe, as these verses would suggest, that all you could do is fall on your face and worship the Lord. I believe we should spend much more time laying prostrate before our God.

1 Kings 8:22-23
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said: “ Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.

I have never fully understood how we can sing worship songs with words like, “I lift up my hands” and not literally lift them up. I realize that we may be self-conscious about it or perhaps have had some bad experience with it, but we shouldn’t let that deter us. Lifting our hands to God is an acknowledgement of who He is and our complete surrender to Him. It is indicating to Him, that ‘there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You’. If we truly believe that, we shouldn’t hesitate to lift our hands to Him. It should be an automatic response to our love for Him.

1 Kings 8:38-39
whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men),

We would have never come to a place of being saved, had we not been in touch with the ‘plague of our own heart’. Once we realized that God alone knew how wicked out hearts were and that He alone could heal them, we were ready to have our heart of stone replace with a heart of flesh. A heart capable of loving and serving God.

1 Kings 8:63
And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the Lord, twenty- two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.

What a celebration of God’s provision this must have been! That was a lot of meat. Imagine the aroma of the meat cooking wafting throughout all of Jerusalem. The aroma would have been smelt throughout the land as a symbol that God alone was to be worshipped.

1 Kings 9:3
And the Lord said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

The eyes and heart of the Lord are still on Israel…perpetually. There are some who believe in what is known as ‘replacement theology’, meaning that the church replaced the place the Jews previously held in God’s heart. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just read Romans 11 and Revelation 7 and you see that the Lord is clearly not finished with the Jews.

1 Kings 9:8
And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house? ’

Tragically,we will see that this indeed did come to pass.

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1 Kings 6-7

1 Kings 6:7
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.

It is hard to comprehend how they constructed a temple as magnificent at this must have been. We tend to think of people from that period of being a people just short of barbaric. As I think about this, I realize what a foolish way to think and that nothing could be further from the truth. These people were ingenious in their thinking and engineering skills.

1 Kings 6:12-13
“ 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. 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”

All the children of Israel needed to do to experience God’s presence and blessing was walk in His statutes, execute His judgments, keep all of His commandments, and walk in them. And so it is with us!

1 Kings 6:21
So Solomon overlaid the inside of the temple with pure gold. He stretched gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold.

Imagine what it must have been like to enter into the temple, completely overlaid with gold. What a glorious building it must have been.

1 Kings 7:2
He also built the House of the Forest of Lebanon; its length was one hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits, with four rows of cedar pillars, and cedar beams on the pillars.

The a house of the Forest of Lebanon was Solomon’s second house, perhaps his vacation home. Obviously Solomon was extremely wealthy. Remember that a cubit is about eighteen inches long, or one and a half feet. This house was one hundred and fifty feet long or half the length of a football field. In other words, it was big!

1 Kings 7:19-20
The capitals which were on top of the pillars in the hall were in the shape of lilies, four cubits. 20 The capitals on the two pillars also had pomegranates above, by the convex surface which was next to the network; and there were two hundred such pomegranates in rows on each of the capitals all around.

The craftsmanship of the temple must have been a sight to behold. I recently visited St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Construction began in 1147 AD and took 13 years to build. The highest tower of the church is over 446 feet tall. The detail of the various carving out of the stone which is found throughout the cathedral is incomprehensible. Your mind can hardly comprehend what your eyes are looking at. I am sure that it was the same with the temple.

1 Kings 7:26
It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained two thousand baths.

Many of these measurements are foreign to us, but to get an idea of how large they were it is good to have an understanding of them in terms we can understand. A handbreadth speaks to the width of a person’s hand, approximately 3-4 inches. As for the size of a bath, it was approximately 5 and 3/4 of a gallon. So this basin which would be used for ceremonial washing contained 11,500 gallons.

1 Kings 3-5, Luke 20

1 Kings 3:1
1 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall all around Jerusalem.

In many respects, this was the beginning of the end for Solomon. The Lord had made it very clear that the Israelites were not to marry foreign women. Right off the bat, Solomon violates God’s law. God in His mercy bears with Solomon, but we will see that ultimately foreign women and horses will be his downfall. The least little compromise will eventually lead to disaster unless it is repented of.

1 Kings 3:7
Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.

This was one of Solomon’s finer moments, admitting that he didn’t have the wisdom needed to be king. As a result of this humble admission, God will make him the wisest man to have ever lived.

1 Kings 3:13
And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.

If we would but understand that God wants to give us so much, above and beyond what we even ask for. All we have to do is humbly submit to His sovereign authority and then be willing to trust and serve Him with all of our hearts.

1 Kings 3:28
And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

I believe that if we would but ask for wisdom, God would freely give it. Solomon would write in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” I ask for wisdom all the time and find that the Lord freely gives it. The greatest source of such wisdom is the Bible. Every time we open our Bibles, we are opening the very mouth of God.

1 Kings 4:29-30
And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. 30 Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt.

God had poured out His blessings upon Solomon so much so, that the stage was all set for him to be perhaps the greatest king ever. Unfortunately, in time, Solomon would take his eyes off of the Lord and his reign would end in great shame.

1 Kings 5:5
And behold, I propose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to my father David, saying, “Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he shall build the house for My name.”

This was the first of several temples that would be built. One of those temples has yet to be built. It will be built during the Great Tribulation period. Revelation 21:22 tells us that in the new world, there will be no temple because Jesus will be our temple, He will be our only place of worship, “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

1 Kings 5:18
So Solomon’s builders, Hiram’s builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.

I cannot begin to comprehend what it would have been like to watch this construction take place. When we visit Jerusqlem, we see some parts of the originql wall of Jerusalem. The enormity of the white stones they used are indescribable. I would have loved to have witnessed the building of this temple.

Luke 20:8
And Jesus said to them, “ Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

It is impossible to trip Jesus up in His thinking, and yet the religious leaders foolishly attempted to do so. Sometimes we come to the Lord with all kinds of justification for why we want to do things a certain way. Our time would be so much better spent simply submitting to what we already know His will to be. Husk world tells us how He views all things.

Luke 20:18
Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

I love this picture of coming broken before God and receiving the gift of salvation. When we fall at the feet of Jesus, with broken hearts over sin, our sins are instantly forgiven and we are restored to an intimate relationship with God. However, if people refuse to be broken over their sin, the outcome is not so bright.

Luke 20:27
27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him,

Years ago I heard of a clever way to remember what the Sadducees believe about the resurrection. It went something like this, “The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, therefore they were ‘sad-you-see’. A little corny, but I have never forgotten it.

1 Kings 1-2

As we get into the Kings (1 & 2 Kings) followed by Chronicles (1 & 2 Chronicles) keep in mind that much of Kings and Chronicles cover the same periods. The primary difference is that Kings covers the kings of both the Southern and Northern Kingdoms of Israel, whereas Chronicles covers only the Southern Kingdom. This will make more sense as we move forward.

1 Kings 1:5
Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Before Solomon was formally anointed king, Adonijah plotted to seize the kingdom. Eventually, Solomon would have him put to death and Solomon would reign as king.

1 Kings 1:10
But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.

When you are walking in disobedience, you want to surround yourselves with people who will agree with you rather than people who will tell you what you need to hear. It is no surprise that Adonijah wasn’t interested in inviting Nathan. He knew that Nathan would confront him with who he really was.

1 Kings 1:50
Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar.

Adonijah foolishly thought that he could hide behind the altar, that somehow the altar would protect him from his fate. He thought wrong.

1 Kings 2:7
“But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.

It is good to remember those who have shown kindness to us. It is God’s heart. I like how David passes this kindness on to Solomon. We will see in the coming weeks that more often than not, the sons of kings did just the opposite as their fathers, which is where much of the corruption came. Stick to the ways and commandments of the Lord and all will be well.

1 Kings 2:11
The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty- three years.

David was the second of the three kings of United Israel. Each reigned for 40 years. Saul, David and the last king, Solomon. It will be at the end of Solomon’s reign that we will see the division of the kingdom of Israel.

1 Kings 2:28
Then news came to Joab, for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold of the horns of the altar.

It could be that Joab had heard how adonijah had temporarily been spared, thinking it as because he had taken hold of the horns of the altar. He too seriously miscalculated and Solomon called his bluff and executed him anyway.

1 Kings 2:46
So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

There was much bloodshed during the period of the kings. This brings to light why the Lord did not want them to have a king, other than Himself. He alone wanted to be their king. This is just the beginning of Israel getting what they asked for. They will face great hardship as a result, approximately 320 more years before ultimately being taken into captivity. It is better to do it God’s way!

2 Samuel 23-24, Luke 19

2 Samuel 23:1
1 Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

I always get a little sad when I am reading and come to the end of someone’s life, especially David whom we have been following for so long (though we will hear much more from him when we get into the Psalms).

2 Samuel 23:5
“Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase?

The promises of God are ‘ordered and secure’. This should bring tremendous comfort and confidence to us.

2 Samuel 23:8
8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb- Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.

Pay close attention to these mighty men. Note their accomplishments, their bravery and their character. There are some very interesting individuals on this list. Oh that we would be such mighty men and women of God.

2 Samuel 23:12
But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

Even though these men were mighty, it was always the Lord who brought the victory!

2 Samuel 24:10
10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

At first the Lord moved David to number the people so that David might give glory to God for having provided such a great army for him. In time, David’s desire to number the people became a trust in the numbers, rather than a trust in the Lord. This was the sin of David in numbering the people.

2 Samuel 24:12
“Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’”

When my children were little, I would occasionally let them choose their punishment. We see a picture of this with the punishment for David’s sin.

2 Samuel 24:14
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

This was a very wise thing for David to do. It is always best to fall upon and live in the mercies of the Lord. The best definition of mercy, is ‘not getting what we deserve’. Lamentations tells us that His mercies are new every morning (3:22-23). When we learn to realize the truth that we are living daily in the mercies of God, we will desire all the more to walk in obedience to God.

2 Samuel 24:24
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

It is upon this area that David’s son Solomon would erect the temple. This area today, is the location of the Islam mosque known as the Dome of the Rock. However, the day will come, during the time of the Great Tribulation, when the temple will be rebuilt.

Luke 19:5
And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “ Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Tax collectors were crooks. Imagine how he must have felt when Jesus wanted to come to his house. I am certain that Zacchaeus’s life was never the same. Jesus came for sinners. He came for you, He came for me. I am so glad He came into my house, into my heart. I am so glad He is there to stay!

Luke 19:20
“Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.

We must be careful that we don’t bury the gifts and the talents the Lord has given us. He wants to use those gifts for His glory. In doing so, He multiplies them and we receive the blessing of knowing that He has used us.

2 Samuel 21-22

2 Samuel 21:2
So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.

It is hard to fully understand all of the things that went on in the Old Testament. All of the killing and feuding seems to make no sense at times. But then you get down to the root issue of such things and at the heart of it all, you find that there was disobedience to what the Lord had told them to do. What a stark reminder to us to obey the Lord at all costs.

2 Samuel 21:8
So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite;

This can be a little confusing if we are not careful. This Mephibosheth is not the same as the one in the previous verse. Verse 7 speaks of Jonathan’s son, Saul’s grandson, whom David took care of. This Mephibosheth is Saul’s son.

2 Samuel 21:22
These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

You may remember from the original account of David killing Goliath, and how it says that he took up five stones (1 Samuel 17:40). There are some who speculate, and it is merely speculation, that David took up five stones with the intent of killing Goliath with one stone and his four sons with the other. Of course we have one way of knowing if this was the case, but it is interesting to consider the thought.

2 Samuel 22:4
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Many years ago, when I first started leading worship, I learned a song with these words in it. We would sing it with all our hearts and souls. It is a wonderful song and so true. He alone is worthy of all of our praise. In crying out to God, we are saved from our enemies. I am convinced, in the spiritual realm, that we are protected from enemies too numerous to mention. The spiritual battle for our lives is all around us and it is God alone who watches over us, protects us and saves us (Ephesians 6:12).

2 Samuel 22:8
“Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry.

There are so many things in this world that can make us angry. I find that the older I get, the more I can get worked up over certain things, even little things that never used to bother me. Generally speaking, our anger is unrighteous. However, God’s anger is always righteous and you don’t want to be the cause for such anger. When we find ourselves being angry with others at the way we have been treated or angry about the injustice of the world, we must turn it over to God. His righteous anger accomplishes heavenly things, all for His glory.

2 Samuel 22:19-20
They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. 20 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

The Lord is our support! How good do those words feel in our hearts? How many times do we find ourselves feeling like nobody supports us? The Lord is our support! We must never forget this truth…ever.

2 Samuel 22:28
You will save the humble people; But Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down.

By God’s own words, He is obligated to bring down anyone who is puffed up with pride. In the same token, by His word, He is obligated to lift up those who are humble. James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Lord, keep us humble.

2 Samuel 19-20, Luke 18

2 Samuel 19:7
Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.”

There are times when we as Christians, and leaders, need to put aside our feelings and show strength in order that others might be strengthened. This was one of those times, when it was important for the king to think of others rather than himself. There are also times when it is important for the people you are leading to see grief, but obviously this was not one of them.

2 Samuel 19:20
For I, your servant, know that I have sinned. Therefore here I am, the first to come today of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.”

What a beautiful picture of repentance here, “I know that I have sinned.” Unfortunately, we see more of a push today among Christians for the ‘acceptance of sin’, the tolerance of sin rather than the ‘forgiveness of sin’. And, the forgiveness of sin is not possible without the acknowledgement of sin which in turn leads to repentance.

2 Samuel 19:39
Then all the people went over the Jordan. And when the king had crossed over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place.

I love the tenderness that David shows towards this ‘aged man’.

2 Samuel 20:22
Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. Then he blew a trumpet, and they withdrew from the city, every man to his tent. So Joab returned to the king at Jerusalem.

Clearly this was not a woman to be messed with!

Luke 18:8
I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

I am learning to more fervently embrace faith and the powerful role it plays in our walks as Christians. I am moved in two different ways as I read Jesus’s words here; first, I am saddened that they Lord may not find the faith He desires, and second, I am inspired to pray for more faith in order that when He looks at my life He would see the faith He is looking for.

Luke 18:19
So Jesus said to him, “ Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

There is a huge push today to ‘feel good’ about yourself. Such ‘feel good’ doctrine has even crept into many churches. However, the reality is there is no one who is good, but God. When people recognize they are not good and God alone is good, then the stage is set for a complete surrender to God so that they might be made good. It is the goodness of a good God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Luke 18:29-30
So He said to them, “ Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Sometimes our commitment and relationship with Jesus will put a strain on some of our closest and most intimate relationships. This is a hard thing. However, Jesus indicated that this would be the case. Here He reminds us that our sights must be set on that which is to come, rather than that which is in the now.