Watch The Throne Reading- April 22

Read:

1 Kings 6, 9:1-19; John 5:20

Reflect:

1 Kings 6 gives an exhaustive account of King Solomon’s journey in building the temple. After setting the scene in the first two verses, the text gives specification after specification of the temple.

It’s painstakingly detailed.

While the picture it paints of the temple is jaw dropping, the I don’t think God wants us to walk away from this text only thinking he is in the business of making really cool buildings. If you haven’t realized yet, he is about so much more.

I think you learn a little bit about God’s faithfulness in this story. See, Solomon’s dad, King David, really wanted to build the temple. In 2 Samuel 7:1-16, David had just become settled in his palace and the Lord had given him peace from his enemies. As he was sitting there, he began to think he should build a home for God.

“Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent,” the king told the prophet Nathan.

God, however, had a different plan. He told David once he dies “I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Fast forward to 1 Kings 6 and Solomon’s kingship and it is clear he is the king God was speaking about. He builds the temple and God keeps his promise to David.

We should be glad God is faithful. He, unlike us, keeps his promises — all the time.

The promise God made to David was not only about Solomon and the building of the temple, however. The promise made in 2 Samuel 7:1-16 also makes reference to Jesus.

“I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever,” the text continues.

This promise made to David details how Jesus will bear the punishment for our sin and how he will establish his kingdom forever through his son. Just as God was faithful in building the temple, he was faithful in bringing us salvation through Jesus.

In John 6:20, Jesus said “…. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” He had just healed a man at a pool called Bethesda, but he tells those around him that there will be greater things to come, such as dying for man’s’ sins.

I think this verse applies to the account of the temple in 1 King 6. It’s pretty spectacular, just like healing a man, but the work Jesus did on the cross was even better.

Respond:

1 – Think about God’s faithfulness in your life. How has come through and fulfilled his promises.

2 – Think about how God promises to pay for the sins of man and is faithful in sending Jesus to do so. Think about how much greater that is than the other things in your life.

3 – Spend some time worshiping God for his faithfulness.

 

 

Watch The Throne Reading- April 21

Dominion and Peace

Reflect:

In 1 Kings 4:20-34, it talks about Solomon’s daily provisions. Now, if you’ve picked up a Watch The Throne magazine, you’ve read that Solomon’s wealth  was $46,645,455,394. And that’s not including the gifts he received from other nations, nor does it include the worth of the temple he created, which would be about $87 billion! Verse 22 in 1 Kings 4 says that Solomon had “thirty cors of the finest flour and sixty cors of meal…” My Bible tells me that a 30 cors of flour is about 5 and a half tons of flour, and the 60 cors of meal would equal about 10 or 11 tons of meal!

These verses in 1 Kings also tell us how much land Solomon ruled over and how much cattle he had.He also had district governors that ‘saw to it that nothing was lacking’ (verse 27). Solomon was one of the best kings of all time for a lot of reasons. He was wise, because God had granted him wisdom, he had a lot of wealth, and he could provide for his kingdom. Verse 25 says, “During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.”

If you look up the definition of peace, you’ll find it defined as “freedom from disturbance.” Solomon’s people definitely had peace during his reign. He was a good provider for his people, they didn’t have to worry about what they would eat, they knew they were safe, and they all were united under his reign. If an earthly king can be this good, our heavenly King is infinitely better! In fact, just like Isaiah 9:6 says, Jesus is THE Prince of Peace. We don’t ever have to worry when the Prince of Peace is on our side.

Respond

What are you worrying about right now? What is keeping you from having peace? Take a moment in prayer to give it to God.

Watch The Throne Reading- April 20

Wealth

Read: 1 Kings 10:14-29

Reflect: As you may recall in 1 Kings Chapter 3 God was so pleased with Solomon that He told Solomon He would give him whatever he asked for.  Instead of asking for riches and power, Solomon asked for “a discerning heart to govern (his) people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9)  God was very pleased with Solomon’s request and said to him, ”I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have NO equal among kings.” (1 Kings 3:13)

God not only made David’s son Solomon the wisest king ever, He also made him rich, very rich.  It turns out Solomon was so ridiculously rich the wealth he possess is beyond our wildest imagination, even by today’s standard.  To give you a brief idea the bible says Solomon received 666 talents of gold each year.  Used anciently, talents were a measure of weight and money. A talent weighs roughly 75 U.S. pounds.  A talent of gold in today’s value is worth about $1,750,400. This means the value of what he got EACH YEAR was around $1,165,766,400 U.S. dollars!  Some astronomical number!

Solomon became so immensely rich that ALL his cups were made of gold (not one was made of silver – 1Kings 10:21). His wealth was so immense that gold and silver were as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as common as sycamores which are in the lowlands (1Kings 10:27).   Merchants and ships would bring in gold, silver, ivory, apes and monkeys, spices, horses to Solomon on a regular basis.  All wanted  to come to hear his wisdom, and because God has blessed his kingdom, they also come to trade with him.  1 Kings 10:23 says,

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than ALL the other kings of the earth.”

Sounds like everything was going great for Solomon right?  Well, not necessarily.  It is important to remember that when God blessed Solomon with all this wealth, He also reminded him to “walk in (His) ways, to keep (His) statutes and (His) commandments.” (1 Kings 3:14)

You will notice at the end of Chapter 10 that the gifts and trading from various countries eventually caused Solomon to multiply for himself both horses, chariots, as well as silver and gold, precisely which God’s king was warned against in Deuteronomy 17:16,17.  Eventually, Solomon became trapped by the blessings of his own wisdom and disobeyed God’s commands.

Did Solomon get to keep any of his riches with him when he died?  The answer is obviously no.  Regardless of how rich he was, it was only temporary.  Jesus told us in the Bible:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus knows how easy it is to focus on riches and wealth and material things, and in the meantime lose sight of things that are eternal, like giving to missionaries and the poor, giving our time to the Lord, sharing our faith with our friends etc.  Some day we will all meet our Lord Jesus face to face, and what we do with our money, our time and our resources on earth matters to Him.  We are the “stewards” of what He has given us.  Are we confident that He will say to us “Well done!  Good and faithful servant!” ?(Matthew 25:23)

Respond:

  1. How are you managing the money or time that God has given you?
  2. Do you find it hard to share what you own? If so, what do you think God is teaching you with this lesson?
  3. If we really believe Jesus is coming soon, how would we live differently?

Watch The Throne Reading- April 19

Solomon ASKS for Wisdom

Read: 1 Kings 3 & James 1:5

Reflect: Would you friends describe you as “wise”? I’m not talk about being “smart” – By “wise,” I mean: Do you tend to make the right choices? When your life is in a pickle, are you good at figuring out how to solve your problem the best possible way?

 I think we all wish we were wiser than we are. So how do you become wiser? We probably can learn a lot from the wisest guy who ever lived (outside of Jesus). His name was King Solomon.

 In 1 Kings 3, Solomon had just begun his job as king after his father David died. He had huge shoes to fill because David was an awesome king. I’d be a little nervous if I inherited a whole country to lead. And I think that’s exactly how Solomon felt. So what did Solomon do?

 Solomon asked for wisdom.

 Did you know that the quickest way to become wiser is to ASK? Here’s why. God promises wisdom when we ask. Period.

 James 1:5 says: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

 God gave wisdom because Solomon ASKed.

Respond:

Here’s 3 steps to ask for wisdom today (they spell “ASK”)

 Admit you can’t do it.
That’s what Solomon did. In verses 7 & 8 he said to God, “I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted!” Instead of being delusional about his ability, Solomon was honest. In the same way, we can’t do life on our own either. We need help. Admit it!

 Seek God’s way.
When you consider yourself “king” (whether of a country or of your own life), it’s easy to want your own way. Solomon decided instead to seek God’s way. He trusted that God knew the best way and cried out for it. Are you going God’s way spelled out in the Bible? Or are you going your own way?

 Know the warning signs.
If you’re asking yourself “Is what I’m doing really wrong?” that may be a warning sign. It can reveal that you’re comfortable living dangerously close to sin. Instead, start asking “What is the wise thing to do?” This will helps us face up to what we know in our hearts to be true. Solomon caught on to this because he wanted to “gain an understanding heart.” You can have that, too!

 If you need wisdom, all you gotta do is ASK.

Watch The Throne Reading- April 18

An Even Greater King

Read: Luke 11:31 & 1 Kings 10:1-13

Reflect:

Just as God was the center of King David’s heart, even when he messed up, King Solomon followed after God too. Psalm 37:30 (NIV) says, “The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak of what is just.” King Solomon was a wise king.

When his father chose him as the next king of Israel, he prayed that Solomon would follow hard after God.

What is seriously cool is that King Solomon’s wisdom and trust in the Lord shone through his actions and how he behaved.

Luke 11:31 tells us that a Queen from the South “came from the ends of the Earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom.” From far away the Queen of Sheba heard about thegreatness of Solomon. What is so cool is that she traveled to the kingdom and she came prepared to test what she had heard. 1 Kings 10 verses 6 and 7 sound like wonder as the Queen is mentioning all that King Solomon’s kingdom had. The coolest verses for myself were 8-9:

“Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel”.

After all of her questions had been answered by King Solomon, the Queen praised our God. She traveled so far and saw for herself the incredible wisdom that God blessed Solomon with. How great is our God!

Respond:

King Solomon followed after God to lead his life and decisions. Even a Queen traveled very far to witness herself this kingdom. Do your friends look at you as someone who has Godly wisdom? Are there places in your life God can shine through to your lost friends?

Even though King Solomon was great, our Lord and Savior is even greater. Where do you need to let God be greater in your life? Where can you give God the glory?

Watch The Throne Reading- April 16

David is a Man After God’s Heart

Read: Acts 13:22-23 & Psalm 51 

Reflect:
Wow, King David, really had nothing  to hide while crying out to God. David messed up big time, he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Still in the middle of all his guilt and shame, he went to God for refuge. David had no pride in him at this time, it says in verse 17 that David’s sacrifice to God was a broken spirit with a broken and contrite heart. You see, even though David had sinned against God, David knew that right away, he needed to make things right with his most important relationship, God. David didn’t really care how his sin had affected him, he cared how his sin affected his relationship with God.
David confessed his sins, and repented to God. David was willing to let God take a seat on the throne of his heart, even though it was in a time of weakness for David. David then was able to move on from his past, and he was able to truly live a life that honored God. David used his past as a reference point, not a place of residence, and David was blessed. Acts 13:22-23 says ” “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.” God testified David as a man after his own heart, even though David messed up. No matter what has happened in your past, follow God, because of God’s forgiveness, you too can be a person who chases after God’s own heart.
Respond:
In what areas of your life have you felt ashamed of? Are you willing to give those up in order to chase after God’s heart? God rejoices in us following Him. How can you chase after God’s heart in your life? Let go of your pride and follow God’s Word, in order to ultimately chase after His own heart.
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Watch The Throne Reading- April 15

King David & Bathsheba

Read: 2 Samuel 11:12-25; Psalm 32:3-5

Reflect:

Have you ever told a tiny, little lie to cover up something you’ve done? Only to later discover that lie wasn’t actually so little- that it actually turned into something bigger?  In these verses we see that happening in the life of King David. By now, we know David had messed up. Big time. He slept with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, who then became pregnant. Up to this point David’s attempts to cover up Bathsheba’s pregnancy by sending Uriah back home to sleep with his wife have failed. David gave Joab (the captain of David’s army) strict orders to place Uriah at the “front line where fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down & die”.

Yikes!  Sometimes the fear of having our sin uncovered makes us do some pretty crazy things. While I doubt many of us have committed murder, we can all relate to King David. We mess up. Sin makes us hide. Then we get scared someone will uncover our sin. We hide, we tell another lie to cover up the first one, we pretend everything is okay!

But in Christ- there’s hope for something different. We really can change! If we continue reading in Psalm 32:3-5 we learn that confession = freedom. Confession is simply being honest about the state of our heart, and our struggles. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord- and you will forgive the guilt of my sin”. We are all guilty of something! Don’t forget- David was human, he caved into lust, he committed adultery and was a murderer. YET- despite all of that- God still called David a man after His own heart. God loved David- despite his mistakes, and remember- God loves you too. Confession is the key to living free.

Respond:

Is there something you need to confess today? What’s holding you back? Embarrassment? Fear? Maybe it’s a lie you told? Or a habit you’ve fallen into that’s unhealthy? Maybe you said something hurtful, or your thoughts wandered to places they shouldn’t. Take the next step today- God is waiting with open arms to forgive & free us from our sin! All we have to do is take the next step- and confess!