Bible reading for October 8.
1 Kings 11.
"For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father." (1 Kings 11:4)
FALLING APART. To say that Solomon had a problem with women is an understatement. How could he even remember the names of 1000 women he had been intimate with? The foreign women, especially, posed a difficult problem. Such marriages were a common way to make alliances with nearby nations, but these wives -- not converts to Yahweh worship -- would want to preserve their own culture and make Jerusalem feel more culturally comfortable. This, of course, brought pressure on Solomon to build worship sites to accommodate them. One compromise led to another, and so, Solomon, who loved these women, introduced pagan worship into God's land. Judgment comes in the form of adversaries, one of whom, Jeroboam, will actually take away ten of the tribes (northern tribes, aka "Israel") and leave Solomon's son with the southern tribes (aka "Judah", including some Levites and Benjaminites). The united kingdom under David and Solomon for eighty years will fall apart.
REFLECT. What could derail our good life with the Lord? What misplaced loves could drive out our love for the Lord? Like Solomon we will not be finally lost, but we may lose much! Each of us has flaws that, if not dealt with, may affect the lives of others, and even generations to follow. Do you know what these flaws are, and do you have a plan to keep them under the Lord's control?
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)
FROM HEAVEN HE CAME. Verses 1-11 call the Philippian believers (and us) to have the same mind (mindset, attitude) as Christ did in coming to earth. He set aside his heavenly glory (as God) and took upon himself the form of a servant (as human). This passage, along with John chapter 1, affirm not only the pre-existence of our Lord but also his eternal divine nature. This servant mindset includes humility, looking after the interests of others (vv 4, 20-21), not grumbling or complaining, and willingness to be poured out in service to others (v 17). These traits are exemplified also in the lives of Timothy and Epaphroditus (vv 19-30).
WORKING OUT WHAT GOD HAS WORKED IN. A couple of notes on vv 12-13... We do not work FOR our salvation, but we do work OUT our salvation. That is, we work out / enter in / exercise / grow in the salvation that God has accomplished for us through Christ. "Fear and trembling" does not mean "scared and shaking", but rather, trembling with a humble awareness of the God who is working in us (see Isa 66:2). What should humble us, and instill reverence for God, is that the Lord himself is moving our wills and actions to serve his good pleasure (see Eph 2:10).
REFLECT. When we think of Christ setting aside the glory of heaven to be born on this planet with all its sinfulness, poverty, and pain, we should be moved by his love for us. But we should also study his example for us, that we might follow in his steps. Think through this chapter again -- what are some of the characteristics you may need to put aside, or take on?
Image credit. Photo from ISO Republic. 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.