Sunday, March 13, 2016

"A wise King for God's people …"

Day #74

Scripture Reading:  I Kings 1 - 4 …

What's the first thing you think about when you hear of Solomon?  For most people, it is his wisdom.  Solomon asked for wisdom from God:  "Give Your servant a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong" (3:9).  In reading Solomon's "Proverbs," it is clear that Solomon worshiped the God of his fathers and that he believed that wisdom came only from God.  Solomon began his reign with the same humility his father had displayed, in spite of his privileged position.

It almost wasn't so.  When David neared the end of his life, his son, Adonijah, attempted to take over without the King's blessing or permission.  Word got out to the prophet, Nathan, and others, and they went to David with the information.  We read in I Chronicles 28:5-7 that GOD had chosen David's son, Solomon, to be the next King of Israel and to build the temple for His Name.  God's sovereign choice is always made on the basis of His grace.  God doesn't look ahead and see who will be good or do great things.  On the contrary, God determines whom He will choose and then gives them what they need to accomplish HIS purposes.  Always, God uses imperfect people to fulfill His plans … except for one … One who HAD to be perfect in order to make the perfect sacrifice for sin!

Once again, the prophecy was fulfilled that there would be bloodshed in David's line.  When Solomon realized that Adonijah was trying to trick him into acknowledging that he (Adonijah) was king by giving him his father's attendant, Abishag, (this would have given Adonijah a claim to all that David had - including the whole kingdom!), Solomon ordered his brother to be put to death.  David was the only one who could choose who would succeed him on the throne and God had already told David that it would be Solomon.  "He is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place.  I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah" (1:35).

What was so important about who was King in Israel?  Does this really have anything to do with you and me today?  These were such primitive times, culturally speaking.  People were going around killing people and worshiping other gods.  Everything appears to have been so chaotic. … But that is precisely the point.  Human nature continually turns toward chaos and destruction.  Left to ourselves we would destroy the planet.  Our generation has actually made that possible, for the first time in human history!  Were the people in David's and Solomon's day really any worse than mankind today???

Before David died he warned Solomon about his enemies and told him to be sure they were put to death.  Chapter 2 gives an account of Solomon's actions to bring judgment on those who had shed innocent blood … even Joab, the commander of David's army, and others.  And at the end of it all we read, "The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon's hands" (2:46).  Could this have been God's doing?  What was the result of all this??  "During Solomon's lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig tree" (4:25).

"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight. … Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom" (4:29, 34).  Such was Solomon's reign, and we will read more about some of the details as we go on.  A man of wisdom, a man of peace, a man who built the Lord's temple … in all these ways a "type" of Christ, pointing ahead to the ONE who would rule on David's throne who would be different than Solomon in one very crucial way:  He would BE the Son of God!

One greater than David, greater than Solomon, greater than any king or any ruler, has already been anointed by God to rule over the nations.  His Name is JESUS and He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One!  Solomon's kingdom points to a future kingdom, where Jesus will reign from Jerusalem over all the earth.   During the Millennium Jesus, descended from the line of David and Solomon (See Matthew 1:6-7), will be seated on David's throne, just as the angel announced prior to His birth:  "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; HIS kingdom will never end" (Luke 1:32-33).

And what about HIS enemies?  Many in David's time and in Solomon's reign chose the wrong "side."  The same is true today.  Most people do not understand that we are by nature "enemies of God," worthy of His judgment.  To those who have received God's grace and who have been moved by His Spirit to believe in Jesus as their Savior, Paul wrote, "God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!  For if, when we were God's ENEMIES, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!"  (Romans 5:8-10).

We who believe WERE enemies of God, along with the rest of mankind, but we have been saved from God's coming wrath by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Paul writes to the Corinthians, "The end will come, when He (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet" (I Corinthians 15:24-25).  Read Zechariah 14 and ask yourself:  "When has that ever happened?"  It hasn't!  But it WILL!!  "The LORD will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one LORD, and HIS Name the only Name!" (Zechariah 14:9).

Until then, we look at the reign of Solomon and the temple, understanding that Jesus has begun His reign and is building His temple today and that the literal reign of Jesus on the earth and the gathering of His people will take place in the future.  That's why He taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  God's people need a wise King!  Thank God for His promises!!

"LORD God Almighty, You alone are King and no one rules except by Your appointment or permission.  As You have set the rulers in place, so You have planned to establish Your eternal kingdom and have appointed Your Son Jesus Christ to reign forever!  Thank You, Father, for Your grace in forgiving all who come to You through faith in Jesus and for Your promises of a glorious future in Your eternal kingdom.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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