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Old Testament: 1 Kings 8:1-66
Two of the biggest of sins that had been resulted in God using sin.
1 Kings 8:1-45 Prayer About Prayers
Wierbse points out that David’s two greatest sins brought about the great achievement of Solomon’s Temple. David sinned in his relationship with Bathsheba and in the numbering of the people. The census resulted in the purchase of the area the Temple was built on. The sin with Bathsheba resulted in Solomon who got the project done. Can God use sin? Yes, He can (Rom. 5:20). But that is not an excuse to sin! (Rom. 6:1-2).
Solomon had the ark brought up to the Temple and sacrificed huge amounts of sheep and oxen, so many that they couldn’t be numbered (v. 5). There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of the law given to Moses by Yahweh. Once the ark was put in its place in the Holy of Holies, the glory of the Lord filled the entire Temple.
Solomon lifted his hands to the Lord, the normal posture of prayer in that day, and dedicated the Temple to Yahweh.
Solomon reiterates that it isn’t possible for God to dwell in a particular place (v. 27). He reminds everyone that a descendant of David will always sit on the throne (v. 25). He enumerated the prayers that would be prayed in the Temple 1) Justice (31-32) 2) Military Superiority (v. 33-34) 3) Rain (35-36) 4) Security against nature disasters (v. 37-40) 5) Prayers of foreigners (v. 41-43) 6) Victory in Battle (v. 44-45) 7) Release from Captivity (v. 46-53).
1 Kings 8:46-66 A Gigantic Potluck Dinner
Something our generation needs to remember is stated by Solomon in v. 46, “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin).” We may be so self-centered in our generation that we do not remember that we sin (Rom. 3:20; 1 John 2:6, 8, 10). The penalty for Israel for sinning was drought and ultimately captivity. In our day, we may have a drought of spiritual blessing in our relationship with the Lord though He may use physical droughts to get our attention. Ultimately, He could call us home prematurely (1 John 5:16-17; James 5:14-15; 1 Cor. 11:27-32). The Temple was a place to confess sin.
Solomon offered so many sheep and oxen that the small Temple could not accommodate all the animals. The people had brought all the sacrifices for the Dedication and Celebration. There were 22K oxen and 120K sheep slaughtered that day. Solomon had to consecrate the middle of the court to provide an area for all the sacrifices for that day.
Israel feasted for a week for the dedication of the Temple. They followed that with a week of feasting in celebration. After that, Solomon sent them home and they would have been able to bring some of the meat with them. They did not often have meat. They all went home very happy.
New Testament: Acts 7:51-8: 13
Some people are so twisted that they turned on God and His Spirit resisted.
Acts 7:51-60 Spirit Resistors
Back to the trial of Stephen. Now things really break loose. There is a Christian cult that believes that it is not possible to resist grace. Verse 51 would indicate that this is not true, “You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, . . . just as your fathers did.” People often resist the Holy Spirit, even saved people. The Holy Spirit’s job in this time period is to “convict” people of sin (John 16:8) but people often reject the Holy Spirit’s advice. The way out of the sense of pressure brought by the Spirit is always to “repent” which means to have a “change of mind” (metanoia is the Greek term and is translated “repent” and means literally “change mind”). There is always a way out (1 Cor. 10:13) but it always involves humility and change (cf. James 4:6-10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6).
Here’s where a little diplomacy might have come in handy. Stephen called them, “stiff necked.” He also said that their hearts were “uncircumcised” as were their ears. I don’t think he realized what that would do to their self-esteem. Verse 54 says that the religious leaders were “cut to the quick.” We usually think of elders in the church as being the really spiritual ones. Stephen was “only” a deacon but was “full of the Holy Spirit” (v. 55). He was able to see into Heaven and could see Jesus at God’s right hand. He told the religious leaders what he was seeing but they did just what you’d expect people with “uncircumcised ears” to do. They covered their ears and said, “lalalalaalalalalalalalala” so they couldn’t hear him. Then they “rushed” him and forcefully took him out of town and stoned him.
The Great Apostle Paul was there but, of course, went by his unsaved name of Saul. He was one of the primary persecutors of the church. Many of those approving of Stephen’s death laid their robes at Saul’s feet meaning that they were with him in this crime.
Stephen cried out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (v. 59-60). After he said these things, he died.
Acts 8:1-3 Saul Appauling
There is no doubt that Saul was in favor of Stephen being stoned. After such a great start to the Church on Pentecost, now all Hell had broke loose against them. As Jesus had commanded them (Acts 1:8), the church moved into the surrounding regions of Judea and Samaria. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem as Saul began his rampage against all Christians. He went house to house “dragging” Christians off and imprisoning them.
Acts 8:4-13 Philling the Gap
Philip, having been scattered with the rest, was preaching the Word and having it validated with miracles. He was casting out demons who were shrieking and absconding. He was also healing the paralyzed and the lame. People were happy.
Simon had been doing magic and calling attention to himself with it before Philip got there. He believed and was baptized. We’ll learn more of him tomorrow.
Psalm 129:1-8 A Song Of Trust By Anonymous
You may expect flowers though men on your back become plowers.
Psalm 129:1-8 Foe Be Gone
Psalm 129 has been described as a song of trust for Israel. It has also been categorized as a song of thanksgiving or even a lament. I think that means it could be anything. I report, you decide. I would think the last line would make it a lament. It’s kind of a downer. But then sometimes those types of psalms are encouraging to me because I think of how the psalmist has persevered despite his circumstances and trusted the Lord (cf. Ps. 88, e.g.).
This poor person, representing the nation of Israel, has been persecuted since he was a boy (v. 1). I can identify. The neighborhood kids used to whip me with the zippers of their jackets, leaving welts on my face. Unfortunately, a few years later I grew up and let one of them have it. The others stopped. It is a shame that many people in our country don’t realize how evil acts and that it can only be stopped by force. That is why God has given the government the perogative of wielding the sword (cf. Rom. 13:4). I believe individuals also have the right to defend themselves against abuse. Jesus allowed His followers to take swords to defend them against those who would harm them while giving out the gospel (cf. Luke 22:36, 38).
God protects those who trust Him (v. 2) even if they first leave their mark (v. 3). The Lord will take His vengeance (v. 4, cf. Rom. 12:19). I let a lot of insults go past me. My persecutors may have wished I had dealt with things instead of the Lord. He can be severe and very fair (cf. Heb. 12:29; Ps. 116:5; 103:10).
Israel has withstood the worst persecution of any nation in history. Anyone who has tried to destroy them has been “put to shame” (v. 5). When all other nations are gone, Israel will remain (cf. Jer. 31:36). Their enemies will wilt like grass on a thatched roof (v. 6). They will be like produce left behind by harvesters (v. 7).
No one, in the end, will sarcastically pronounce blessing on the Jews. The Jews will remain, their oppressors will be gone (v. 8; cf. Jer. 31:36).
Proverbs 17:1 The Silence Of The Lamb
I loved to eat when younger but in old age at times it’s better to have some hunger.
Christians love food. It is the only sin they really believe is covered by grace. Check out the buffets on Sunday afternoon after church.
I used to love feasting. I still like it a lot but I know what it can do to my aging body! And I think the food was a lot healthier in Solomon’s day. There were also no fast food joints or DQ’s!
However, Solomon wanted his son to know that despite all the feasts that they had had at their royal residence, if his son could have a few crumbs and the silence of the Lamb, he’d be a lot better off.
Choose Life: Scripture: 1 Kings 8:52 NASB “Home Wrecker”
“ . . . that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You.” 1 Kings 8:52
In dedicating the new Temple, Solomon prayed that God would answer the prayers of His people if they confessed their sins. The Psalmist said in Ps. 66:18-19, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear; But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.”
Are you having trouble getting answers to prayer? Could it be that you’re sinning? That can be a real answers-to-prayer killer. Here’s a Scripture that may surprise you, “You husbands in the same way, live with [your wives] in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). Husbands can have their prayers hindered if they aren’t treating their wives right!
The purpose of our lives is to have a relationship with God. He wants us to be at home with Him. But sin is a relationship home wrecker. It wants to be a third wheel to break up your love affair.
Is there anything that has come between you and God? Can you confess it now (cf. 1 John 1:9)?
If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
Life should not be a game of tracking down sin. Having a relationship with God moment by moment should be our goal. But little sins can be like gnats that we have to swat away to enjoy the summer (or foxes as the case may be, cf. Song 2:15). Big sins can be even worse. Keep short accounts with God. That is part of being “sensitive to the Holy Spirit” (cf. blog Sensitive To The Spirit). Don’t let your relationship with God get away from you due to sin.
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: A Gigantic Potluck Dinner