Saturday, January 9, 2016

1 Kings 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 3. 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?)

  • 3:1, It was very topical back then for marriages to take place between royal families. It helped establish peace between the two nations.
  • "sacrificing at the high places" (verse 2) - The Israelites had begun following the Canaanite custom of putting their altars and offering their sacrifices on high hills, probably on the same sites the Canaanites used to worship their god Baal. This had been forbidden by God (see Numbers 33:52 and Deuteronomy 7:5 and 12:3). We see in verse 3 that even Solomon was offering sacrifices to God in the forbidden places.
  • The primary way God speaks to us today is through the Bible. But before the Bible was written, God more often spoke directly to people, including in their dreams, as happens here with Solomon (verse 4).
  • Solomon calls himself a "little child" (verse 7). It's estimated that Solomon was probably about 20 years old when he took over as king.
  • Solomon asks God for wisdom (verses 6-15), and his ruling in the matter of the dead baby (verses 16-28) demonstrates that God answered Solomon's request.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • We are going to see in the coming chapters that Solomon did not stay faithful to God. His downfall? He married women from outside his faith, and they led him astray spiritually. The first step in that wrong direction happens here at the beginning of chapter 3, when Solomon marries a woman from Egypt. Why did he do it? Because it was normal at the time. Too often we do what is considered normal instead of doing what is right. And, like Solomon, following the norms of our culture can lead us in a direction away from God.
  • The Israelites wanted to worship God, but they also wanted to go along with the religious beliefs of their society, so they offered sacrifices on the "high places" of another religion. Mixing religions is called "syncretism" and it's dangerous. It may seem "tolerant" or "loving" to take some of the beliefs of another religion and add them to yours, but when anything is added to the true message God has given us, the uniqueness and the sufficiency of Jesus is lost, and a different set of teachings is created that are not actually God's teachings.
  • Solomon gets to ask for one thing, and he chooses wisdom. It is obvious that God is delighted with this request, as He tells Solomon that He will give wisdom, and many things he did not ask for.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Take a moment to look at how you are living your life. Are there things that you are doing because they're considered normal in our culture, but God would say are not right? What change do you need to make in your actions?
  • Take a moment to look at your beliefs. Are there beliefs that you have that are not the truth taught to us by God in the Bible, but instead are teachings of another religion or philosophy? What change do you need to make in your beliefs?
  • Ask God for wisdom. We are told in the Bible, in James 1:5, that if we ask God for wisdom He will give it to us. Ask Him to help you to discern where you might be living or thinking in a way that is not compatible with what He wants.