Bible reading for October 6.
1 Kings 9.
"I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time." (1 Kings 9:3)
ALLIANCES. This chapter opens with a promise and a warning from the Lord (vv 1-9), and then goes on to record Solomon's relationships with Tyre and Egypt (compare v 9 with v 16), two strong bordering nations. With the rise of affluence and centralized power come temptations to abuse that power or to compromise principles. We see the use of slavery for construction (a reminder of days in Egyptian bondage?), and the making of alliances by trading cities and territories. These are not good developments, but are understandable in context of their growing national strength. By the way, the Millo (vv 15, 24) was an earthen tower or raised embankment in the City of David that was pre-existing from Canaanite days.
REFLECT. Are such actions of treaty-making, conscription (forced servitude), and compromise inevitable as nations grow in power? At that stage what actions should have Solomon taken?
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11)
FINALLY... Paul addresses the relationship between parents and children, and masters and slaves. Slavery as recorded in the Bible could mean anything from lifelong subjugation (as in the case of a prisoner of war) to a period of indentured service (much like a business contract), and many stages in-between. Does the Bible condone slavery? Gavin Ortlund gives some helpful answers at thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-wrong-say-bible-pro-slavery/
FINDING STRENGTH. In verse 10 Paul uses three different Greek words for strength. "Be strong... the strength... his might" (v 10). This would be an emphatic statement -- the Lord is strong, very strong, and we should find our strength in him. King David at a low point in his life gives us an example -- "But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (1 Sam 30:6) David's enemies were the people who were against him, but Paul makes it clear for us there is actually a great spiritual opposition taking place, which is not against flesh and blood (v 12). There is a devil who hates God and actively opposes God's people. Therefore, we are to be dressed as soldiers. Our armament includes truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God. (Take time to read Constable's notes on the armor of the Christian at netbible.org/bible/Ephesians+6) The battle involves praying for all believers, and for the gospel to be boldly proclaimed (v 19-20).
REFLECT. Are you aware of a spiritual conflict going on around you? Do you believe that there is something larger, supernatural, going on behind the headlines of history? Are you properly dressed for this spiritual battle? If not, what do you need to put on?
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.