2 Kings 18-19 begins with Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, taking up kingship of Judah at the age of 25. He made a great effort to keep the commandments of the Lord by breaking the pillars, cutting down the Asherah, and even breaking the bronze snake that Moses had lifted up in the desert, which people had begun worshipping as an idol. Hezekiah trusted the Lord and walked after the example of David.
After four years of Hezekiah reigning as king in Judah, the king of Assyria brought his army against Samaria, besieged it, and took the Israelites there captive. A while after this, the Assyrians brought their weapons of war against all the fortified cities of Judah and took those too. Hezekiah, in an effort to ransom his people, stripped Jerusalem of all it’s silver and gold, even going so far as to remove the gold from the temple. The king of Assyria took the payment but besieged Jerusalem. The two sides send out delegations to talk near Jerusalem where the commanders of the Assyrian army taunt those sitting on the walls of Jerusalem, profaning God and breathing threats against His people.
Hearing of this with great distress, Hezekiah goes to see the prophet Isaiah who reassures him that God will indeed punish the Assyrians who, once being an instrument by which God judged the people of Judah and Samaria for disobeying the Lord, have gone too far and think of themselves as gods. The Lord then says that He will work a great work for Judah. Indeed, later one night, the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians besieging Jerusalem. The enemy king returns home and is struck down by his sons while worshiping to his god, just as the Lord had said.
The pages of 1 &2 Kings are packed with drama and action. Each chapter is full of great and terrible deeds, judgement, redemption, history, and more. These two chapters are no exception as we finally come to a king who is faithful to the Lord and decent to His people. Though his life is full of ups and downs and crazy turns, we see an example in Hezekiah of a man who remembers the commandments of the Lord and how He honours him.
There were countless times when the taunts of the enemy and the strength of their arms would have given the king good reason to fear and tremble, yet even during a terrible siege, he sought the Lord and did as He commanded. The very enemy, who after having carted off much of Judah, that was encamped around Jerusalem was not enough to shake the kings dependence on his King and seek His guidance and wisdom.
While Hezekiah was commended and blessed for his obedience to the Lord in regards to the Law, he also availed himself of the most precious fruit of obedience – a steady relationship with his God. Throughout his reign, Hezekiah showed the benefits of being close to the Lord and being committed to Him fully. It was not mere ritual and law he fulfilled, but demonstrated love and obedience, and by doing so had the eyes and ears of God Almighty during the greatest trial during his days as king!
We think a lot about our walk with the Lord and how to do what pleases Him, but are we making the most of our relationship with Him? Do we let Him know the woes and worries of our hearts? Do we tell Him about the sins with which we are struggling? Are we making our requests known to Him with praise and thanksgiving? Let’s always remember that God is personal and wants to be closer to you than even your most beloved friends and family!
How can we live our lives in a way that makes the most of our relationship with God Almighty? What difference could that have on your life?
Lord Jesus, thank you for making a way for us to be one with you. Thank you for taking on human form and being one of us, and that we know when we pray to you, we’re talking with a personal God who understands us fully. Please help us dive into a deeper relationship with you and warm our hearts with your presence and love. Amen!
Song - King of Kings, by Hillsong Worship
Text: 2 Kings 15-17 (Ps. 105)
Observe: Israel’s kings: 0/20 good. Judah’s kings: 8/19 good. Today’s sad lineup, in order of appearance:
Uzziah Named by Isaiah, who prophesied during his long reign. Pleased God BUT kept pagan shrines. The Lord afflicted him with leprosy, isolating him until his death. Jotham as regent in this period. Good, but…
Zechariah Did evil in the Lord’s sight. Assassinated by Shallum. Bad. Shallum After only a month, assassinated by Menahem. Probably bad.
Menahem Contemporary of Uzziah. Destroyed an entire town. His bribes and extortion stopped the Assyrian king from attacking Israel. Bad.
Pekahiah Menahem’s son. Continued Israel’s sins. Assassinated by Pekah. Bad. Pekah Continued Israel’s sins. Assyrian king invaded Israel during his reign. Assassinated by Hoshea. Bad.
Jotham Uzziah’s son. Pleased God. Rebuilt part of the Temple BUT let idol worship continue. Israel attacked Judah during his reign. Good, but...
Ahaz Jotham ’s son. Followed Israel’s sins, sacrificed his son, worshipped at pagan shrines. Stole silver and gold from the Temple, bribed Assyrian king to defend Jerusalem. Repurposed, relocated Temple furnishings to please Assyrian king. Bad, really bad.
Hoshea. Contemporary of Ahaz. Did evil in God’s sight. Exile, ‘because the people of Israel sinned against the Lord their God’. (17:7) Bad.
Worship became thoroughly syncretized under these kings, influenced by Assyria; priests teetered between gods and God. With no discernment, fear of God or obedience to His law, Israel knelt to the true God and whatever idols were handy. Foreigners settled Samaritan cities, bringing their idols with them. Despite a returned priest’s preaching the fear of the Lord, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner (17:40). A dark time, yet again.
Interpret: Reading these scandal sheets, we weary of repeated evil; imagine the depths of God’s righteous anger. Perhaps… ‘God sees the truth, but waits.’* Even the “good” kings disobey God, compromising wholehearted devotion in ignoring His command to destroy all pagan influences.
God gave the people the kings they wanted (or deserved?). But what they wanted was not what they needed – a true King of justice and mercy, of integrity and love, full of grace, sinless, worthy of worship -- a servant/King. The problems with nearly all the kings? They forgot ruling means serving. They forgot to worship God only. Eventually, God erased the kingdom of Israel, exile to Assyria the ending.
Apply: We too live in dark times and see/sense dark things around us: Visible – huge gaps between rich and poor; God’s male/female duality a mockery; increasing crime, poverty, homelessness; child abuse; euthanasia; world-affecting diseases; government corruption; societal and family breakdown; slavery; increased persecution of Christians; injustice; lack of wisdom and truth even in some church leaders, and so (onerously) on.
Invisible – principalities, powers, and spiritual battles; moral laxity; absence of true faith and love of God; idolatries, confusion, greed, anti-authority, unbelief, cynicism; my rights, my ‘truth’, Self as main idol. 2 Tim.3:1-5 is a chilling forewarning...
But God’s truth overcomes darkness: ‘In [His]light do we see light’ (Ps. 39:9); ‘… even the darkness is as light to You ‘(Ps 139:12a) ‘I am the Light of the world...’ (John 8:12) His light shines into the darkest corners of hearts. By His grace, idolatrous self-rule yields to His just and holy governance. We pray for those in authority, at whatever level, that their hearts will turn to “do what is pleasing to the Lord”. As ours must, constantly.
Ask: Lord, what idols do I still ‘worship’? Help me destroy them! What ‘kings’ other than You rule my life? Assume the throne of my heart. Lord God, would You grace me to obey, love and trust You alone? You bought me, at such great price.
Pray: These I ask in Your Name, King Jesus.
Song: The King of Love My Shepherd Is
*Title of a short story by Leo Tolstoy
All in? All in! by Pastor Dave
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!”
Revelation 3: 15
2 Kings 12-14 (Psalm 104)
As we read through these books we witness the continual failure of leaders and people to fully follow God. Today is no exception. Joash follows God to some degree, and works to repair the temple, but allows idol worship to continue; incomplete obedience. The Priests seem inactive for twenty-three years under support from Joash; lethargy or the love of the status quo? Jehoahaz is disobedient to God but seeks Him when under threat; obedience because of necessity? Jehoash continues in the bad example of his father but does seek help from God’s man, Elisha. However, he does not fully commit to Elisha’s instructions so is not fully blessed. Amaziah, like Joash, makes an attempt to follow God. With limited success, however, he gets over confident and brings ruin on his kingdom. In the final section, an able leader Jeroboam, goes against God, but is used by Him for the sake of God’s people.
None of the Kings fully commit to God. They are influenced by culture, fear, self, others, ambition, power and situation. It is God’s grace that sustains the kingdoms through, and more often than not, in spite of the kings. God’s Priests seem to refuse an open invitation to bless God’s people. Despite their inaction, blessings then flow in abundance, with direct intervention from the king, showing the heart’s desire of the real KING.
Many factors will prevent us fully committing to God; we will see something of ourselves in the chapters we have read today. The sad truth is that our hesitancy, and lack of trust, often causes us difficulties. In sport (especially rugby and football-soccer), I learnt that full commitment brought reward, lack of commitment often brought loss and injury. It was best to be all in or all out. God cautions us of this truth in our relationship with Him. In Revelation 3: 14-22 the Church of Laodicea is warned against being lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. In 3: 16 there is a stark warning of rejection if the Church continued in this vain. In a far more positive 3: 16 (John) we see our saving grace. The fully committed Christ, achieves for us, our eternal future if we trust in Him. This grace of God is the all saving and vital truth for us. God does not deal with us as we deserve but is amazingly longsuffering and patient. He so desires to bless, if we but only trusted and fully committed
The Question of Application
Are you all in, all out or a bit of both in your relationship with God? How might God bless you if you gave more of yourself in loving trust?
Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
When I survey the wonderous cross by Kathryn Scott
The Wondrous Cross by Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin
II Kings 8-12
Lord God, have mercy on your struggling people. Grant us your assurance that you are truly God and we can trust you. You are love and we want to know that love deep in our hearts. Make us steadfast as we believe and to follow you.
Song: Yet not I but through Christ in me
It is Enough (Chris Barnes)
2 Kings (Chapter 4-7)
OBSERVE: In chapter 5 we read about an important man named Naaman, who was the general of all the armies of Aram. Although Naaman had great influence and success, he also had a problem that he could not overcome: leprosy. After Naaman heard about the great God of Israel from a young captive from Israel who served in his household, Naaman went to see the prophet of God, Elisha, to seek healing. “Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy” (2 Kings 5: 10).
INTERPRET: The very idea of having to do this made Naaman storm away in anger. Naaman saw himself as far too important and successful to do something so simple, so ridiculous, as dipping himself into the muddy Jordan River. However, Naaman’s servants pleaded with him, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” (5:13), and he relented. After he washed himself six times he was still leprous. But then, after he came out of the water the seventh time, his skin was like that of a young child – it was as if he had been born again; he had become a new creation.
APPLICATION: Naaman wanted to pay the prophet something to show his gratitude. But the prophet Elisha refused any gifts to show Naaman that this God could not be bought or be satisfied by what we can offer. This was not the first time someone had tried to obligate God through their great wealth or good deeds. However, salvation comes only to those who are willing to humble themselves and receive by faith the wealth and goodness of another – Jesus Christ. The only “great thing” God wants, is for us to turn to him in humble faith and obedience, recognizing that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The ‘great thing” is simply to rest completely in the great finished work of Jesus on the Cross.
Many will come to the Lord at the judgement, Jesus said, and plead all the great things they did for God. Yet Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Get away from me” (Matthew 7: 22-23). Why? Because they were determined to accomplish their own salvation through the “great things” they did for God. They were unwilling to simply rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
QUESTION / REFLECTION: Is the finished work of Christ enough for you?
PRAYER: Jesus, your words tell me to humble myself and offer you only my need, yet I so easily feel that I must do some great work for you in order to be loved and accepted by you. Help me to be more willing to rest in your great work alone - which is enough.
SONG: Jesus Paid It All (Newsboys)
If you're feeling lost in the shadows and low on hope, please make sure to take a moment and listen to the song with this blog by clicking here! God bless!
1 Kings 17-19 include some of the most famous stories about the prophet Elijah. It begins with a drought ordained by the Lord upon the land of Israel as judgement against their idolatry under king Ahab. For years on end there is no rain, and a great famine settles over the land. In that time, Elijah is commanded to stay with a widow and her son in Zarephath.
He arrives and asks her for bread and water, but she tells him she only has a little flour and oil that are about to run out, after which she expects her and her son to die. Elijah promises that neither the flour nor the oil will run out until the Lord sends rain upon the earth, and it is so. Shortly after, the widows son dies and the woman beseeches Elijah who cries to the Lord, who raises the son back to life.
After three years staying with this widow, Elijah is commanded to show himself to Ahab, after which rain will return to the earth, but not before there is judgement on the people of Israel, especially those 450 people who have become prophets of Baal under Ahab and the 400 who had become prophets of Asherah under Jezebel. All of Israel gathers to see a contest in which the prophets of Baal and Asherah slaughter a bull and offer it on an unlit altar, seeing if they would light the altar fire in an act of divine might. Elijah also slaughters a bull but fashions the altar as it ought to be done in Israel, out of 12 unmarked stones and offered to the one true God.
The false prophets cry out to their gods and dance and cut themselves with swords until their blood flowed in an act of worship, but no god responds. Elijah mocks them, and, just for good measure, pours three large jugs of water over his offering. He then cries out to the Lord of Heaven who pours out a mighty tongue of fire, consuming the offering, the water, and the very stones themselves.
All of Israel rallies to Yahweh and the false prophets are put to death according to the law. Rain then returns to the land. After this, Jezebel is out for Elijah’s blood, who flees to the wilderness. Elijah, full of doom and gloom, is told to take a nap and have a snack provided by an angel. After this, he decides things aren’t too bad and continues on his journey. There is a moment when the Lord passes by Elijah, but is said not to be in the great wind or earthquake or fire that follows, but in a soft whisper that speaks to the prophet, saying that the Lord will leave a faithful remnant of Israel alive after a change of regime in Israel and after indicating that a man named Elisha will take Elijah’s place as a prophet in Israel.
How shall we interpret these passages? There are many lessons to be learned, such as relying on divine provision, the judgement and justice of God, and the folly of idolatry (plus the Biblical suggestion that a nap and a snack can do wonders for ones spirit!). The thing that stands out most to me is the up-and-down resolve and courage of Elijah throughout his ministry. He is remarkably called and provided for in divine ways, being rescued miraculously by the Lord and His servant, the widow. But Elijah shows such grief and bewilderment at the death of the widows son, expressing doubt in the goodness of God by seeing such a death, though it is short lived as the son rises later
We see it again in chapter 18 when God works mightily in the presence of all Israel, judging false prophets and ending the famine by sending rain from the sea. Even so, Elijah in the desert despairs of life himself, asking God to take away his life, as if none of these things happened. Later he shows himself in a piteous state, bemoaning the fact that Jezebel is seeking his life. At first glace, we wonder how a man who saw and was a part of such divine works could ever doubt the goodness or provision of God, but I encourage all of us to remember – whether things are good or going absolutely terrible, whether we are celebrated or oppressed, included or marginalized, the Lord is always good, always faithful, always sure, always a refuge.
Our feelings or circumstances do not impact God’s closeness nor do they change His love for us. They cannot negate any of His promises or stop any of His plans. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! Whether on the mountain top or in the valley, our God is the same!
Try and bring to mind the last time you felt desperate. Some of us are feeling desperate one way or another right now. Think of the ways in your life that things feel out of control, delayed, or not going the way we want. What I strongly encourage each of us to do today is offer these feelings, these emotions, and circumstances up to the Lord in prayer in absolute surrender.
Take a moment to meditate on what it really means to be in the Hands of God. Take a moment to consider the fact that He has a plan for your life and has never left your side, even in the darkest, longest, driest places you’ve ever been. Take a moment to think how He wants you to depend on Him not only when things are good or a bit of a challenge, but in the desperate moments and the darkest night. He operates in His own time and is faithful to continue sanctifying and growing you even in and with the chaos of life. Praise God that all things work together for good for those who love Him! Tell him your anxieties and sadness, for He is your heavenly Father who is always and forever close to you.
Application question –
What does it look like to depend on God when things are rough? Do you give Him your burdens, or take over control when things are going bad? How would it make a difference to seek peace in your life instead of change?
Father, you did not even spare your own Son from suffering, but put on Him the wrath that we all deserved. Thank you for being a God who knows our pain and grief, and thank you for always being close to us, no matter how we feel. Help us to depend on you no matter what and remember all the ways in which you have sustained and blessed us, so that more and more, we might continue to build our lives on Christ the solid rock.
Song - Highlands (Song of Ascent) - Hillsongs United
Text: 1 Kings 14 – 16
Through the disguise of his wife, Jeroboam, king of the northern tribes of Israel, seeks a second word from the Lord from the prophet Ahijah, regarding his son who is very ill. The word of the Lord given reprimands Jeroboam for choosing evil and idolatry instead of being faithful to the God who raised him up and gave him the opportunity to be king over Israel with a lasting dynasty (this was the first word given by Ahijah to Jeroboam). Consequently, Jeroboam is told that not only will his son die, but God will also raise up a new king who will cut off his entire family line.
Meanwhile, Judah, under the reign of Rehoboam, has fallen so deep into idol worship that all the original practices that were detestable to the Lord were re-instituted as if Israel had never driven them out in the previous generations. Egypt attacked Jerusalem and the treasures of the temple and Solomon’s royal palace were lost.
Rehoboam dies and the next king of Judah reigns only 3 years, continuing in evil. For the sake of God’s promise to David, the Lord allows the family line to continue. Asa then rises to power and pleases the Lord, ridding the land of male shrine prostitutes and idols and even deposing his grandmother, the queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa’s heart was committed to the Lord and he reigned 41 years over Judah. War continued between Israel and Judah and Asa used the last of the treasuries to successfully bribe Ben-Hadad to break his alliance with Baasha, king of Israel.
Flipping back to Israel, we learn how Baasha came to the throne by plotting against Jeroboam’s son Nadab. As soon as he was in power, he killed all of Jeroboam’s family, according to the word of the prophet Ahijah. But Baasha also did evil in the eyes of the Lord and we see the exact same pattern of events unfold in his family as with Jeroboam. Again, foretold by a prophet, Jehu, Baasha’s son Elah is plotted against by Zimri, who destroys the whole family of Baasha and takes the throne. But Zimri’s reign lasts only 7 days and Omri, commander of Israel’s army is made king instead. Omri builds the city of Samaria and fathers the evillest of Israel’s kings so far: Ahab, who marries Jezebel, who introduces Israel to Baal worship. Ahab does more to provoke the Lord’s anger than all the kings of Israel before him.
After the glory days of David and Solomon, Israel is split into 2 kingdoms (Israel in the north and Judah in the south). In todays reading we see a pattern emerging in the northern kingdom. Through a prophet (first Ahijah, then Jehu), God gives an opportunity to a person to begin reigning as king (first Jeroboam, then Baasha). If the person agrees to follow the Lord like David, God promises to keep their family line going (just as we see in the southern kingdom of Judah). Unfortunately, both Jeroboam and Baasha follow after idols and the detestable things of the nations around them instead of being men after God’s heart, like David. So God raises up new kings to quench their family lines (first Baasha, then Zimri). But none of the kings coming into power are surrendered to the God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt. Each new king plunges the people of Israel deeper and deeper into idol worship, first with gods introduced by Solomon’s wives: Ashtoreth, Molech, Chemosh, continuing with the golden calves and shrines set up by Jeroboam, and adding in a temple and altar to Baal in the reign of Ahab.
This pattern stands as a stark contrast to what we have read about David. He too had been presented with the opportunity to reign in place of the current king and we have read about his faithfulness to God and God’s continuing faithfulness to him by allowing his offspring to remain in power, despite Judah’s wavering hearts. In King Asa we see a reflection of David.
Through all the evil and rejection committed by God’s chosen people, can we see God’s heart is still to bless? He wants to have 2 kingdoms, both with leaders following His heart. But we see in the lines of Israel’s kings the reoccurring rejection through idol worship that pushes God away and denies His authority and Lordship.
God’s heart is always looking to bless and strengthen the people who are faithful and committed to Himself. Israel’s kings grossly miss their opportunity to live in the blessing of God.
Think about your life. Is there anything you have not surrendered to God? What opportunities might you be missing by not allowing God to be King over your heart?
Lord, you are good! And you long to bless your people as they walk in faithfulness to you. Help me to surrender every part of my life to you and help me follow your leadership today. Amen.
Song: King of My Heart (Kutless)
Wow, there are so many massive shifts that take place in 1 Kings 11-13. First of all, Solomon, in the pride of his wealth and status, directly disobeys the Lord and His statutes and takes many wives for himself from among the surrounding nations. Over 1000 wives and concubines in total. Sure enough, after he had made himself wealthy in every way, he forgot the Lord and went after the gods and goddesses of the Sidonians, Ammonites, and Moabites. This understandably sparks the Lords ire, who promises Solomon that He will tear his kingdom away from the hands of his son, though not all of the kingdom for the sake of David.
God proceeded to raise up adversaries of Solomon, such as Jeroboam, about whom it was prophesied that he would tear apart the kingdom of Israel – the Lord was to give him ten tribes. Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam, but he escapes to Egypt until the time of Solomons death, at which point his son, Rehoboam, takes his place on the throne.
Rehoboam went to Shechem for his coronation and is met by the congregation of Israel who say that their burden of work was made far too heavy under Solomon, that they will serve Rehoboam if he lightens their burdens. Rehoboam consults with his elderly advisors who say that the king should make himself friendly to his people, then his people will serve him all their lives. Rehoboam things this advice is dumb and consults younger, more rash advisors who tell him to actually make life harder for the Israelites so as not to appear weak. Unfortunately, Rehoboam listens to the latter group. Upon hearing this, Israel rebels, saying they have no portion in David anymore.
The people of Israel hear of Jeroboam returning to the land and make him king over the ten tribes of Israel, their capital being in Shechem. At this point, Jeroboam rules Israel in the north and Rehoboam rules the cities of Judah (mainly Jerusalem) in the south. It is only Judah that still holds true to the house of David. Jeroboam then sets up two golden calves as a pseudo-temple, harkening back to Leviticus 32 and the sin of Israel at Sinai. After this comes a confusing story of a prophet declaring the destruction of these idols erected in Shechem, which comes to pass, but who then is tricked by another prophet who successfully tempts this man to break the commandment given him by the Lord. He ends up being torn apart by lions.
Where to begin! There is so much to unpack in each chapter, let alone each paragraph or verse. We would never be able to touch on everything given our limitations in these blogs. Suffice it to say that the root of all this chaos that ensues, the very ripping apart of Israel as a nation, came about by the steady decline of the loyalty of Solomon to the Lord. Just one more concubine, one more wife for political gain, one more great building, one my symbol of wealth, and this king of untold wisdom was reduced to being no better than the pharaohs of Egypt! His women, wealth, ships, tributes, and luxuries became his God before he ever bowed down to any idol. Solomon went from the height of wisdom, forsaking all else to know Her, to a wretched idolater who acted in rebellion to the very God who gave him all these things. Moses warned of the people going after foreign gods when they had become comfortable, fat, and sleek.
It was the sin of idolatry, the sin of putting self and possession before God Almighty, that led to the downfall of an entire kingdom. There have been character flaws in Saul and David that led to great calamity in the land of Israel, chaos through the reign of judges, but nothing that rivaled the consequences of the sin of Solomon who was supposed to be wisest of all men. Submission to God is not a one-time event, dying to self is not a one-time occurrence either. We all must give up our own way, pick up our cross, and follow Christ each day, as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 16:24. This requires our attention and discipline, and we must not become conceited, arrogant, or aloof of that which God commands us! We are God’s very temple, so let us remember Him in everything we do.
I would like to challenge each of us to take time out of each day to be face to face with God, to recall who He is, and to preach to our own stubborn hearts the beauty and joy of dying to ourselves and following Christ. Let us each continue to be mindful of those sins which cling so tightly so that we may walk the narrow path without stumbling! The Lord will keep and protect, though we must be vigilant at the gates of our hearts and minds to fight the tempter. We must dutifully don the armor of God and by doing so extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one. In our readings this evening or tomorrow morning, or whenever you may do them, let us acknowledge our sins and wickedness and seek the loving grace and forgiveness we have in Christ, so that we may always respond to His call with love and carry our cross with Him.
Application question –
What do you need to be on guard for today?
Thank you, Lord, that nothing can get in the way of your love. I pray that I might fight the good fight and put to death that which is evil in me. I pray that I might keep in step with the Spirit and offer myself as a vessel for honourable use. May I not cling to anything but Jesus Christ, who is my righteousness and hope and strength. Amen!
Song - Build My Life (Pat Barrett)
Text: I Kings 8 -10
When was the last time you promised God you would seek his will for your life and you would follow him to the best of your ability, and with God’s help? The last time we did this as a church was Easter Vigil and again Easter Sunday morning when we renewed our baptismal vows.
Lord God you have made us for yourself, to enjoy Your presence. Please forgive our tendencies to wander away from you and keep us on the Way of the Cross which leads to the Way of Life.
Song: Great is they faithfulness
Also available on the St. Aidan’s playlist.
The True Temple (By Chris Barnes)
1 Kings (Chapters 1- 7)
OBSERVE: We read in the early chapters of 1 Kings that it is Solomon (David’s Son) who will be the one to build the temple for God. We also see that this was no quick or easy task. It took Solomon seven years to build God’s Temple with a labor force of 30,000 men from all over Israel. During the construction, the Lord gave a message to Solomon. “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel“(1 Kings 6: 11-13).
INTERPRET: But God’s people did not obey all his commands, so eventually the Lord withdrew his presence from the Temple, and “Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord” (2 Kings 25: 8-9). The temple was rebuilt after God’s people would return from exile, but it never regained its former glory over the next 400 plus years.
APPLICATION: By the time Jesus came, Herod’s reconstructed Temple had become a place where empty religion and profiteering replaced true worship and prayer. This angered Jesus, and when he drove out those who perverted his Father’s house, the religious leaders responded:
“What are doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” ‘All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy the temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. (John 2: 18-22)
Jesus’ opponents, obsessed by the old order, could think only of the bricks and mortar. But the Temple in Jerusalem had always been a preview of the temple to come in Jesus himself. It was his body, the True Temple that was raised in three days to give us life for all the days to come. CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH!
REFLECTION / QUESTION: What does the Resurrection mean to you?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are the true temple, you are everything to me. I pray for a heart that chases passionately after you all the days of my life. AMEN.
SONG: Christ is Risen (By Phil Wickham)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.