Bible reading for September 30.
1 Kings 2.
"I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn..." (1 Kings 2:2-3)
A NEW REIGN. David gives his son Solomon a simple but straightforward charge (cf Deut 31:7-8; 2 Tim 4:1-2). He then dies and is buried in the City of David, which was the lower slope of the temple mount in Jerusalem. Though there is a traditional site of David's tomb in Jerusalem (I visited there in 1997) some archaeologists believe the tomb is yet to be discovered in the excavations of the older section of the City of David.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS. Solomon's reign will begin with a clean slate, and so his first actions are to conclude unfinished business from David's reign. Joab will finally meet the end he deserves. Benaiah becomes commander of the armies. Zadok is appointed high priest. Barzillai, a faithful supporter of David, will be honored. Two men under probation (Adonijah, Shimei) both show themselves to be brazen and presumptuous still, and so are put to death. Solomon is decisive, judicious, and already his wisdom is noticed (vv 6, 9). And, "So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon" (v 46).
REFLECT. Times of probation eventually come to an end, and a time of reckoning comes. The day of Jesus' visible and glorious reign is coming, and now is the time to demonstrate faithfulness to him. This theme of loyal service, and of accountability, is echoed in Jesus' parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:11-27. You and I should ask ourselves, does our life show clear allegiance to the Lord Jesus now? Will we be able to stand unashamed when he returns in glory?
"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14)
FULFILLING THE LAW. Verses 1-10 repeat more in detail what Paul means by love fulfilling the law (Gal 5:14). Paul mentions gentleness, watchfulness, humility, burden-bearing, generosity, and doing good. Though each person is ultimately responsible for his own life (v 5), yet helping others to shoulder their burdens is a way we "fulfill the law of Christ" (v 2). Often in pastoral ministry I have met people who felt they had not accomplished anything great or pleasing to the Lord. Mainly, they are thinking of some visible accomplishment, like preaching a sermon, worship leading, writing a book, being a philanthropist, etc. Here the Apostle Paul exalts those simple, personal, often unremarkable acts of burden-bearing as fulfilling the law of Christ! Isn't that encouraging? Whose burden can you help carry today?
THEOLOGIAN OF THE CROSS. In verses 11-18 Paul wraps up his letter. As in Gal 2:20 he returns to the cross of our Lord Jesus (14). Martin Luther would later write about "theologians of the cross" who see the glory of God not in high and lofty concepts but rather manifested in the suffering and death of Jesus. The "marks of Jesus" that Paul speaks of (v 17) are likely the scars he received from the stoning at Lystra (Acts 14:19). God's power was shown forth in Paul's suffering. For Paul the cross of Jesus was central to everything, and so it should be for us, as well. Does the cross of Christ still captivate you? I don't mean the artistic form or physical imagery, but rather the full meaning of the death of Christ on your behalf? He gave up the all glory of heaven for the inglorious death of crucifixion. Every good that we have, Christ purchased there. Thomas Traherne called the cross, "the abyss of wonders, the root of happiness, and the gate of heaven" (from Centuries). Is the cross still beautiful and powerful to you?
Image credit: statue of King David outside the traditional site of his tomb in Jerusalem, public domain on Wikimedia Commons. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.