Today’s Evangelical- Theology rolled into one column!
1 Kings 5:1-6:38
5-6 “Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor ofGod, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, ‘Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.’ And here is how you can help: Give orders for cedars to be cut from the Lebanon forest; my loggers will work alongside yours and I’ll pay your men whatever wage you set. We both know that there is no one like you Sidonians for cutting timber.”
Can you imagine- we thought we had a list of things to do. This example of getting right to it and knowing the plans that God has for His people is striking! When you give people things to do that are Godly it is meaningful work. When Solomon does what God truly has for him he is working on all cylinders. But where does he go wrong? How does Solomon get off track and how are we getting off track when we think we may be doing the right thing with God”s motive in the front of us. Here’s the deal- the big quote is that “Solomon built the Temple in 7 years.” Pretty heady stuff for a kid ruler- and it does go to his head. He loses everything, he winds up in Civil War and the kingdom is divided before he can even pose for pictures.
23-26“When he was forty years old, he wondered how everything was going with his Hebrew kin and went out to look things over. He saw an Egyptian abusing one of them and stepped in, avenging his underdog brother by knocking the Egyptian flat. He thought his brothers would be glad that he was on their side, and even see him as an instrument of God to deliver them. But they didn’t see it that way. The next day two of them were fighting and he tried to break it up, told them to shake hands and get along with each other: ‘Friends, you are brothers, why are you beating up on each other?’
Exactly- In the wings watching all of this going on and hearing the Biblical History is the ring leader- Saul of Tarsus. Stephen’s moving speech brings us face to face with division- and friendship. When you see so much division, when we forget what God did for us, what He is doing in our lives and the life of the church today, and when we choose to forget His promise, we lose our way. The Legal Beagles at the time punished the righteous- by death. But the word that Stephen quotes still lives and it was not lost on Saul- who became Paul, and you know what happened to him.
Psalm 127:1-5 (Words and Music)
1-2 If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
The architect Louis Sullivan commented that “God is in the plans.” Considering that we have the temple being built in 1 Kings this morning- what fitting way to put music and lyrics together than to end with this Psalm. God has a Palace in mind- without him- we build shacks. We could put the biggest, meanest force of buff guards to protect our city- but unless God is watching and protecting us- unless god has your back- we’re toast!
The message is – “give God the Glory, the credit, let go of the things you can’t control anyway, and do the things that are in His will.'” I labor hard at what I do- I don’t want to labor in vain- and neither should you. Let God build your house, let God guard your city and your life. Or in short- Let God.
28 Troublemakers start fights;
gossips break up friendships.
29 Calloused climbers betray their very own friends;
they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.
30 A shifty eye betrays an evil intention;
a clenched jaw signals trouble ahead.”
To me the whole package of today’s readings are connected- We have Solomon building the Temple as promised, we have Stephen systematically calling question to God’s truth and man made law, the psalmist clearly paints the picture that if god isn’t in it- if it is not built on His word- then we may as well pack it up, pack it in. Then there is a choice- do we spread lies and gossip, or truth and the Gospel? Do we betray our friends and family to move up? Or do we spend time with our friends and help them – where they are? What is your choice? Start out Biblical, Take the Systematic Theology in the Gospel and practice it. It is the pure law “to love your God with all you’ve got and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Then take evangelical theology and reach out to your friends, family and neighbors. Triology 3- the mind and motive of God the Father, the approach of Jesus the son, and do it within the power of The Holy Spirit- the Lord, the Giver of Life! That’s the MAP I follow!
“You can’t stop prayer. They can’t censor it, it can’t be removed from the store shelf. It will not be recalled or revoked; so go ahead-Pray!” Richard Beattie