Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 28 October 2022:
1 Kings 8:3 — And the priests took up the ark.
In this regard, Solomon learned from his father’s mistakes. He didn’t not treat the things of God carelessly.
1 Kings 8:9 says there was nothing but two stone tablets in the ark. The jar of manna and Aarons staff mentioned in Hebrews 9:3,4; Exodus 16:33, 34; and Numbers 17:10 are not in the ark. Why not? There are many theories. I am uncertain, but I am certain that there is no contradiction between these verses. What do you think?
1 Kings 8:18, 19 – Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house….
David’s plans, though well intentioned, were not God’s plans. Just because it sounds right doesn’t mean it is right for you. If you ask God from the right heart, He will show you the correct path.
1 Kings 8:33 – …your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you….
Solomon, the wisest man on the planet, understood military defeat to be the consequence of sin.
1 Kings 8:35, 37 – When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them…. If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is….
Solomon, the wisest man on the planet in his day, saw natural disasters as the consequence of sin, the consequence of ‘afflicted’ hearts.
1 Kings 8:39 — … then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind).
People do what they do for different motives. The outwardly charitable person might not have a truly charitable heart. The offensive person might be troubled beyond your imagination and might actually have a heart more desirous of a right relationship with God than the person who acts in apparently noble ways. Only God knows a person’s heart. Don’t assume you understand the motives behind other’s words or actions. God commands us to judge actions as good or bad but not to presume to understand the heart of another; presuming to know another’s standing with God is judgmental, prideful and offensive to God. If we view actions that are not consistent with God’s word, we are to speak the truth in love with the intent of reconciling that person to Jesus, not to condemn them or to push them further away from Jesus.
1 Kings 8:47-50 — …if they turn their heart… and repent and plead with you.., saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart… and pray to you… then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you.”
Forgiveness involves wholehearted repentance, prayer, and rededication to obedience. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
1 Kings 8:50 – …grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them God can make your enemies show compassion towards you.
God controls the hearts of men as He desires, something only He can do.
1 Kings 8:53 — For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage
The bride of Christ cannot flirt with or ‘date’ the world.
1 Kings 8:56-58 — Not one word has failed of all his good promise…. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.
Solomon understood that God does not fail the relationship, we do. God does not walk away from us; we walk away from Him when we incline our hearts towards another and stop following Jesus.
1 Kings 8:57-61 — May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers…. that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.
Obeying Jesus is an all-or-nothing proposition – you are either obeying or you’re not. Partial obedience is disobedience. However, we live by grace as we grow in love and obedience, which we cannot do naturally — we need supernatural power from God and have access to it through the Holy Spirit. We obey Jesus to glorify Him. Our holy, obedient, wholehearted lives should represent Christ before the watching world.
2 John 1:9-11 – Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
During hard times, the last thing you need is advice from those who don’t abide in the teachings of Christ. In fact, John warns to avoid the influence of such people in any situation. Pay close attention to who is influencing you in life. “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
2 John 1:12 — Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
Current circumstances make it challenging for people to meet in person, and we regularly rely on technology in an effort to remain connected. However, there is no substitute for physically meeting together. Whenever possible, seek personal, face-to-face fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ in order to encourage one another, strengthen one another, and care for one another’s needs. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Note the Bible says, as things get more challenging, we must meet together “all the more.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 28 October 2022: Today, focus on trusting God and glorifying God in all your circumstances.