Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 24 October 2022:
1 Kings 4:21 – Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
“Roughly one thousand years before Solomon ascended the throne of Israel in about 970 BC, God called Abram, later Abraham, out of Ur, promising to make of him a great nation, to give him a good land, and to bless all the families of the earth through him (Gen. 12:1–3). It took centuries for Abraham’s descendants to grow into a great nation and to possess the promised land of Canaan, but God was working to fulfill His promises. Under Solomon, the fulfillment of God’s word to Abraham reached a high point.
We learn this in today’s passage, which summarizes the glory of Solomon’s reign. First, we read that “Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea” (1 Kings 4:20). The Lord made this very promise to Abraham, and it was accomplished in Solomon’s day (Gen. 22:17). Second, 1 Kings 4:21 reveals the vast expanse of land Solomon’s kingdom controlled. Noteworthy here is that the boundaries described in today’s passage essentially match the scope of land promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18–21. In the days of Solomon, the people enjoyed the land inheritance promised to Abraham.
Finally, 1 Kings 4:34 explains that the people of all nations and the kings of all the earth came to Solomon to hear his wisdom. This is a fulfillment of the promise that Israel would bless the whole world (Gen. 12:1–3). In Solomon’s day, the world benefited from wisdom in Israel when it came to hear the wise teachings and sayings that the God of Israel gave to Israel’s king. Today’s passage tells us that Solomon spoke thousands of proverbs and had a keen interest in the natural world, both of which are evidenced in the fact that several of the proverbs of Solomon are based on observations of the created order (e.g., Prov. 6:6–8). Also, much (if not all) of the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon is attributed to Solomon (although the tradition that Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon as a young man, Proverbs as a middle-aged man, and Ecclesiastes as an old man may be nothing more than a pious legend).
Solomon’s reign was an era in which God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in a spectacular fashion, but there are clues in today’s narrative that this was not the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises. First Kings 4:26–28 reports that Solomon had provisions for thousands of horses, a clear violation of Deuteronomy 17:16. Solomon was a good king, not a perfect one. Only One greater than Solomon could consummate the promise to Abraham (Luke 11:31).
At Christ’s return, the promise to Abraham will be finally and fully consummated. Until then, God continues to fulfill His pledge to the patriarch. Abraham’s true children—the church—are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, and their number continues to grow. Moreover, the nations are being blessed as Abraham’s children preach the gospel. Let us be grateful that God is keeping His promise, and may we be used of Him to bless the world.” (Ligonier Ministries)
1 Kings 4:29 — And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore.
God can take you beyond your natural powers and abilities. He can empower you with “supernatural” (beyond natural) abilities for His glory.
1 Kings 4:34 — And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.
Solomon had a unique opportunity to glorify God before all nations. Unfortunately, as we will read, he compromised his witness and was ultimately more influenced by them than an influence.
1 John 2:1 — My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
In last Friday’s readings, John made it clear that we all sin, but when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. (1 John 1:8-10) However, today John reiterates that sin should be rare for us rather than normal – “But if anyone does sin….” We are to strive for sinlessness despite not being able to achieve sinlessness, little children growing in Christlike character over a lifetime – “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.”
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments…. whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3, 5, 6)
Our passion to avoid sin is fueled by our passion to know Him, not simply to know about Him but to know Him in perfect fellowship, to be one with Him, which is what Jesus desires for us more than anything else – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:3, 22-23) Our desire for oneness with Jesus is our motivation for living the sinless life, and the Spirit empowers us; but we must act on that empowerment; we must not quench the Spirit, grieve the Spirit, or get out of step with the Spirit by disobeying God’s perfect word enlightened by the Spirit. Obedience is the natural fruit and evidence of our fellowship with Him, bringing glory to God. Obedience is natural fruit which is created and nourished by the Spirit but cultivated or farmed through our works of love which God has prepared for us. Do not be the lazy farmer — “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” (Proverbs 20:4)
- Romans 6:2 — How can we who died to sin still live in it?
- Romans 8:5 — For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
- Romans 12:9 — Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Hebrews 12:14 — Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 John 2:1-6 — My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin…. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Obedience is the true mark of salvation and love for Christ. John’s expectation for Christians was that they would not sin habitually but would walk as Jesus walked. Christians do not achieve holy perfection in this life, but Christians display holy direction in life. How far the church has drifted from what Jesus expects of his followers….
These are very powerful verses worth memorizing and meditating on every day. The truth of your relationship with God is revealed in your obedience. Again, the truth of your love for God and others is also revealed by your obedience. All disobedience is selfish and unloving, no matter how you justify it. Don’t deceive yourself by going to church while continuing in sin and believe that you are good with God – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” (1John 2:3) The ‘casual Christian’ (if there can be such a person) says, “Well, everyone sins.” True, and yes, we live in a state of grace. Yet the Bible commands that, in our love for Christ, we must resist sin with all of our might as our genuine act of worship (Hebrews 12, James 4:7, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:13; John 4:23). Also, God has told us that His purpose for us in our lives is to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29), to grow up in Christlike character. This calling should be our ambition and drive everything we do. Today is a new day. Get your armor on, and step out.
1 John 2:4 – Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Again, there is no such thing as a “carnal Christian.” If you really believe The Sovereign Almighty, Creator of All Thinks, is not only Lord but also your Savior, that He gave His Son for the forgiveness of your Sins that you might have eternal life, simply because He loves you perfectly, how could you possibly take sin, the sins for which He was crucified on your behalf, lightly?
- Hebrews 10:26-31 — For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Those who continue in sin unrepentantly don’t know Him though they may believe in Him like the demons do – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19)
1 John 2:18 – Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.
Many speculate about the end times antichrist, but there have been and will be many antichrists, powerful people who are against God. Anyone who preaches a truth that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an antichrist, no matter how kind that may seem.
1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Those who reject their faith never really had faith to begin with.
1 John 2:22, 23 – Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
Again, those who deny that Jesus is the one and only Son of God and the one and only way to God are antichrists.
1 John 2:27 – But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
If the Holy Spirit is within you, then the Holy Spirit is your Teacher. Study God’s word daily, walk with Jesus in obedience, remain in prayer, and listen to the Holy Spirit.
1 John 2:29 – If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
Children act like their parents. God’s children act godly. What you do reveals what you really believe in and who you really love the most. Those who really love Jesus want to please Him in love and obey Him as a desire of the heart rather than just an act of obedience.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 October 2022: Obey today. Focus on abiding in the Him, by loving Him, obeying Him in loving obedience, and loving each other in Him as the highest earthly expression of our love for Him. “And now, little children, abide in him.” (1 John 2:28)