July 25 – July 31, 2017

WORD

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.”  6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.  7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.  9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”  10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.  11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word.  Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

1 Kings 3:5-12

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.”

God is both gracious and giving, as is displayed in our Scripture for this week.  However, God is not a cosmic Santa Claus who gives us whatever we want if our name is found on the nice list.  Neither is God a genie, found hidden in a lamp (like the one above), obligated to live under our authority and grant us wishes.  God desires for us to possess the good gifts that will advance the loving and merciful kingdom of God.

In the days of Solomon, the united kingdom of Israel existed for the purpose of bearing witness to God’s reign and love.  Out of this kingdom was promised a Savior for the world.  Since Solomon ruled over this kingdom as the earthly representative of God’s reign, God desired to equip Solomon in his leadership responsibilities.  In order for Israel to survive and for the Savior to come and bless all nations, Solomon would need wisdom to lead rightly.  This was especially true because the Israelites could often forget their obligation to the world and “hoard” the blessings of God to themselves.

God would continue through the years to equip the leaders of the Israelites with wisdom. Even though Solomon and other kings would waver in their faithfulness to God and even though the kingdom would be split in two (Judah and Israel) after Solomon’s death, God would continue to bless the prophets and other faithful leaders with wisdom.  God did this because God’s promise of providing a Savior who would come from Israel would not fail.  People could choose whether or not they would be a part of fulfilling God’s promises, but God would fulfill those promises no matter what.  Those who sought gifts that would honor God would find themselves supernaturally equipped to live within those promises.

We continue to be invited into the fellowship of the promises of God.  We might not call ourselves by the name of Israel, but we are called God’s children and the people of God’s kingdom.  We, too, must be equipped with wisdom and grace and discernment if we hope to be faithful to God and take part in the fulfillment of God’s kingdom promises. When you ask for something from God, will you consider God’s plans or your own plans? Will you ask for what you want or for what you need?  God will continue to pour out kingdom-equipping, promise-keeping blessings.  How will you prepare yourself to receive these gifts?

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.

All of us have been given responsibilities in one way or another.  We might not be king or queen, but each of us has a specific role to play in God’s plans for the world.  Pray for wisdom, strength, courage, and compassion as you live within the job, home, church, and community responsibilities that you have been give.  Ask God to equip you for the work of your life, so that God might be glorified within that work.

Meditation Focus: Give your servant therefore an understanding mind…able to discern between good and evil.

God’s original intention for us was that we should only know what is good.  Humanity’s great sins in the garden were the desires to know both good and evil and to trust their own ability to discern between the two.  As you enter into a time of stillness and silence this week, ask God to reveal to you what is truly good in your life.  Imagine yourself doing these things and interacting with goodness as the Spirit of God encompasses you. Ask God to increase your opportunities to engage in goodness and ask God to keep you from evil.  Then as you go about your day, carry this prayer with you: “God give me wisdom to see what is good and what is evil.  Give me the power to follow your goodness and resist evil.”

Journaling Focus: You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you.

As you journal this week, write your reflections to one or more of these questions:

  • What does “uprightness of heart” mean to you?
  • How is God asking you to walk in faithfulness?
  • How has God shown steadfast love to you over the years?
  • How has the examples of a loved one or family member positively influenced your faith (like David with Solomon)?

Holy Action: 

Just as Solomon asked for God’s help in leading the people of Israel, ask for someone’s help this week.  Asking for help is an act of humility.  It reminds us that we are not self-sufficient and that God has designed us to be interdependent.  In all things remember to ask for God’s anointing as well.

Breath Prayer: Father, grant us wisdom.

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