The first of these proverbs reminds us of the intimate connection between character and action. This connection shows up even in the life of a child. If we are to discern this link we need to pay careful attention. We need to be wise in how we hear and what we see. For it is in hearing and seeing that we are able to come to understanding. The great temptation is to fail to listen, fail to look and so fail to understand aright.Read More
Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice” (Act 4 Scene 1), has Portia say, “Earthly power doth then show like God’s, when mercy seasons justice.” This echoes the scriptural account when the people marvelled at Solomon’s wisdom, “And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to render justice.” (v 28 RSV).Read More mercy, justice, wisdom
On the face of it this looks like a description of Paradise. “Everyone had enough to eat and drink, and they were happy.” They enjoyed fertility, plenty, prosperity and security.
But look a little closer, and a different picture begins to emerge. The story may well be told with some literary license, as is indicated by the opening statement that they were “as numerous as the sand on the seashore” (v 20 NIV; CEV’s “seemed like” is a paraphrase).Read More wealth, discipleship, contentment, prosperity
The pivotal point in the narrative, however, is Solomon’s decision to build a house for God’s “Name.” This seems a bit strange for the contemporary reader, but for a Jewish person it makes sense. Why? Because “The Name” (Hebrew:” Ha Shem”) embodies the very presence of the Almighty. Solomon says later as he dedicates the temple that God cannot be confined to any one place, but it is fitting and proper to build a house for and in the “Name” of God.Read More presence, Jérusalem, name
Chapter 6 tells the story of the completion of the building of God’s house. It took four years to build the foundation and three for the superstructure. It was magnificently finished in gold leaf and cedar. A masterpiece. And then we read the first verse of chapter seven, where, to our surprise we’re told it took Solomon THIRTEEN years to build his own house! What, as they say, is up with that?
Maybe nothing other than being human is up with that.Read More self-centredness, lukewarmness, spiritual growth
We’ve just read in chapter 6 how Solomon spared no expense in building a house for “The Name.” Now we see no expense spared in building a house for himself. “Costly stones” seems to be the theme of the construction. A huge thirteen year project costing in the tens of millions of today’s dollars. But there is a life lesson here we shouldn’t miss.
Solomon strove for excellence, both for God and himself.Read More value, expense
Two 2 ½ year olds in the nursery at church recently illustrated for me the message of this Psalm.
One child, whose mother remained in the room, immediately entered into the activities with confidence. The other, whose mother didn’t stay, hung back for a quite a while before feeling comfortable enough to join in. Both were familiar with the room and the other adults.Read More trust, worship, peace