1 Kings 3.1-15 – September 14, 2020

1 Kings 3:1–15

Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, 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. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.
He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.
 (1 Kings 3:1–15, NIV)

Solomon was considered the wisest man on earth, but he didn’t get that way just by happenstance.

Thought Questions:

If you were able to ask God for one thing, knowing you would receive it, what would you ask for? In what ways does this question make us uncomfortable, almost as if we were treating God like a genie in a bottle?

What does it mean to have a discerning heart? How would such a heart be beneficial as you were attempting to live a Godly life?

How easy is it for you determine right from wrong? In what ways do you attempt to learn better the difference between these two?

1 King 18.16-46 – May 30, 2020

1 Kings 18:16–46

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:36–39, NIV)

It probably is not wise to challenge God to a contest of strength and might.

Thought Questions:

Given the situation and the odds seemingly stacked against Elijah, how do you think Elijah was feeling as he began this “contest?” Why do you think this is the case?

In what ways do you find yourself in a challenge and faced with long odds from people who ridicule or dismiss God and his power? How do you handle such situations?

While perhaps it was not fire coming down to consume a sacrifice, how have you seen God’s power demonstrated in your life?

1 Kings 11 & 12 – April 30, 2020

1 Kings 11 & 12

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. (1 Kings 11:9–11, NIV)

“It reminds me to advise others well and to take advise wisely. There are always consequences for actions, intended or unintended.”

Thought Questions:

When you think about King Solomon, what sort of characteristics or descriptions come to mind? Are your assessments generally positive or negative? Why is this the case?

If Solomon was the wisest man on earth, as some have said, why did he allow his heart to turn from God?

Do we recognize there are consequences for our actions, intended or unintended?

What are ways you can work to ensure you are following God with all your heart? Share some of those ideas with others by clicking “Leave a comment” below.

Say What The Lord Says – June 20, 2019

1 Kings 22.1-53; Acts 13.16-41; Psalm 138.1-8; Proverbs 17.17-18

In the story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, we discover two kinds of prophets: those who are merely advisors, telling the king what he wants to hear and those who are really prophets of the Lord, speaking only what God tells them to speak. How tempting do you think it would have been to alter or twist your message so as to receive a favorable response? When your life is on the line, does that temptation become even stronger? How can we work today to be sure we are speaking to others only what God is calling us to tell them?

Questions:

If Micaiah really believed his prophecy, which I think he did, do you think he thought being locked up until Ahab returned was a sure way to be left in prison forever?

How bold would one have to be to preach Paul’s sermon to the group of people he did?

If the Lord cares for the humble, how does this affect who we care for?

Do the two proverbs we read today contradict one another? How can you be a loyal friend, yet not put up security for another?

Fasting and Prayer – June 19, 2019

1 Kings 20.1-21.29; Acts 12.24-13.15; Psalm 137.1-9; Proverbs 17.16

When the people of God felt God calling them to do something, they didn’t just run off and do that thing. For instance, in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Paul (formerly Saul) to go on a missionary journey. You would think just the simple fact the Holy Spirit called them to this was enough, yet they spent time in prayer and fasting prior to sending them on their way. How do we prepare for things we hear God calling us to do? Do we just rush off, or do we spend time in the presence of God, focused on how he helps us to accomplish that which he called us to do?

Questions:

“A warrior putting on his sword should not boast like a warrior who has already won.” Describe a situation today for which this is really good advice.

Do you think more people come to God because of the powerful things they see or because of a life of consistent presence? Why do you think this is the case?

In what ways does the bashing of babies heads seem foreign to what we think should appear in scripture?

Why is it senseless to educate a fool? To what situations can this proverb be applied today?

Whisper – June 18, 2019

1 Kings 19.1-21; Acts 12.1-23; Psalm 136.1-26; Proverbs 17.14-15

After reading about the fire coming from the sky and consuming the sacrifice of Elijah, we might assume that God always, and perhaps only, works in big and impressive sorts of ways. The bigger the better, the larger the more likely God is involved. Yet when the Lord appears to Elijah in the desert, he does so as a whisper. (Notice also that Elijah seems to be aware of his presence when he hears the whisper, passing on the previous actions.) Why do you think God appears in the whisper and why would say this is significant?

Questions:

“I am the only one left…” Describe a time when you felt this way and how you discovered you were NOT the only one left.

When people who are a part of our church body are in trouble, what is our initial go-to response? How does this compare to the gathering of the church in prayer when Peter was in prison?

What thanksgiving would you add to the list of Psalm 136?

If starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, why do people seem so anxious to start them?

The Lord Is God! – June 17, 2019

1 Kings 18.1-46; Acts 11.1-30; Psalm 135.1-21; Proverbs 17.12-13

How would you have liked to have been in the crowd the day Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal? After all of the hullabaloo from the prophets of Baal with no response, God destroys Elijah’s soaked sacrifice in an impressive display of power. Maybe it is not fire from the sky, but what ways has God demonstrated his power to you?

Questions:

At what point do you think the prophets of Baal thought: Man, this is getting us nowhere? And was there ever a point when their wailing proved successful?

What are ways people stand in the way of God and what he is doing to claim his people?

What reasons do you have to praise the Lord?

Reword today’s proverb with your own analogy: “It is safer to _______________ than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.

The Spirit’s Anointing – June 16, 2019

1 Kings 15.25-17.24; Acts 10.24-48; Psalm 134.1-3; Proverbs 17.9-11

If you study the movement of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, you discover that most of the time, the Spirit comes upon people after their baptism. While this is consistent with some other things we read in the New Testament, in today’s story, the Spirit comes upon Cornelius prior to his baptism. If you look carefully, you discover the reason for this is to confirm that yes, Cornelius has been accepted by God. The presence of the Holy Spirit then serves to demonstrate relationship with God. How does the Spirit confirm and affirm the relationship you have with God?

Questions:

How would you like to have been Ahab, the standard bearer for the worst king amongst bad kings?

Peter’s visit to Cornelius was actually breaking Jewish law. When is it OK to break religious law?

Who are the night watchmen in our society, similar to what we read about in this psalm? What is their importance for our faith?

What faults have you forgiven?

Harmony – June 15, 2019

1 Kings 14.1-15.24; Acts 10.1-23; Psalm 133.1-3; Proverbs 17.7-8

It is a strange analogy for us … brothers living in harmony is like anointing oil running through the beard of Aaron. Why do you think the psalmist uses this illustration? Why is harmony so important for a life of faith?

Questions:

Long after David had passed away, God continues to work “for David’s sake,” or because of the life David had lived for God. What sort of legacy do you think you are leaving to be remembered following your death?

Are there things we consider “unclean,” similar to the animals of Peter’s dream, that we need to consider clean today? What are they?

What was the purpose of anointing oil?

How would you explain the proverb’s writer’s mention of lucky charms in this proverb?

Stronger – June 14, 2019

1 Kings 12.20-13.34; Acts 9.26-43; Psalm 132.1-18; Proverbs 17.6

All throughout Christian history, the more believers fear the Lord and the more time they spend in God’s word and in prayer, the stronger they become. There is a direct correlation. If we want to grow stronger as a group of believers, we need to spend more time in Him. What are ways you can strengthen your commitment to Him today and encourage others to do the same?

Questions:

Jeroboam sells the worship of the two calves he made on the idea that it was “too much trouble to go to Jerusalem.” What are other examples you can think of where people have turned from God due to following an “easier” way of going about living for him?

Would you want to have the ability to raise individuals from the dead? Why do you think Peter had this ability?

Why do you think it was so difficult for people to understand what God really meant when he said a descendent of David would live on his throne forever?

How have you seen grandchildren be the “crowning glory of the aged?”