January 20, 2019
1 Kings 2:1-4 & 12:1-8a
When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. Then the Lord will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’ “
Solomon had everything going for him. His father handed on the kingdom to him and all the wealth he ever needed. The Israelites were not at war. God gave to Solomon wealth and power and honor. In Solomon’s 4th year, he began building the great temple in Jerusalem, a place for God to dwell. Solomon started strong but he ended poorly. Along the way, he went astray, abandoning Yahweh, God of his ancestors, and following after other Gods. He did not give his heart fully to God as his father, David, did.
Near the end of his life, Solomon got real aggressive with building projects and ships. To pay for it he overtaxed his people. Some were put to work in forced labor. A man named Jeroboam led a revolt against Solomon. Jeroboam failed and fled to Egypt. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam inherited the kingdom, Jeroboam returned from Egypt and bargained with the new king. If you lighten the load your father put on his people, then we will serve you as king. Rehoboam consulted with his father’s advisors who told him to listen to the people. But Rehoboam didn’t listen. Instead he oppressed his people even further which led to a civil war and the division of the kingdom into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah. Listen once more to what the scripture says…
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” They answered him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him…
Psalm 51:1-4 & 6-13
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.