Sunday, January 3, 2016

1 Kings 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 2. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • David realizes his life is about to end, so he "promotes" his Solomon to king, and gives him some instructions (2:1-12). Most of the people he mentions (in asking Solomon to bless or punish them) we learn about in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel.
  • David refers, in verse 5, to the promise God had made him. We find God making that promise in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. This was a conditional promise God made, that IF David's descendants were faithful, one would always sit not the throne. Spoiler alert: David's descendants do not remain faithful and in 2 Kings 25 we will see them lose the throne.
  • After Solomon is established as king, his (older) (half) brother Adonijah goes with a request to Solomon's mother (Bathsheba). We met Adonijah in the previous chapter, where he tried to make himself king against his father's wishes. Here he asks to marry one of the girls from his father King David's harem. (The girl is Abishag, whom we also met in the previous chapter.) Solomon realizes what Adonijah is up to. In their culture, if Adonijah married a woman from the King's harem, it was the equivalent of claiming the throne. He was still trying to take over as king. Because of that, Solomon has him executed.
  • Some of what happens in this chapter (Solomon having his father's enemies killed, etc.) may seem like a scene out of The Godfather. But remember, this was a very different time and culture than we live in today. And whether these men deserved to be executed may be debatable, but they had done evil things deserving punishment. (Also, we can see that Solomon tried to show grace -  he didn't plan on killing Adonijah or Shimei - but only gave justice when his hand was forced.)
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The promise God made to David was a conditional promise. It's important to understand that God makes conditional and unconditional promises to us.
    • An example of an unconditional promise is in Genesis 9:8-11 where God promises to never destroy the earth with a flood again.
    • An example of a conditional promise is in Romans 10:13 where God promises that He will save anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. So, for the promise to be kept (God saves you) the condition must be met (you must call on God, which is another way of saying put your faith in Jesus to rescue you from your sins.) Another conditional promise  is found in Mark 11:24 where Jesus says God will answer our prayers IF we believe He will answer those prayers. So, for the promise to be kept (God answers a prayer) the condition must be met (you must believe God can and will answer it).
    • This is important to understand, and many people don't. Because they don't, they expect things from God that they shouldn't. For instance, most people think they're going to Heaven when they die. But the promise of Heaven is conditional, it's only given to those who meet the condition of giving their lives to God through putting their faith in Jesus and what He did on the cross. Another example, most Christians believe that God will bless them financially. But God has not unconditionally promised to do that. He has made a conditional promise that if we are generous in giving to Him financially, He will generously bless us financially.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Think about the expectations you have of God. What do you think He should and will do for you? Are you sure that God has promised to do that? Is it possible it's as assumption you have, but it's not something God actually said? And is it possible that God has promised it, but it was a conditional promise? If so, are you meeting the condition God set in the Bible?