Tag Archives: Solomon

Labor Day

The Dignity of Work 

Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32a
Psalm 107:1-9 or Psalm 90:1-2, 16-17
1 Corinthians 3:10-14
Matthew 6:19-24

God is our creator. He is the master craftsman of the universe. We are made in his image. Thus, a large part of our life on earth is the discovery of the God-given talent and creativity which he has placed within us. This discovery gives us joy but also contributes to the wellbeing of others.

King Solomon wrote about the skills of the potter:

He molds the clay with his arm and makes it pliable with his feet; he sets his heart to finish the glazing, and he takes care in firing the kiln. All these rely on their hands, and all are skillful in their own work. Without them no city can be inhabited, and wherever they live, they will not go hungry.   (Ecclesiasticus 38:29-32)

We are familiar with King Solomon. He was the wisest and the most wealthy ruler of his time, or perhaps of any time. Yet, Solomon found that all that material wealth was “vanity and striving after wind.” It did not satisfy. Again he wrote:

So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them? (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Solomon was saving the our work itself should provide us satisfaction. The doing is more rewarding than the wages and what they can provide. Thus, whatever we do, let us do it unto the Lord, offering him praise and thanksgiving.

This Labor Day let us pause and rest. But let us also enjoy and appreciate our work and that of others. If we are still on the discovery to find our God-given vocation, we should not give us. God is with us. The psalmist wrote:

May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.   (Psalm 90:17)

There is great dignity in any kind of work. All work if for the betterment of society. To not work is a drag on society and on others. The Apostle Paul warned:

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.   (2 Thessalonians 3:7-11)

While on the earth Jesus never stopped working:

“My Father is still working, and I also am working.”   (John 5:17)
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   (John 9:4-5)
We need to follow his example. Soon the darkness will come upon us. We want to be working up to that day in the Kingdom of God. Then we will be prepared to work for him in his millennial reign.
Today, let us pause and give thanks for all our workers and citizen saints who keep us going.

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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 16

Track 1: The Glory of the Lord 

1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11], 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

Today we read about Solomon dedicating the temple he constructed to God. From 1 Kings:

Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.   (1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11)

And reading from 2 Chronicles:

It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.   (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

You know when the weight of glory has filled the house of God when nobody can remain standing. The Azusa Street Revival, beginning in the spring of 1906, largely spawned the worldwide Pentecostal movement. People who attended has a taste of God’s glory. Many could only move by crawling on their hands and knees as they experienced the weight of the glory cloud.

Solomon administered under the law of Moses when he came under the weight and  power of God. The Apostle compared this glory with an even greater glory under the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory; for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!   (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

The Prophet Joel wrote of this permanent glory:

Then afterward
    I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.   (Joel 2:28-31)

That day is fast approaching. What will it be like? Will we experience this glory? Yes, God is going to pour it out on all flesh. Will we be prepared for it? Will our churches be prepared for it?

That is the question. It depends under whether or not Christ is our head. Many Christians attend churches where the headship of Christ is not honored. The Gospel has been watered down. For what reason?

When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum he said:

 “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:56-69)

He teaching was misunderstood by many. We read:

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   (John 6:56-69)

Reading from the Book of Hebrews:

We do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower[g] than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God[h] he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God,[i] for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.   (Hebrews 2:9-10)

We must follow Jesus. He alone is the Lord of G;Glory. Seeker churches will not do. Churches who do not recognize the presence of the Lord in Communion service will not do. Those who rule out supernatural miracles and healings will not be prepared for the glory. Nominal Christianity will not prepare one for the glory. Will we say like Peter:“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God?”

 

Track 2: Suggestions

Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18
Psalm 34:15-22
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

The Old Testament and Gospel readings speak of choices. Joshua challenged the tribes of Israel: “Choose this day who you will serve.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.” But they did what they said they would not do.

In the Gospel, after Jesu taught about Holy Communion, many of his disciples left him. Serving God requires us to follow his commandments and his teachings. What are some of the things that may stand in way?

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Twelth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 15

Track 1: Asking for Wisdom

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Psalm 111
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

Today, let us look at the place of wisdom in our faith. We read in Proverbs:

Give instruction[a] to the wise, and they will become wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will gain in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.   (Proverbs 9:9-1:9-10)

God is our teacher. He is wiser than we will ever be. We need to fear him. We need to respect him:. We need to acknowledge his wisdom and understanding.

God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.   (Isaiah 55:5-6)

But God is ready to teach us wisdom. In the Book of James we read:

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.   (James 1:5)

Solomon was made king of Israel after his father David. But he realized the difficulty of his position:. Reading from 1 Kings:

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. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give 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?”   (1 Kings 3:7-9)

Solomon understood his limitations. How many of us understand ours? God wants us to ask him for help:

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God 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, I now do according to your word.   (1 Kings 3::10-12)

It pleases God that we ask him things that line up with his word. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.   (Matthew 6:33)

God blessed Solomon with wisdom, but he also blessed him with in other ways. God said to him:

I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”   (1 Kings 3:13-14)

Unfortunately, Solomon eventually became distracted by the things of this world. He did not keep the commandments of God. Wisdom, alone, will not save us. We need something even greater than wisdom. We need a relationship with God. We need the saving power of God. In John’s Gospel we read:

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.   (John 1:11-13)

How do we access the power of God. We need Jesus living on the inside of us. From today’s Gospel reading:

So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”   (John 6:53-56)

Solomon had the right idea to ask for wisdom, but he did not rely on God’s help to keep it. If we are wise, we will ask God for his help. He sent Jesus to die for our sins. He paid the price for our sin so that we re empowered to live jn his victory. He is our best help. We need the mind of Christ. We need him abiding in us. His victory is our victory  He is our source of strength and power to overcome this world.

Her is our wisdom. Imagine this, he is living on the inside of us if we have3 made him Lord. He can then direct our thinking and actions.

 

Track 2: Suggetions

Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm 34:9-14
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

Today’s Old Testament and the Gospel reading talk about a feeding. In Proverbs, wisdom is calling out:

“You that are simple, turn in here!”
    To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”   (Proverbs 9:4-6)

And in the Gospel:

Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”   (John 6:51)

The first meal is a foretaste of the second. Jesus is the wisdom of God.

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