Monthly Archives: March 2019

Prayer of Dedication

1 Kings 8 [parallel passage 2 Chronicles 6/7] This chapter was to impacting to just lump in with our other reading. This is a major chapter in the life of the Church and the nation Israel. The prayer of Solomon at the Dedication of the Temple is so inspiring and yet so sobering to anyone who reads it. After nearly 1000 years a promise of God to Abraham [Genesis 22] come to completeness. Think about that! Not is the days of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob; not even in the days of Moses, Joshua or Samuel – but in the days of King Solomon the Promise of a land to people as multiplied [1 Kings 4:20] as the sands of the seashore, the fulfillment of God’s Promise rings true. Oh, how the people must have longed to see the day when God’s promise was fulfilled.

The Promised Land – described to Abraham is now the “peaceful land of Israel.” Solomon didn’t do it, all that came before him accomplished the work as they followed the LORD God. The Temple was built-in such grandeur and extravagance, the whole world takes notice. On that monumental day when all the people are assembled – King Solomon, the wisest man in the world ever; articulates a Prayer of Dedication to the LORD God that rings continually in any ear that hears it. A Place for God to put His Name has been constructed. Now the Prayer of Dedication and hope that the LORD is pleases to “PUT HIS NAME” there. Over and over again Solomon pleads that God would inhabit the Place built for Him, understanding that the true dwelling place in heaven. “There is NO GOD LIKE YOU.” Solomon with as much reverence and awe, tries to capture the moment by blessing the Lord for His might attributes.

The Prayer of Dedication becomes a “supplication prayer” to the LORD to hear the praying done in the Temple. Many “IF  . . . Then” statements are made by Solomon. The failure of Israel to continue walking in the statutes and ordinances of God are assumed. Solomon knows the people, He also knows his own heart. Solomon outlines various situations of when the people of God, Israel will not be obedient – He knows that God will discipline through famines, wars and such to admonish HIS PEOPLE to come back to HIM. Solomon knows the people, and even we today are like wandering sheep.

Solomon prays – LORD will you hear when Your people Pray? LORD will you forgive their sin? If he sins against You, his neighbor or himself, will you HEAR IF he Prays? When people drift off to idolatry and call on other gods; when they commit heinous immorality and when they are defeated by their enemies because of their sin against YOU – Will you HEAR their cries, confession, laments to forgive their sin against you? Over and over Solomon cites situations where Israel [and us] will fail the LORD. But there is a hope, not just in the judgment of sin, but the restoration of man from his rebellion against the ONE and ONLY TRUE GOD.  Solomon asks God to “maintain their cause” three times in this chapter. There is even a hint of Babylonian captivity found in the words of 1 Kings 8:46-52.

In church circles we have used the Prayer of Dedication and the answer by God as a formula to try to “call down” revival. It is interesting that through the years so many have tried to “cause revival to happen” instead of drawing close to God and let HIM SEND IT. God id answer the prayer of Solomon, but it was conditional – IF YOU 1 Kings 9:2-5; while the prayer was for the people and the place – the conditional “I will hear and forgive” was personal. “as for YOU Solomon” – you must walk. . . . . THEN I WILL.

If the people of God individually and collectively WALK away from God – 1 Kings 9:6-9 gives us the vivid description of what will happen to the Temples we have erected for our so-called worship of God. Church of today – the house lays in ruins!!!

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Houses and Palaces

1 Kings 5-9 our reading for the week is filled with the extraordinary descriptions of the House of the LORD [Temple] and the Palace of King Solomon. It took 7 years to build the Temple of God and 13 years to build Solomon’s Palace. There is such extravagance in the building of these to structures, it consumes the reader’s imagination on what it could possible look like. I couldn’t help but think of the intricate details given to Moses on how to construct the Ark of the Covenant and the Sanctuary in the Wilderness. Meticulous instructions and descriptions. The grandeur of Solomon is still talked about today. The wisest man in the world, because God granted it to him, spares no expense on constructing the original Temple Mount and Holy of Holies for God to put His name there. Obviously God can’t be contained, but the Temple would be engulfed by the Presence of God at the dedication later. One can think of when Isaiah went to the Temple [still standing temporarily] and how the smoke-filled the Temple. Solomon didn’t waste much time in his reign before he started building – 4 years. Also note it had been 480 years since the deliverance from Egypt – the “iron furnace.” I stopped and went back to the book of Exodus and thumbed through the books between it and 1 Kings – I was exhausted with thinking about how God had been orchestrating the habitation of Israel into the Promise Land, promised 460 earlier to Abraham. God’s WORD is sure!

David had wanted to build for God a “place to put His name.” But because of the blood on David’s hands, being a man of war, and note it was during the reign of King David that God granted peace on all sides of Israel. David would be greatly instrumental in gathering in all the resources for the building of the Temple, but He wouldn’t see the temple in His day. I have used this next phrase time and time again lately – I wonder if we the Church of today are willing to plant a Tree that we will never sit under the shade of it?” In other words are we willing to plan for the ability of the next generation to come after us to “build a strong Temple of worship” to the Lord? Even through all of the building and construction, at the dedication of the Temple – Solomon is reminded – “I will put my Name here only if you follow me like your father David before you did.” there is more, but too much for this blog.

Solomon conscripted the undisposed tribes that lived in the Land to build. AT the height we find that 150,000 men were employed to build the Temple and Palace. It is interesting that Solomon spent twice as long on His Palace than he did on the Lord’s Temple. The lifestyle and the extravagance of Solomon and his court is mind-boggling. In Chapter 4, we are told that it took 12 deputies that provided for the king’s house – one each month. Even secular history is filled with the mythical stories of the riches and wealth of Solomon. We know that God not only granted Solomon wisdom, but everything else in riches of the world. NOTE: it is Solomon who will conduct a test of the world’s resources to see if they satisfy – he alone had the access and capability to find if the world’s commodities could bring happiness – read the book of Ecclesiastes]

We are told over and over again that there would not cease to be on the throne of David, an ancestor as long as they were obedient like David. How did David walk – 1 Kings 9:4; he walked in integrity of heart, in uprightness, doing all according to all that the LORD commanded, and kept His statutes and ordinances.

King Solomon and Israel had inherited the result of defeating the enemies by their forefathers. Looking back at 480 yrs. of Israel history shows how bloody it was, until God gave “His king” to reign over them.  We have a bloody history, we have been fighting enemies for centuries; it many places the war still rages. BUT God has given us HIS King – King Jesus. David was a man of blood – so was Jesus; His blood cleansed us, purified us and brought us great peace on each side. Jesus our King of Kings has given us “This Temple [body] to put His Name on.” Solomon spared no expense for a Palace; Jesus spared no Expense for His House – of which we are the Temples of God.

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Contested Leadership

2 Samuel 19-1 Kings 2; in these chapters we find that there is a sub-topic that is often overlooked. I kept pondering the relationship with Israel and Judah. Judah remained with King David through all conflicts; yet Israel was quick to embrace the instigator of the conflict. The relationship between the Northern kingdom and Southern kingdom was an on-going battle. The battle rages through the time of King Saul until the “cleansing” of ancestors by King Solomon in 1 Kings 2.

David was anointed king by Samuel after the debacles of Saul, and the Spirit of God withdrew from him. David was hunted and haunted by Saul until his death. Even then Judah embraced David, but Israel delayed their support. The first time authority is challenged it is by Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son. This results in a civil war between the people of God. Prior to that David was made king over Judah.[ 2 Samuel 2] If we look at this time in Israel’s history, we notice the evidence of a “divided kingdom.” Why is a very good question. With King David on the throne, there is a united kingdom, but that wasn’t for seven years. One could ask why this problem of two kingdoms within the same people? We cold look at major and minor nations – population wise. Could it be more spiritual than that, I would think so. Judah will remain somewhat faithful to Yahweh, whereas Israel quickly embraces Baal gods.

There is much that flows under the bridge of David’s life when we get to Ammon, Tamar and Absalom event. David did a great ministry by reaching out to Mephibosheth, but then he sins a great sin with Bathsheba. Great victories are often followed by lapses into sin. David is never the same man after the Bathsheba incident. The next conflict or challenge to Kingship comes from Absalom, David’s son. Of course there were 5 years of parental neglect on David’s part. But Absalom begins to usurp kingly authority by sitting at the Gate and issuing judgments for the people. Absalom does this unchecked for 40 yrs. [2 Sam 15:6-7] What does David do, he flees. Through Joab, the general of the armies, Absalom is killed, and David assumes kingship again.

Then Sheba a worthless man, a Benjamite leads a revolt against David. Again Joab puts down the revolt by killing Sheba. King David lives out the remaining days is sickness/cold. On his death-bed we have a challenge for the throne from another son, Adonijah. Through the work of Nathan and Bathsheba, Solomon is enthroned. It isn’t until there is a “family heir cleansing” by Solomon, do we finally get peace. Oh, before the revolt is put down, Israel embraces Adonijah as king.

You are probably wondering where is this all going. Well, I find there is a correlation between the Church and the Pastor [appointed leadership], where the choice of God and the leadership of pastors are very often challenged. In the absence of leadership, leadership comes forth. In King David’s case, he did not aggressively put down the challenges to the throne which was appointed to him by God. Too often pastors will not confront the perpetrators in a revolt for leadership. The Pastor is not a hired gun, but an appointed shepherd by the LORD Jesus to care for the Church/flock/sheep. Too many times the Church body will follow those in their midst that have NO RIGHT to the Throne. Pastors/leaders must be bold in their leadership. Admonish and correct for the sake and health of the Body. In many of the challenges to leadership we find that David had to deal with Joab, and Abithar the priest. Two worlds, the flesh and the spirit at odds, yet will come together if they think they can overthrow the rule of the righteous. This happened with Pilate and King Herod in the death of Jesus.

In the family of God there are many conflicts and challenges to the authority of leadership. Today in the Church we struggle to accomplish the work of God because the “family” is in conflict on who should lead.

I find it extremely interesting that after the reign of Solomon, that Israel under Jeroboam departs quickly from Judah and Benjamin. The Lost Ten tribes of Israel become entrenched in idolatry – Jeroboam gave the people what they wanted – they wanted a leader that would give them what THEY wanted, not what Jehovah wanted.

Acts 13:36, After David serve the Lord God in His generation, he slept with his fathers and under went decay.

David is renowned for loving God, not perfect, but repentant. Pastors – lead, and stand against the wiles of the devil; do not give up your leadership without a hold fight!

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Finished Race

2 Samuel 19-24; the end of the days of King David. If we look at David’s life, it has so many ups and downs, successes and defeats. Acts 13:36 “For David after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.” Many of you probably thought I was going to quote Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8; about finishing the race set before him. Well, both men finished what GOD wanted of them in their lives. When I was growing up, and after I became a Christian through faith in Jesus Christ; I asked the Lord for one thing – that my life would count, that my life would make a difference. Well, it some 45 years later and I’m not sure of the answer. We all have our lives that we live out, and I’m sure we all wonder did our lives count?

David was chosen, brought into fame and success as a young boy [shepherd boy] who took on the giant Goliath and won. He demonstrated a faith and obedience unlike many his age. Yet being anointed as the future King, David went through tremendous battles and persecution from King Saul. Yet, David had a friend the king’s own son – Jonathan. David was a warrior, he had blood on his hands from all the thousands of enemies he killed. The people loved David, the Lord loved David, but David was a mere man. Scripture tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart. He would be blessed with a covenant from God, whereby the Messiah/Savior would come through his line and would one day sit on the throne of Judah as the Lion of Judah – this covenant/prophecy will be enacted with the reign of Jesus Christ when He comes back as the Conquering LORD.

David was not a good father figure. We have looked at the lives of Ammon, Tamar, Absalom, and King Saul. David like Eli and several other fathers did not reprove the sins of their children. Absalom kills Ammon after he raped Tamar; then Absalom hides for three years, when he does come back, David doesn’t talk to him for two years. Even when Absalom for 40 years undermines the King’s throne by swaying people to listen to him rather than David; David does nothing but run away from the situation.
I find that David is very high at times and very low at times. He is so gifted with musical talent and artistry, yet he is also plagued with a melancholy spirit for long periods of time.

David dances before the LORD while bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Zion; yet is forbidden to build the Temple [left for Solomon to do]. So David after he had served God in his generation, he died and suffered decay. I find that many of us can identify with David. Our spiritual life has successes and defeats; there are events and actions that have caused us great pain and guilt. We fail, and when we do, we really fail BIG. David was not perfect, but he was forgiven. Reading 2 Samuel 22 a great song – I call David’s Swan Song. I read through and find that David says that he is blessed because he has not acted wickedly, he has kept the ways of the LORD. I go huh? What about the failure with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the absentee father? What about all those failures? How can you say that you are innocent and blameless? [22:22-26] I had to be reminded by the Holy Spirit that God does not see as I see. Isaiah 1:18-20 speaks of God’s forgiveness. Either we have complete and total forgiveness or we don’t. David a man after God’s own heart – read Psalm 51 and note the completer brokenness of David, the strong confession and repentance he speaks of. Admitting that we are failures and have great offense towards God is the beginning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we know us, we must admit not only are we sinners, but we have a sin nature. The root of our problem is the heart in the problem, namely our heart.

People in Israel still worship at the tomb of David; David was a great man, but he was a man. Something that I learned reading through 2 Samuel – Israel was always ready to leave David, only Judah was fully committed to him. Also the life lesson of David’s failure with Bathsheba, changed him. He was no longer that strong warrior. It seems that the failure and murder of Uriah plagued him from then on. We must move past our failures and sins and not let them keep us captive and shackled. I don’t mean minimize them – but deal with them according to the Lord and then move on. We only have “our generation to serve God” – there is someone coming after us. A new generation, a new king in Solomon.


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Family Coup

2 Samuel 14-18 must be one of the saddest sections of the bible. We pick up after Ammon has committed incest with his half-sister Tamar, and Absalom has killed him. Absalom flees for 3 years in fear. Finally after the prompting of Joab, King David allows Absalom to return, but doesn’t see him for 2 years! So much is revealed in these chapters. Why did David not go and reconcile with Absalom? David was a great warrior, and a great king, and he has the promised covenant with the LORD for a perpetual throne, which Jesus our Savior will sit. But David was a terrible father figure. After the adulteress event with Bathsheba, David is never the same; whether out of fear or guilt – David doesn’t display the courage and power he once had.

With King David displaying a “hands off approach” towards Absalom; Absalom takes things into his own hands. in 2 Samuel 15:7, it says “after 40 years” – this is near the end of King David’s reign. Absalom is usurping authority from David by engaging with the people before they have audience with the King. I cannot help but think that David knew this was going on; but he let it go on. Eventually, Absalom gets enough power and people on his side – what does David do, but flee the city and leaves it to Absalom. David leaves 10 concubines behind, and sure enough – in a display of assuming the throne power, Absalom has relations with them in public eyes. David never corrected or dealt with the events of his children. Absalom is the 3rd child of David by way of Maacah, the Daughter of the King of Geshur – which happens to be the place where Absalom ran after he killed Ammon.

One by the name of Ahitphoel, becomes the counselor of Absalom – by now the strength of Absalom is well-known, and all of Israel – except those faithful to King David have followed Absalom – in fact in 2 Samuel 16: 16, under disguise Hushai declares Long Live the King, Long live Absalom!

How bad did it get? David is beaten down, he even allows a man names Shimei to curse him and throw stones at him, David’s response “perhaps God is telling him to cures me, why would I go against what God has said.” So sad – I think the sin of Bathsheba, and the unchecked sin of Ammon and Absalom has caused David to become a “non-entity” – powerless because of sin that has occurred in his life. Sin will paralyze us if we let it. We must have faith and confidence that when we confess our sins and repent from them [turn away] that God will hear the fervent prayer of His children and will forgive our sins. 1 John 1:9 rings true. Even when we are not faithful – God will always be faithful. Jesus died and rose again for our justification. We are not just exonerated from the penalty of our sins, but we have been washed, cleansed from all unrighteousness in Christ. David was enslaved to his past. That is guilt – God doesn’t deal with us according to our guilt but according to the perfect sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. We are freed from the tyranny of Satan the accuser, who has been defeated. David was not living in the victory, but in the defeat of sin!

The family coup extended into the whole nation and tribes of Israel. Finally, there is a war, but on that day 20,000 people died. Odious – the bible says that Absalom had become repulsive to David – while that may be true to some extent, I also find that David for whatever reason, couldn’t bring himself to deal with Absalom. He even asks that Joab, Abishai and Ittai deal gently with Absalom. Joab hears that Absalom is stuck in the fork of a tree where his hair got caught. Joab then thrust three spears through Absalom. I know Joab thought he was doing right to Absalom, but he rejected the wishes of David. Absalom is dead, Ammon is dead, and Tamar is scarred. I wonder how different it would have been if David the father would have been the parent they needed both in loving and correcting them?

King David was a great man of God, a great King, but he failed as a father. This just reinforces that no matter what else is going on – family must come first!

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