Sunday, October 2, 2016

2 Chronicles 9

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Chronicles 9. 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?)
  • Solomon has become famous for his wisdom and for the way God had blessed him and his nation. The queen of Sheba heard of it and comes to see for herself, and to test Solomon with challenging questions (verses 1-9).
  • In verse 8 she says, "Praise the Lord your God." Though she did not come as a believer in God, seeing God's blessings and hearing the way Solomon answered her questions led to her recognizing that there was something to this "God thing".
  • Solomon's riches and success are shared in verses 13-28.
  • Interestingly, the author of 2 Chronicles chooses not to tell the rest of Solomon's story, including how he turned away from God (largely due to the influence of the women he married, who worshipped other gods) and led the nation of Israel away from God. You can read about all that in 1 Kings 10:26 - 11:43.
  • At the end of the chapter we read of Solomon's death, and a summary of his reign as king.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The the queen of Sheba heard of how God had blessed Solomon and so came to test Solomon with tough questions, he was ready to respond with godly wisdom. The Bible says to us, in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect." Because of having God in our lives we should live question-provoking lives. People should see a difference in our lives and ask us about it. And we need to ready to share the story of what God has done in our lives.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Do people ask you questions about why your life is different from other peoples, why you have the kind of joy and hope and love you have?
    • If not, why not? Ask God to help you examine your life, because if people are never asking questions it probably reflects a problem. Perhaps you're not living in the vital, connected kind of relationship with God that He's offering to you? What changes do you need to make?
    • If so, are you ready to respond?
      • Consider writing out your "testimony" (what was your life like before Jesus, how did you come to faith in Jesus, what has changed in your life since you've had Jesus) so you can be better prepared to share it in a concise (and hopefully compelling) way.
      • You may also consider reading a book that shares answers to the kinds of questions non-Christians often ask. Some good options: More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell, The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel, and The Reason For God by Tim Keller.