1 KINGS 2:1-3:2 | ACTS 5:1-42 | PSALM 125:1-5 | PROVERBS 16:25
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We continue in the book of I Kings to learn that David instructs his son, Solomon, on both large and small matters regarding the kingdom before he breathes his last. Part of his instructions have to do with the death of Amasa—the commander that was murdered by Joab—and to which there was no further mention until now, causing us to wonder if David had forgotten this heinous deed that had occurred on his watch. Evidently not! But David also does have a change of mind about another one whose audacity had been initially pardoned, but it can only be assumed that there might have been more to that story.
And so, after a forty-year reign, David breathes his last. Solomon has been firmly appointed on the throne and goes about the business of attending to the needs of the kingdom when there is the incident of his half-brother Adonijah, pardoned by Solomon himself at the beginning of his reign, but making today a request that outrages the king. I suppose once forgiveness has been received, one ought to live a little more circumspectly—only because you know you are living on the graces of your benefactor.
But when you fail to recognize this and push the envelope, no good can come from it. This is what Adonijah found out when he made the request to ask for the Shunamite woman, king David’s attendant’s hand in marriage. It must have been the sheer gall, perhaps even the audacity of Adonijah that rubbed Solomon the wrong way about this request because the only thing that results from this request is Adonijah’s own death.
Other matters that are resolved are those concerning Joab, the long-time commander of David’s armies—a man who had blatantly abused the office he had held. It is time for him to go. Shimei, the man who had been forgiven by David himself for heaping curses upon David during the Absalom insurgency continues to remain in the graces of king Solomon, but again, when you abuse the state of grace that you are in, your subsequent follies are bound to catch up with you sooner or later.
Many hundreds of years later, Paul, the apostle, will ask the question: Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? And the answer to that, my friend, is a categorical no.
We also learn toward the end of this chapter that Solomon is serious about the business of kingdom-building, and soon, a marriage alliance is forged between the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt and himself. Imagine that—at one time, the people of Israel were slaves to the Pharoah, and today, many hundreds of years later, a daughter of Pharoah is worthy of becoming Queen of Israel.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we find the terrifying story of Ananias and Sapphira. Lying is never a good idea, especially not when it concerns the work of the Lord. This couple intended to do a good thing for the young church that was growing in their midst, and yet, they willfully choose to withhold information and resources. What happens is that their guilt is the cause of their death.
We continue to learn about Peter and the apostles continuing in their ministry of teaching, preaching and healing. Miracles abound, and the common folk are overjoyed at this while the Sanhedrin remain fuming. So agitated do they get at one time, that they throw Peter and the others into jail. But the iron bars of the jail cannot hold the apostles back. By virtue of a miraculous appearance of an angel, they are set free and instructed to go directly to the Temple courts the next day, and preach the good news to one and all.
And they say this: 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
This simple message didn’t sit well with the Sanhedrin, the religious group who tried ever so hard to ensure that no blasphemy laws might be broken. Woe was to them and to their kind who yet again began to persecute these apostles, just as they had done with Jesus himself. This persecution takes on many forms, even a public flogging, but the apostles count even this as an honor, and go about their mission, like always. The text tells us: 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, it is yet another one affirming the providence of the Almighty upon the people of Israel. I daresay, this is yet another verse that is invoked to this day by the modern nation of Israel:
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
Finally, one powerful verse from the book of Proverbs that I reproduce in the KJV, the version that I first became familiar with:
25There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.