~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Kings 1:1-53 ~ Acts 4:1-37
Psalm 124:1-8 ~ Proverbs 16:24
Old Testament - Today we begin First Kings! First Kings is an awesome book. We’ll be diving into David’s son Solomon’s reign and the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem. You’ll recall that Solomon wrote many of the Proverbs, and in chapter 3 of First Kings this week we will learn why Solomon had the wisdom to be able to write such amazing proverbs that have stood the test of time for some 3,000 years! Below is an image of King Solomon dictating his wise Proverbs -
Book: First Kings
Date: Sixth century B.C.
Content: First and Second Kings form one book in the Hebrew Bible and are considered to be prophetic literature, probably because a prophet put the books together. The two books cover a period of approximately 350 years, when kings ruled the land, hence the name of the book. First Kings begins with the death of David, followed by a description of Solomon’s reign, including the building of the first Temple in Jerusalem. The split of the kingdom into Israel (North) and Judah (South) is described, ending with the great conflict between Elijah the prophet, and Ahab, the king of Israel.
Theme: The fact that a history book is considered to be prophetic is important. It shows that God speaks to us from the past, as well as from the present experience of others. These events are recorded so that we will not make the same mistakes again. The conflict between Elijah and Ahab shows God’s immediate involvement in human life and his concern for human affairs. First Kings particularly shows the disastrous effects of social evil upon the spiritual life of a nation. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 6) More commentary on First Kings is at these 3 links –
http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1490 (Introduction to Solomon)
http://bible.org/page.asp?page_id=752 (Introduction to Elijah)
First Kings chapter 1 is quite a chapter today! David is old. Adonijah claims the throne. David makes Solomon King. Quite a dramatic chapter, eh? Adonijah was David's 4th oldest son, and probably the eldest son living at this time. First son Amnon was killed by Absalom. Second son Daniel was probably not living at this time. Third son Absalom was killed in his rebellion. So, fourth son Adonijah thought now was his moment to shine! Well, as Paul Harvey would say, "now for the rest of the story..." The chapter tells us the story well. Solomon was clearly God and David's choice for the kingship. Below is the artist Raffaello's take on verses 39 & 40 today: "There Zadok the priest took a flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and poured it on Solomon's head. Then the trumpets were blown, and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!" And all the people returned with Solomon to Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound."
New Testament - I found it very interesting that Peter and John found themselves before the same 70 member Sanhedrin that Jesus found himself before when he was sentenced to death. Peter and John avoided death in this case, and Jesus' name and power was proclaimed before the high council in a powerful way. Caiaphas you'll recall from John 18:14 - "Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people." Well, the Spirit of Jesus was once before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin through the boldness of Peter and John!
I love reading about the early church praying and sharing their possessions after Peter and John were released! Have you ever prayed a prayer that was anything like verses 29 & 30? Wow... "And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give your servants great boldness in their preaching. Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Think we could learn something about prayer from this early church community in Acts 4? How often do you pray with a group of people outside of a regular church service? Think this would be a powerful thing to do? Below is a beautiful fresco on the wall in a small church in the French Alps of "The Community in Prayer" from Acts 4 today:
Bible.org's commentary on our Acts readings today titled "Truth or Consequences" is at this link.
Psalms - I read in a commentary that Psalm 124 was likely a call and response from a Levitical priest and worshipers. Verses 1 through 5 were likely spoken by the priest and verses 6 through 8 were the response of the people. Cool way to read this Psalm! Even though this Psalm title says it is a "Psalm of David", some commentaries believe this Psalm is post-exile from Babylon based on verse 8: "We escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!" Though, I could see that verse apply to Davidic times too. Verse 8 is a joyful response that hopefully each one of us can sing confidently: "Our help is from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth." Amen and Amen!
Bible.org's commentary on Psalm 124 titled "The Lord is on Our Side" is at this link.
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs chapter 16 verse 24 we read – “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” How does this verse speak to you? Do you believe that words have power? Do you speak to others with pleasant words? Do you realize that your words literally can be sweet to the soul of others and healing to their bones? Knowing this, would this maybe change how you speak to others? Do you also believe that there is a time and place to speak to someone with words that may not be pleasant, but that are needed discipline? I do think there is a time and place for disciplinary words to be spoken directly to someone – with love. And though these words may seem harsh at first, over time they may be seen as very pleasant words that someone needed to hear. Generally speaking I do think we can probably do the most good and encourage others to change through pleasant words. Is there someone in your life today who might be going through a hard time that you can bless with pleasant words? Will you encourage that person today with words that are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones? Let our words be like "honey from heaven" to those around us! :)
Comments from you & Question of the Day - We read about the boldness of Peter and John in Acts chapter 4 today. Do you think we are called to be bold in our faith? Why? What are some ways that we should be bold in our faith? What are some ways in which you are bold in your faith today? What are some ways you want to become bolder in your faith? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!