Today’s readings are: 1 Kings 3-5
There is a lot of meat on these bones so I’m just going to share a few of my notes and look forward to yours in the comments in our Facebook group!
However, don’t feel as if you have to leave a lengthy comment. A greeting is always appreciated as well. We just like to see your name and be reminded of the special spot you fill in the family. Your greetings encourage me!
🌿You may not have realized it before, but today’s readings give us a model of what YHWH likes us to pray for and what displeases Him to be asked. I don’t know about you, but that’s information I want to know.
🌿Solomon asks for Wisdom
1 Kings 3:10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
What pleased YHWH?
Solomon was seeking wisdom in order to walk in His ways.
But in answering Him YHWH tells us what does NOT please Him to be asked:
Long life, riches, vengeance.
These are specific examples but they can be grouped for the most part under personal prosperity – which is what a lot of preachers today tell us specifically to ask for.
We often see verses which encourage us to treat the Father as if He were a lucky lottery ticket. They are generally taken out of context and shared in little snippets, with the verses both before and after removed because they would sully the effect by daring to require some sort of reverence for God.
As I always say, when someone give you a verse, take a chapter – at least. Never settle for a verse taken out of context.
🌿When we come across and are tempted to use these cherry picked prosperity verses it is best to do three things:
1. Ask ourselves if we are after YHWH’s heart or our own.
2. Recognize the misuse of the verse for the lack of reverence (and blasphemy) that it is.
3. Put the verse back into context and take time to, prayerfully, seek the true meaning.
Many today are learning for the first time what it means, in YHWH’s eyes, to be after His heart. Oh the beautiful wisdom that comes from that journey!
We’ve been taught what it means in the world’s eyes, but the world serves a different god, one made in its own image and given the title of god – though we know there is only one.
The Father sees that we are learning and He shows us grace. Not only that, but when we seek Him, He meets us where we are, takes our hand, and leads us deeper into relationship with Him than we could have ever dreamed.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13
🌿High places 1 Kings 3:2-4 – Again, when reading these texts, the authors assumed that readers would have a foundational knowledge of scripture. However, in our day and age, as far removed as we are from the context and culture, it is likely nothing seems off in today’s reading for us.
Remember, just because something is in the Bible does not mean YHWH approves of it. One example: Solomon sacrificed in the high places. Sure, he meant well, we see that he considers YHWH to be his God and he is sacrificing to Him, but there are two things wrong with this.
- Sacrifices are only to be made by God’s authorized Levitical priests.
- Sacrifices are to be made at places appointed by YHWH.
This was a time in which many pagan gods were worshipped and people had a habit of building altars in their homes, in cities, and in “high places” as a way of honoring their gods. Wealthy families would even hire their own private priest (as we saw in Judges 17) to make sacrifices on their behalf at home altars.
YHWH has made it clear to us, time and again, that we are not to worship Him the way other gods are worshipped (Deut 12:31). He has given us clear, precise, and easily understood instructions on how to do just that.
Here are a couple of verses coming up that show how YHWH feels about these high places and sacrifices in them.
- 1 Kings 22:43 He walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. *Yet* the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.
And coming up we will see King Josiah do great and mighty things when someone discovers and Torah scroll and delivers it to him, which ends up with him realizing that they have not been keeping YHWH’s ways. (Torah is the Hebrew word for the first five books of the Bible). One of those things is removing these high places:
2 Kings Chapter 23:19 And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the LORD to anger.
And here is more specific instruction, found in Deuteronomy 12:1-6
“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation[a] there. There you shall go,and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.
🌿Two more things jumped out at me that Solomon did which violated YHWH’s instructions.
26 Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 1 Kings 4:26
Why is this wrong? Let’s go back to Deuteronomy, one of those foundational Scriptures we are responsible for knowing:
14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Deut 17:14-17
🌿1 Kings 3:1 tells us that he took a wife from the Pharaoh of Egypt! Egypt is the country who held Israel in bondage and now the king intermarries with them. Let’s look at another passage in Deuteronomy about intermarriage:
3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire. Deut 7:3-5
Note the reasoning for not marrying them. We will see this prove true time and again whenever YHWH’s people intermarry with idolaters.
🌿However, despite this, we are told that Solomon loved YHWH and we can see from the text that YHWH loves and is pleased with Solomon. How do we reconcile this with the fact that Solomon is disobeying some key principles in YHWH’s instruction? Y’all – Grace. As we’ve mentioned, Israel has fallen largely away from YHWH’s Torah during this time, later we’ll see that they likely don’t even know where a Torah scroll is at this point, and we saw that David was not diligent or faithful in teaching His children. Right now, Solomon is doing the best he can with what he has to work with. However, this is a good time to point out something:
Don’t mistake YHWH loving us for Him being permanently okay with us disregarding Him.
There is a lot to learn in this and we will see small details adding up to greater trespasses (slippery slopes get more slippery over time) but one of the main themes we need to take notice of is this: No matter how beloved we are of the Father, no matter how anointed we are, we are still not Elvis – doing it “My Way” is never a successful option for a Believer.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with Shalom (peace that comes from the Father) in your home!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!
Today’s recipe post: Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges