TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 CHRONICLES 8:11-10:19
It has been said that men easily compartmentalize their lives into separate components, each with their own application of rules. We see this trait in Solomon. For political purposes and sinful desire, he disobeys God’s command that forbids polygamy (Deuteronomy 17:17). He marries Pharaoh’s daughter, a pagan, to secure a military alliance, neglecting the instruction of Deuteronomy 7:4 warning that to do so would lead to having his heart turned to other gods. Although Solomon was careful to obey God’s instructions for building the temple, he was not careful to heed God’s instruction when it came to his personal life. He took 700 wives and 300 concubines.
1 Kings 11:1-11 1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. 8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.
Solomon had favorable relationships with the Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre who supplied him with 450 talents of gold (2 Chronicles 8:18). The Queen of Sheba, impressed by Solomon’s wisdom, wealth, the decorum of His subjects and the attention to protocol and ritual, donated 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices and precious stones.
The Queen of Sheba recognized God’s hand on Solomon. Her commendation, as true as it was, far better fits the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Chronicles 9:5-8 5 Then she said to the king, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 6 “Nevertheless I did not believe their reports until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You surpass the report that I heard. 7 “How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. 8 “Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the LORD your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.”
King Solomon more than reciprocated the generosity of the Queen of Sheba. This again reflects the fact that we can never outgive the King of Kings.
2 Chronicles 9:12 12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. (NIV)
Particularly impressive was Solomon’s Throne. The throne, overlaid with gold and inlaid with ivory, had six steps and a footstool attached to it. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one on each side of the step.
So plentiful was the gold that silver became ‘common’ in value.
2 Chronicles 9:27 27 The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland.
Chapter 9 concludes with a positive summary of Solomon’s 40-year reign in Jerusalem.
Chapter 10 records the reign of Solomon’s successor, his son, Rehoboam. He rejected the wisdom of his elders and gave in to the suggestion of his wicked peers, who told Rehoboam, to strengthen his rule with harsh oppressive dominance.
Rehoboam’s approach did not reflect the righteous rule of the Lord. Consequently, those who dispersed from the assembly in Jerusalem to their homes throughout Israel, dispersed from any affection or loyalty to their new king.
2 Chronicles 10:16 16 When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to your tents, O Israel; Now look after your own house, David.” So all Israel departed to their tents.
This is an illustration of how ‘the rule of self’ sabotages any expression of the kingdom rule of God.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ROMANS 8:9-21
This reading starts with the reign of the Spirit of God in the believer, which is such a contrast to what we just read of the reign of Rehoboam (which is so representative of the reign of ‘the flesh’, the old sin nature.)
Romans 8:9 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
This verse tells us what a true Christian is- someone who believes on (with a committed trust) the Lord Jesus, belongs to the Lord Jesus, and is indwelt by the Spirit of God.
You cannot have one without the other.
Paul goes on with clarifying statements about our new life in Christ.
Are you alive in Christ? There is only one kind of Christian- one that is born of the Holy Spirit. You have the ability in the Spirit to reckon yourself dead to sin. To ‘reckon’ means ‘to act on the fact’. By the Spirit you can put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).
Romans 8 is the great chapter on the Holy Spirit. He is mentioned more times in this chapter than any other chapter in the Bible (24 times).
By the Spirit we live as ‘sons’ (legal heirs) and not ‘striving slaves’. We live in faith and not in fear (8:15). We have a healthy respect, affection and connection towards our Father (8:15-17). The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit, our privileges as sons- we are heirs of God, and ‘joint heirs’ with Christ.
Romans 8:18 -21 connects us to the eternal plan of the ages. The Holy Spirit is the downpayment (Ephesian 1:13), the betrothal gift from Christ, our heavenly bridegroom, who assures us that Christ will return to take us to Himself. Then we will be changed into His likeness (1 John 3:2) and return to earth with Him to share His rule in a new heaven and a new earth.
Romans 8:19 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALMS 18:16-36
The Psalmist has been praising the Lord for His power to deliver us. This is the power of salvation at work.
What has He rescued you from? Where has He brought you to?
Every true Christian can say what the Psalmist says here:
Psalm 18:17 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
(He delivered you from the kingdom of darkness and the strong enemy who hated you- Satan; Colossians 1:13)
He brought us into a spacious place- our inherited position and possessions ‘in Christ Jesus’. God the Father delights in you as He delights in His Son, because you are hid with Christ (identified with Him).
Psalm 18:19 19 He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
Verses 20 to 24 speak of the perfect righteousness of Christ. Verse 25 reminds us that God treats us according to Christ’s righteousness that He has imputed to us.
Salvation requires humility- (Psalm 18:27) admitting that we are as sinful, hopelessly lost and desperately needy as the Bible tells us we are. We need all that He is and all that He has done and can do. He is the author and the finisher of our salvation.
Psalm 18:27-28 27 For You save an afflicted people, but haughty eyes You abase. 28 For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.
What a wonderful Savior we have! His way is perfect! His Word is flawless! (v.30).
Any time you go through difficulties, remember – you are in training for reigning. He is growing you up! (Verses 30-36 beautifully describe what He is up to!).
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 19:26
Proverbs 19:26 26 He who assaults his father and drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son.
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- PRAYER FOR ITALY
(pages 48-485 in The Operation World Prayer Guide)
This great nation contributed much to the world through its legal systems (Roman law), language (Latin), culture (Renaissance, art, music), and innovation (fashion, cars). But the country struggles with financial troubles and organized crime. Networks such as the Sicilian Mafia, Neapolitan Camorra, and now the powerful Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta influence local and federal governments, and every level of society. Pray for courageous people who will oppose this criminal system which hurts the Italian economy. Pray for Christians to live out Kingdom values when they face difficult decisions.
PRAYER: Lord God, Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all eternity! You are the Greater Solomon and Your splendor takes our breath away. As we make daily discoveries of your riches in Christ Jesus, the pure golden truth of Your Word, we realize afresh that ‘the half was not told us’.
Lord, we want to be all that You have made us to be ‘in Christ Jesus’, sons and daughters that You can truly delight in. We do not despise your chastening hand because we know that Your ways are perfect. Your Word is flawlessly pure. Your treatment through our light afflictions is working for us a far more eternal weight of glory. You are transforming our feet so we can walk in high places and stand on the heights. You are enabling us to resist the devil, and gain victories that glorify Your Name. Amen