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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy 75th Birthday, CLC!

This weekend, I get to travel to Fort Washington, Pennsylvania to visit the headquarters of CLC USA, the publishers of Resisting Gossip.

I'm excited about this trip because CLC is celebrating their 75th anniversary as a mission with a special conference, and they've asked me to speak about how BIG our God is.

Dave Almack asked me write them a letter and Bible study to help prepare all of our hearts for this event. Here's what I wrote:

***

Dear CLC Friends,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am eagerly anticipating our time together at your upcoming annual conference. As a CLC author and friend of the ministry, I am excited to share God’s Word with you as you celebrate your 75th anniversary.

The theme for your historic conference is “Our Big God,” and Dave Almack asked me to send some Scriptures on this theme to reflect upon as we prepare our hearts for our time together.

I suggest spending some extended time contemplating Isaiah 40 before the conference. Few chapters in the Bible can match Isaiah 40 in their depictions of the greatness and grandeur of our Lord. Isaiah both comforts and challenges his readers to place their hope in this great big God.

Here are a few questions to ruminate upon as you pray over this passage:

A. THE LORD IS COMING :: ISAIAH 40:1-11 

1. What came before this chapter in Isaiah’s prophecy? Why did the people of Israel need the comfort of Isaiah 40?

2. What are the word pictures Isaiah uses to describe the coming of the Lord? How do they encourage God’s people to hope in Him? When and how will these prophecies be fulfilled?

3. In verse 6-8, we are reminded of our transitoriness in contrast to the enduring power of God’s Word. What are some of the implications and applications of this truth to our lives today? How does it chasten and also encourage us?

4. Reflect on the concurrent character of the God who is coming, simultaneously both a powerful king and gentle shepherd (vv.9-11). How does that make you feel? In what ways does it help you to hope in Him?

B. THE LORD IS AWESOME :: ISAIAH 40:12-26

5. Why does Isaiah shift gears in verses 12-26? How does he challenge the people of God in the second part of the chapter to believe in the comfort that was promised in the first part?

6. Think about each of the word pictures that Isaiah uses to illustrate the incomparable awesomeness of the LORD. How does each one convey how big, smart, tough, and worthy He is? How does this lead you to worship? What do you wish you understood better or saw clearer about Who God is?

C.  THE LORD GIVES STRENGTH :: ISAIAH 40:27-31

7. Why do you think the last paragraph of this prophecy includes a gentle rebuke (vv.27-28)? Do you need to hear that yourself right now? Why?

8. The upshot of this whole chapter is a call to hope in the Lord, to wait on Him. “To wait” is to live out a “resolute, expectant longing.” What might that look like in your life?

9. When we hope in the Lord in this way, He gives us the strength to go on (vv.28-31). This strength is supernatural and often surprising. How have you experienced this in the past? In what ways do you need it today?  Spend some time asking God for a vision of His greatness and the hope to keep trusting and waiting on Him.

Further Resources for Studying Isaiah 40

Follow this link to listen to a sermon I preached on Isaiah 40 on my 15th anniversary as pastor of Lanse Free Church. Or you can read the manuscript of that message here.

May the Lord bless you as you prepare your hearts for the conference.

I look forward to being with you.

- Matt Mitchell

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "The Wisdom of the King"

“The Wisdom of the King”
The King of Kings in the Books of Kings
April 10, 2016 :: 1 Kings 3:1-4:34  

Last week, we started our new sermon series called, “The King of Kings in the Books of Kings” and we looked the rise of King Solomon in chapters 1 and 2.

Solomon became king of Israel after David. There was a bit of a political intrigue and potential coup, but Solomon rose above it and was crowned king, sat on the throne, received David’s instructions on what a good king would do and then shrewdly secured his throne after David died.

And the question we ended with last week was:

“What kind of a king will Solomon be?”

According to David, a king of Israel has just one job: walk with the one true God leading others to do so too.

There are other duties, of course, but whether or not you are a thumbs-up king or a thumbs-down king boil down to that one central job. Keep the covenant and lead Israel to do it, as well.

So what kind of a king will Solomon be?

It’s complicated.

In many ways, Solomon is a two-thumbs-up king. We’re going to see that this morning. He had an amazing rule and reign!

But at the risk of spoiling the story to come, Solomon also turned out to be a huge disappointment.

And I think we can a learn a lot by looking closely at his life.

The title for today’s message is on the back of your bulletin, and it’s probably no surprise if you’ve ever read this chapter before:

“The Wisdom of the King”

Because, as we’ll see, Solomon is absolutely famous for his wisdom. We’re going to see how he got, how he used it, and what difference it made for his kingdom.

But chapter 3 begins with Solomon doing something that I think is decidedly un-wise. Chapter 3, verse 1.

“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem.”

Now, that verse tells you a lot, but it’s pretty surprising, isn’t it?

Solomon is going to build an amazing palace and an amazing temple. We’re going to learn about those amazing building projects the next time I get to preach here.

And he’s going to bring his new bride to live in the City of David until those building projects are done. And his new bride reflects how important a figure he has become as the king of Israel in the middle East.

He marries Pharaoh’s daughter. Yes, that Pharaoh. As in, the king of Egypt.

Now, I don’t think he was supposed to do that. I seriously doubt that “Pharaohina” had converted to worshiping the LORD. It seems to be a mostly political marriage. An alliance with Pharaoh which would bring Solomon prestige and power on the world stage.

But I don’t think it was probably a wise move. And we’ll see how that plays out in Solomon’s life by the time we get to chapter 11.

It doesn’t appear to be a problem yet, however. Because we’re going to find out that Solomon loves the LORD. V.2

Solomon’s temple has not yet been built, so worship is still scattered around the country. V.2

“The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD. Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.”

Do you see what I mean by “complicated?”

Listen to this. Solomon is the only person that the Old Testament uses this language for as in: “Solomon loved the Lord.”

I’m sure that other people in the Old Testament loved the Lord. One of the psalmists says it of himself.

But Solomon is the only person that the Old Testament says, “‘So and so’ loved the LORD.”

That’s a thumbs-up!

He walked “according to the statutes of his father David.” He did what David said in chapter 2!

Thumbs-up!

Except! “He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.”

Now, at this point in his life, he’s doing that worship to the LORD, to the one true God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To the Great I Am. Yahweh.

And it’s kind of excusable that he did it at the high places because verse 2 says there wasn’t a temple yet.

But still...!

“Complicated.” Aren’t we all?

And it’s actually at one of those high places, that Solomon asks for the wisdom that he needs. V.4

“The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. [And the LORD overlooked the place and looked at his heart. V.5] At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’”

Okay. Just stop there for a second and truthfully answer that question for yourself.

What would you have said?

“...and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’”

Blank check from God. What do you put in there?

What you ask for at that moment says a lot about who you really are.

Of course, this is also says even more about who God is. Doesn’t it?

The LORD is a generous God. He loves to give good gifts to His children.

Who took the initiative here? Did you notice that?

God comes to Solomon and not the other way around.

And Solomon answers well. He asks for wisdom. He starts by thanking God for what He’s already given him. V.6 “What do I want?”

“Solomon answered, ‘You have shown great kindness [hesed] to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness [hesed, covenant loyalty] to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

‘Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’”

That’s one good prayer!

Do you see how humble Solomon is?

He calls himself a “little child” though he’s already a man married to Pharaoh’s daughter.

He says he doesn’t know how to carry out his duties. Literally, he doesn’t know “how to go out or how to come in.”

And the work of being the king, in charge of all Israel, caring for and shepherding Israel is too big a job for him. He needs help. He needs...wisdom.

V.9 again. “So give your servant a discerning (literally, “a listening” “attentive” “obedient” “hearing”) heart to govern your people and to “do justly and to love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.”

And verse 10 is the most amazing verse.

“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.”

Good job, Solomon! That’s the right heart. That’s the right thing to ask for.

The wisdom of the king.

Wouldn’t just love to hear that about your prayers?  “The Lord was pleased that you prayed for that.” “The Lord was pleased that you asked for that wisdom.” v.11

“So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for [bonus!]–both riches and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.’ Then Solomon awoke–and he realized it had been a dream [a revelatory dream]. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.”

Here’s point number one of three.

It’s so obvious, but we can so often miss it.

#1. WISDOM IS A GIFT FROM GOD.

Sometimes, we talk about the “wisdom of Solomon” as if it was something he came up with on his own.

He did good to ask for it, but Kings stresses that his wisdom was a gracious gift from a generous God.

If God didn’t give it, he wouldn’t have it.

On his own, Solomon was needy. He was in over his head. He was going to get buried by this task of ruling Israel.

And he knew it. So he asked!

“I need wisdom.”

Do you ask for wisdom from God?

The key New Testament verse that correlates with 1 Kings 3 is James chapter 1, verse 5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

You and I may not be the Kings of Israel, but we have the same God that Solomon did.

A generous God who loves to hand out wisdom. Liberally. Bounteously. Freely.

But do we ask?

I think that I am asking for wisdom in prayer more now that I ever have been in my life.

I, so often, just don’t know what to do.

As a husband, a father, a leader in the church.

I say to my wife, “I think I have more wisdom now than I ever have and yet I feel so  inadequate. I feel like the demands of today are so far beyond what I know what to do. I need wisdom so much more than I ever have.”

I feel like I should know a lot more, that I should know a lot more of what I should I do.

You know that’s what wisdom is, right?

Wisdom is skill in living rightly.

I tell the youth boys just about every Wednesday during Family Bible Nights that “Wisdom is the ability to know the right thing to do in a given situation.”

Not just a good thing but a right thing, a righteous thing.

Do you need that?

Moms?
Dads?
Grandparents?
Kids?
Singles?
Workers?

One of the reasons why I love that song we sing, W-I-S-D-O-M is not just that we get to yell in church. It’s that we sing a declaration of our neediness.

“I need it! I need it!”

I think that so often we act like we’ve got it all together. “I’m good, thanks!”

Have you ever been asked if you have any prayer requests and you’ve answered, “I think I’m good!” I sure have.

What a joke!

I’m planning from this day onward so say, if nothing else comes to mind, “Pray for wisdom for me. I need it!”

Solomon humbled himself. Called himself a child. The king of all Israel admitted that he was simple and foolish on his own.

And it became his number one prayer request.

“Give [me] a discerning heart!”

Pray it.

Learn to pray that.

Because wisdom is a gift from God.

And God gave it to Solomon. In spades. Verses 16 through 28 tell one story of how he used it. V.16

“Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, ‘My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. [No witnesses.]

‘During the night this woman's son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son–and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn't the son I had borne.’

The other woman said, ‘No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.’ But the first one insisted, ‘No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.’ And so they argued before the king.”

Have you heard this story before?

When I was a child, our family Bible had a colorful picture of this tragic story in it.

It always stood out to me.

Solomon has a hard choice to make. Which one of these ladies of the night is the true mother of this child?

Solomon has an idea to cut right through the lies to the truth. V.23

“The king said, ‘This one says, 'My son is alive and your son is dead,' while that one says, 'No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.'’ Then the king said, ‘Bring me a sword.’

So they brought a sword for the king.

He then gave an order: ‘Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.’ [Just a threat? Nobody knows because it works.] The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, ‘Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!’

But the other said, ‘Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’

Then the king gave his ruling: ‘Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.’ When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”

Wisdom is a gift from God.

If you have it, then thank God for it.

I you don’t, then ask God for it.

Because, number two:

#2. WISDOM BRINGS BLESSING.

Here wisdom restore a child to its rightful mother.

It also brings awe among the nation.

And it brings justice.

In chapter 4, Solomon’s wisdom (which is a gift) brings blessing on his entire kingdom. Verse 1.

“So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. [Not just north, not just south. King Solomon ruled over all Israel. And he did it wisely.] And these were his chief officials: Azariah son of Zadok–the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha–secretaries; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud–recorder; Benaiah son of Jehoiada–commander in chief; Zadok and Abiathar–  priests; Azariah son of Nathan–in charge of the district officers; Zabud son of Nathan–a priest and personal adviser to the king; Ahishar–in charge of the palace; Adoniram son of Abda–in charge of forced labor.”

Here’s his royal cabinet. And the point of the names is that Solomon knew whom to put where. Surprisingly verse 4 says that Abiathar still was a priest, on the same level again as Zadok. Perhaps that’s grace and mercy or maybe it’s just his official position on the list. Either way, it’s wisdom.

The point here is that Solomon knows what he’s doing. V.7

“Solomon also had twelve district governors over all Israel [twelve tribes, twelve governors], who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. These are their names: Ben-Hur [not the guy in the movie]–in the hill country of Ephraim; Ben-Deker– in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan; Ben-Hesed–in Arubboth (Socoh and all the land of Hepher were his);  Ben-Abinadab–in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon); Baana son of Ahilud–in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam; Ben-Geber–in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead were his, as well as the district of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities with bronze gate bars); Ahinadab son of Iddo–in Mahanaim; Ahimaaz–in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon); Baana son of Hushai–in Asher and in Aloth; Jehoshaphat son of Paruah–in Issachar; Shimei son of Ela–Benjamin; Geber son of Uri–in Gilead (the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and the country of Og king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district.”

Here’s the point. V.20

“The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.”

Solomon knows what he’s doing. He’s ruling in the wisdom.

These were the right guys in the right places to govern wisely.

These guys were collecting the taxes and everybody was happy.

Can you imagine?  Verses 7-19 tell us who was collecting the taxes, and verse 20 says that everybody was happy!

There was prosperity everywhere, everybody had enough, and people were genuinely happy. “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.”

What is that?

It’s a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, isn’t it?

Whenever you hear those words “as the sand on the seashore” in your Bible, your mind should go directly back to Genesis.

God always keeps His promises, right?

But it’s also an answer to Solomon’s prayer for wisdom.

Wisdom brings blessing.

If you know the right things to do and do it, then you will experience a measure of blessing.

Even in our broken world where things don’t always work the way they should (read the book of Job, read Psalm 73, read Ecclesiastes, even in our broken world) when you live out God’s wisdom, you and the people connected to you experience God’s blessing.

Or another way of saying it is that wisdom works.

The next paragraph tell us that Solomon ruled wisely, not just over Israel, but also over their neighbors. V.21

“And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon's subjects all his life.”

The kingdom of Israel had never been and has never been since as big as it was under Solomon. V.22

“Solomon's daily provisions were thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the River [that’s the Euphrates!], from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides.

During Solomon's lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig tree.”

That’s blessing!

That’s the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant fulfilled like never before! And really, never yet since!

Think about what we learned in Genesis about the promise of Land to Abraham.

How long has it taken for that land to finally come to Abraham’s children?

This is blessing.

“During Solomon's lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba [top to bottom], lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig tree. Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses. The district officers, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king's table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.”

This is about as good as it gets. “They saw to it that nothing was lacking.”

It doesn’t get any better than that.

And it’s all the blessing of wisdom.

These are blessings Moses talked about in Deuteronomy 27 and 28.

And it’s all the blessing of wisdom.

Do you want wisdom?

There are few things more valuable in life than wisdom, but what we do?

We spurn it. We run from it. We devalue it.

It content ourselves with ignorance and foolishness.

We don’t dig for it like we’re digging for gold.

But look what comes when you pray for and practice wisdom!  V.29

“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite (who wrote psalm 89)–wiser than Heman (who wrote psalm 88), Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations.

He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. [Many are here in our Bibles!] He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”

And he’s going to use his wisdom to build some amazing buildings, too.

Wisdom is a gift from God. Verse 29 said it again. And wisdom brings blessing. The blessings here of prosperity, safety, popularity, fame and flourishing.

Of course, not all of the blessings of wisdom will be temporal and earthly like that. Many of the most important blessings are spiritual and heavenly and even greater. But these are illustrations of what God can do when we pray for and practice the wisdom that He so graciously sends.

Sometimes I wish the story ended here.

We have offspring, land, and blessing.

It almost seems like the Abrahamic covenant has been fully fulfilled and the kingdom has come in all of its fullness.

But actually, this kingdom has cracks.

As good as it is, it’s not as good as it can get.

And it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Not yet.

And that’s because there are cracks in the king.

As much as it seems like Solomon was just about the Messiah–and I think he’s a true picture of Him!–Solomon was definitely not the Messiah.

Did you catch it verse 26 and verse 28?

Probably not because I didn’t point it out. And I’ve never preached Deuteronomy 17. You might not know what’s in there.

And those verses, 26 and 28, just sound like blessings. Especially with verse 27 in the middle, “nothing was lacking.”

But there was something off about those verses, too.

The book of Deuteronomy says that the king of Israel “must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, ‘You are not to go back that way again.”

Hmmm.  And the very next verse in Deuteronomy says one more thing that the King should not accumulate very many of. Anybody know?

“He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.”

He’s good right now. But there’s storm clouds brewing on the horizon.

And you know what that means?

Solomon is not the Messiah. Solomon is not the Christ.

Somebody else is.

#3. WISDOM IS HIDDEN IN JESUS.

As wise as Solomon was, Jesus is so much more.

Colossians 2, verse 3 says, “in [Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Jesus is the treasure chest of wisdom.

Solomon was just a shadow of the One to come.

Jesus is the King of Kings with all of the true Wisdom of the King hidden within Him.

If you want wisdom, then what you really want is Jesus Christ.

He will never let you down.
He will never go sour on you.
He will never repeat the mistakes of the kings of Israel.

And if you pursue Him, you will find all of the wisdom that you need for life and godliness.

Wisdom is hidden in King Jesus.


***

Messages in this Series

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Sunday, April 03, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "Who Will Be King?"

“Who Will Be King?”
The King of Kings in the Books of Kings
April 3, 2016 :: 1 Kings 1:1-2:46  

If you have a bookmark that you use for Sunday morning sermon series, this is the place to stick it. Today begins our newest sermon series together which I’m going to call, “The King of Kings in the Books of Kings.”

My plan is for us to study both First and Second Kings over the next....I don’t know how many weeks!  I thought Romans could be done in a year, so I don’t want to predict how long it might take us to get through these two Old Testament books together. But it will be a while.

There is a lot of ground to cover in these two books. Now, most scholars believe that they used to be one big book, but at some point they got divided into two to make it easier to find things in them.

So, we use the designation “First Kings” and “Second Kings,” but it’s really one long continuous story.

I say, “long,” but I realized during my study this week that for all that the author leaves in about the history of the kings of Israel, he leaves a lot more out.

Anyone want to guess how many years this big book covers?  It’s about 400 years. From King David to King Jehoiachin. And the author covers that history (of two different monarchies!) in just around 50,000 words or 47 chapters of scripture.

Do you know how old our country is? The USA? If you count from 1776, it’s 240 years old. How would you like to write the history of the United States of America in only 50,000 words? And this is about twice that many years.

So the author had to leave a lot of things out. But he gets all of the most important things in. The Holy Spirit made sure that he did. And all of the most important things tell us something important about God.

The Books of Kings are not just history books. They contain history, but they are revelatory books. They reveal God.

What we are going to read in Kings is theological history. It’s history that tells us the story of God so that we know Who God Is, What God Has Done, and What God wants for us and from us.

Does that sound familiar?  It’s the outline from last week. It’s something that runs throughout the Bible.

As we read the Books of Kings, we can’t get lost in the history. We’ve got delve into the history to get a better picture of our Lord.

That’s why I’m calling our series, “The King of Kings in the Books of Kings.”

Because God is the main character of the story.

For those of you who have been with us for the last dozen or so years that shouldn’t come as a surprise. We’ve learned before that the Lord is the main character of the story.

This is the next book in our multi-decade series of series on the Big Story of the Bible.

In 2003, we studied the book of Genesis. Anybody remember that?
In 2005, we did Exodus.
In 2007, we did Numbers. Life in the Wilderness.
In 2009, we did Joshua. Possessing the Promises.
In 2012, we made it to Judges. The Downward Spiral. And also the book of Ruth.
In 2013 and 2014, we met King David in the books of Samuel. A heart for the heart of God. The Lord is My Rock.

And now we’ve reached the books of kings.

And we’ve seen all along that it’s not Adam, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, or David who is the main character of this story.

Our God, Yahweh, the LORD is the main character of the story.

Now, there are going to be a lot of characters to meet in these 47 chapters. There are so many prophets, priests, and kings with really strange and hard to pronounce names that it will be very difficult to keep track of all of the people that we meet.

But if we keep our eyes on the main character, the Great King of all Kings, we’re going to get the most important part of the story.

Now, I’d like to spend a lot of time telling you all about how exciting this series is going to be and all of the things we’re going to learn about. The action and adventures, the plots and intrigues, the miracles and wonders. All of the crazy stories about guys like Elijah and Elisha. The heroes of the Old Testament and the villains –some of the most wicked kings and queens ever. (Have you heard of Jezebel?)

But instead of introducing our series any more, I just want to dive in and get this story started.

Because the sooner we do, the sooner we know our God better.

The big question in the first two chapters is “Who Will Be King?”

That’s actually a question that comes up a lot in these two books, as you might imagine.

But it’s the big question that confronts the nation of Israel as this book begins.

There is a king in Israel. He’s not the first king. That was Saul.

But he is the first king whom God had truly wanted the people of Israel to have.

What is his name?  King David. That’s right.

Do you remember all that we learned about him in 2013 and 2014?

Well, King David has not gotten old. And not just old but “old and cold.” In fact, he’s getting very weak and apparently dying. 1 Kings chapter 1, verse 1.

“When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his servants said to him, ‘Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’ Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.”

Now, why is this story in the Bible?

Well, for one, because it happened. There are a lot of stories in the Bible that I’d rather not know about including this one about a human-hot-water bottle named Abishag. But it really did happen for better or worse and the Bible doesn’t sugar coat the history of our heroes of the faith.

But there are a couple of other reasons why it’s in here. One is because this beautiful young lady, Abishag, is going to come up again in the story real soon and play a part in the downfall of a potential king.

But the other reason is that we need to know in no uncertain terms that David is really old, really weak, and just about dead.

And here’s the scary part, it’s not clear right now who his successor is going to be.

Who will be king?

#1. ADONIJAH?

David has a son who decides that he himself will be the next king of Israel. Problem solved. V.5

“Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, ‘I will be king.’ So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’ He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)” Stop there for a second.

Is Adonijah going to be king?

It certainly looks like it. He’s got the stuff. He’s got the entourage. He’s got the ambition. We’ll see in a second that he’s got the connections. And he’s apparently the oldest living son of David.

The others have all died. We’re not sure how Kileah died, but we know how Amnon died and Absalom.

This son sounds a lot like Absalom doesn’t he?

Anything else he sounds like?

He sounds like Saul, too. Doesn’t he? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he was tall.

This guy looks really good on paper.  Adonijah looks really good on the outside.

But what question does that raise?

What does he look like on the inside?

What is his heart?

Remember what we learned in 1 Samuel 16?  “ The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Let’s not forget that life lesson.

It’s so easy to judge other people by appearances.

In choosing a spouse for example. Guys want a looker. Ladies want a hunk.

And, there is nothing wrong with beauty. I happen to have found the most beautiful woman on the planet and tricked her into marrying me. But if she wasn’t beautiful on the inside, too, I’d be in big trouble.

Or in choosing a leader or a employee. Who looks the best on paper, who has the most gifting, the most popularity, the most clout?

Don’t forget to find out what’s on the inside. What do they care about? What do they worship? To whom or what are they loyal?

Don’t forget that God looks on the heart.

And especially remember it when it comes to you and me. We can look good on the outside and be a total mess on the inside.

Remember what we said at the Good News Cruise? It’s what’s under the hood that counts.

What’s going on under your hood?

Are you allowing God to work on you? And give you the engine overhaul that you need?

I don’t think that Adonijah was interested in a heart overhaul. But he was interested in being the king. V.7

“Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. [Those are some familiar names there from David’s early history as king.] But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David's special guard did not join Adonijah.

Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah who were royal officials, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.”

Or his dad either.

This is what we call a “coup.” Adonijah is taking the reigns of power to himself.

And it looks like most of the key leaders are with him.

But the LORD has other plans.

Did you notice that there was brother that he didn’t invite to the royal party?

Solomon. And that probably means that most people knew that Solomon was supposed to be king but David had apparently never made it official. Not enough, at least. But he’s also apparently too weak to do it now.

Or is he?  V.11

“Then Nathan [remember him? He’s a a truth teller! Nathan...] asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother [remember her?], ‘Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's knowing it?

Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in to King David and say to him, 'My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: ‘Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne’? Why then has Adonijah become king?'

While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and confirm what you have said.’  [Two witnesses.] So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. [Awkward. Ironic. Necessary.]

Bathsheba bowed low and knelt before the king. ‘What is it you want?’ the king asked. [Remember, he’s really weak.]

She said to him, ‘My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the LORD your God: 'Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.' But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. He has sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and has invited all the king's sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant.

My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.  Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his fathers, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.’ [And probably die. We weren’t invited to the party. That’s a very bad sign.]

While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. And they told the king, ‘Nathan the prophet is here.’ So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground. Nathan said, ‘Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep. He has invited all the king's sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying, 'Long live King Adonijah!'

But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?’  [Who will be king? And King David springs to life! V.28]

Then King David said, ‘Call in Bathsheba.’ So she came into the king's presence and stood before him. The king then took an oath: ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.’ Then Bathsheba bowed low with her face to the ground and, kneeling before the king, said, ‘May my lord King David live forever!’

King David said, ‘Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.’ When they came before the king, he said to them: ‘Take your lord's servants with you and set Solomon my son on my own mule and take him down to Gihon. There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!'

Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.’

Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, ‘Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. As the LORD was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!’ [What a prayer!]

So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and put Solomon on King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon.  Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!’

And all the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.

[And they heard it at the other party. V.41]

Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they were finishing their feast. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, ‘What's the meaning of all the noise in the city?’ Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, ‘Come in. A worthy man like you must be bringing good news.’

‘Not at all!’ Jonathan answered. ‘Our lord King David has made Solomon king. The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king's mule, and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds with it. That's the noise you hear. Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, 'May your God make Solomon's name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!' And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, 'Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.'’ At this, all Adonijah's guests rose in alarm and dispersed.”

I love that party of the story! Everybody found somewhere else to be. Slink, slink, slink.

“But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. [He knows that he’s in trouble so he seeks asylum.] Then Solomon was told, ‘Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'’

Solomon replied, ‘If he shows himself to be a worthy man, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.’ Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, ‘Go to your home.’”

Who will be king?

#2. SOLOMON.

Solomon will be king.

That was the Lord’s plan all along.

The question is, will he be a good one or a bad one?

As we go together through the Books of Kings, we’re going ask this question over and over again. Was this particular king a thumbs up generally or a thumbs down?

Good or bad.

Now, I’ll tell you secret right up front. They all have some bad in them.

Every single one. Look at King David. He was the standard. A man after God’s own heart.

A thumbs up. But he’s failed in so many ways.

He failed back in 1st and (especially) 2nd Samuel, but he’s not done perfectly already in this book. Verse 6 told us that Adonijah’s arrogance and pride were at least partially David’s fault.

He’s left a lot of things undone. Up till now, he’s not made Solomon’s future as king  secure. And he’s about to die with some business unfinished.

But he was, on the whole, a good king. A great king, really. A thumbs up.

And that’s because he did the one thing that every one of God’s kings must do. He walked with God and led Israel to keep the covenant with God.

You see, that’s what the Lord judges as success in a king for Israel. Not whether or not the king leads his armies to victory or whether or not the king brings economic prosperity to the kingdom or whether or not the king establishes peaceful treaties with the nations around them.

The one big question that the Lord cares about is whether or not the king walks with God, worships the Lord alone, and leads the people of God to do the same.

That’s what are going to see again and again and again and again as we go through this book together.

It’s how the kings are evaluated.

And it’s what David tells Solomon to do in chapter 2.

These are David’s dying instructions to Solomon as he becomes king not just co-regent with David but king on his own. Chapter 2, verse 1.

“When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said.

‘So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'”

There is the thesis statement for our whole sermon series.

In effect, David says to Solomon, “You have one job.”

Walk with God and lead Israel to do it, too.

“So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires. Walk in his ways...”

Walk with God and lead Israel to do it, too.

“...keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses...”

There is this thing called the covenant. Your job as king is to know it and lead Israel to keep it.

And the Lord says, “And if you do, I’ll do my part.”

I’ll prosper you. I’ll give you blessings. And I’ll keep a Davidic king on the throne.

V.3 “...so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: [2 Samuel 7] 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'"

Solomon, you have just one job.

Now, church, we are not Solomon. We are not the king of Israel.

But I think we could probably apply this to ourselves as well.

Do we walk with God and lead others to do it, too?

That’s what it’s all about.

Remember what God told the prophet Micah?  “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? [You’ve got one job.] To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

It’s not about how successful we are at our business.
It’s not about how beautiful our houses are.
It’s not about how many cars we have.
It’s not even about how big or happy our families are.
Or how healthy we are.
Or how smart or popular or funny.

It’s about do we walk with God and lead others to do so, too?

“What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Now, what if you don’t?

What if you turn out to be a thumbs-down kind of person?

We know that with obedience comes blessing.

But we also need to know that with disobedience comes danger.

The kings that fail at their one job will lose their job.

There are consequences for failing to keep the covenant.

And yet there is also grace.

God’s people don’t always get what they deserve.

And God always keeps His promises. Even to people who don’t deserve it.

There is no karma in the books of Kings. There is justice. And there is grace. And they are both found in our Lord.

Which is good. Because we need them both.

In verse 5, David’s instructions turn personal and political. He lays out some unfinished business that he wants Solomon to finish for him.

And in doing so, Solomon will secure and establish his kingdom. V.5

“‘Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me–what he did to the two commanders of Israel's armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.”

Do you remember all that from 2 Samuel?  General Joab and his murders of Abner and Amasa?

David had let Joab live. And even stay the leader of the army.

But that doesn’t mean that he’d forgotten.

And Joab had gone with Adonijah not Solomon in chapter 1. So, he needed to neutralized.

Now, is this personal vendetta, political maneuvering, or godly execution of justice?

I’m not sure. My guess is that it’s a little of all three.

Life is messy. And so is King David. He’s not perfect. He doesn’t have a halo.

But he did just finish telling Solomon to walk with God. So, I don’t think he’s intentionally just settling old scores. He’s instructing Solomon to meet out the justice that the king should meet out and that he has failed up till now to do. V.7

“‘But show kindness [hesed, covenant loyalty] to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

‘And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD: 'I will not put you to death by the sword.' But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.’

Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. He had reigned forty years over Israel–seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.”

That’s the first successful transfer of power in the Davidic Dynasty. We’re going to read a lot of statements like verse 10 and 11 as we go through Kings. So and so rested with his fathers and had reigned so many years.

That formula reminds us how short our lives are and how important it is to make them count.

Forty years David reigned.

What did he do with them?

What are you doing with your years?

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.

The rest of the chapter just explains how Solomon’s rule was firmly established.

It took some bloodshed. V.13

“Now Adonijah, the son of Haggith, went to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. Bathsheba asked him, ‘Do you come peacefully?’ He answered, ‘Yes, peacefully.’ Then he added, ‘I have something to say to you.’ ‘You may say it,’ she replied.

[Isn’t this interesting? Adonijah and Bathsheba? They were enemies in the last chapter. I think they are still here. V.15]

‘As you know,’ he said, ‘the kingdom was mine. All Israel looked to me as their king. But things changed, and the kingdom has gone to my brother; for it has come to him from the LORD. [It’s good that he recognizes that.] Now I have one request to make of you. Do not refuse me.’ ‘You may make it,’ she said.

So he continued, ‘Please ask King Solomon–he will not refuse you–to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.’

‘Very well,’ Bathsheba replied, ‘I will speak to the king for you.’

[Now, we don’t know if Bathsheba was clueless or shrewd here. I tend to think shrewd. She knows that Adonijah has made a tactical mistake and all she needs to do it is report it. V.19]

When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. [Wow! That’s honor.] He had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat down at his right hand.

‘I have one small request to make of you,’ she said. ‘Do not refuse me.’ The king replied, ‘Make it, my mother; I will not refuse you.’

So she said, ‘Let Abishag the Shunammite be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.’

King Solomon answered his mother, [Are you out of your mind?!] ‘Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him–  after all, he is my older brother–yes, for him and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!’

[Abishag was as good as a wife or at least a concubine to King David. Giving her to Adonijah would be like saying that he’s the true king. I don’t think so. V.23]

“Then King Solomon swore by the LORD: ‘May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if Adonijah does not pay with his life for this request! And now, as surely as the LORD lives–he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised– Adonijah shall be put to death today!’

So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.

[Next, the traitorous priest Abiathar. V.26]

“To Abiathar the priest the king said, ‘Go back to your fields in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not put you to death now, because you carried the ark of the Sovereign LORD before my father David and shared all my father's hardships.’

So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the LORD, fulfilling the word the LORD had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli. [God always keeps His promises, including His threats. Notice that Solomon tempers all of this bloodshed with mercy where he can. V.28]

“When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the altar. King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD and was beside the altar. Then Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada, ‘Go, strike him down!’ So Benaiah entered the tent of the LORD and said to Joab, ‘The king says, 'Come out!'’ But he answered, ‘No, I will die here.’ Benaiah reported to the king, ‘This is how Joab answered me.’

Then the king commanded Benaiah, ‘Do as he says. Strike him down and bury him, and so clear me and my father's house of the guilt of the innocent blood that Joab shed. The LORD will repay him for the blood he shed, because without the knowledge of my father David he attacked two men and killed them with the sword. Both of them–Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel's army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah's army–  were better men and more upright than he. May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants forever. But on David and his descendants, his house and his throne, may there be the LORD's peace forever.’

So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab and killed him, and he was buried on his own land in the desert. The king put Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab's position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.

[Next on the list is Shimei. I’m sure he also cared for the sons of Barzillai. V.37]

Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.’

Shimei answered the king, ‘What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.’ [He knows that he is in trouble and promises to keep his nose clean.] And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.

But three years later, two of Shimei's slaves ran off to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath, and Shimei was told, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ At this, he saddled his donkey and went to Achish at Gath in search of his slaves. So Shimei went away and brought the slaves back from Gath.

When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned, the king summoned Shimei and said to him, ‘Did I not make you swear by the LORD and warn you, 'On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die'? At that time you said to me, 'What you say is good. I will obey.' Why then did you not keep your oath to the LORD and obey the command I gave you?’ The king also said to Shimei, ‘You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the LORD will repay you for your wrongdoing. But King Solomon will be blessed, and David's throne will remain secure before the LORD forever.’ Then the king gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down and killed him. The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon's hands.”

Who will be king?

Solomon. And we’ll learn more over the next few weeks what kind of a king he was.

But I’ll tell you what kind of a king all of these guys are.

They’re all disappointing.

I’ll give you a glimpse into the whole rest of this series. It’s not as depressing as the book of Judges was, but almost.

Because there is, if not a downward spiral, a downward slide.

And every single king, every single anointed one, is disappointing on some level.

Even the best of the best who are two thumbs up in general are nothing like they really should be.

You know I wanted to really be proud of David or Solomon in these first two chapters.

And I think overall they do well.

But it’s messy, isn’t it?
It’s not a pretty picture.

David disappoints, and if hasn’t already, Solomon will. I promise you.

And they all die. Every single one of them.

There is no perfect king in these books.

But you know what that means?

It means that each one of them points to the king of kings that we all so desperately need.

#3. JESUS!

Every king that we will read about will show us how desperately we need the king of kings. Because every one of them will disappoint us, but Jesus will not.

Because, as we learned last week, Jesus has come back from the dead.

In the book of Acts, Peter preaches this famous statement. Acts 2:29

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.” [1 Kings 2:10 tells us that.] But [King David was also] a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.

Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.... Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

And when they heard that, about 3,000 people got saved!

Who will be king?

Jesus Christ who has risen from the dead.

***

Group Discussion Questions

1. Are you looking forward to this new sermon series on the Books of Kings? Why or why not?

2. Why is it important to remember that God is the main character in the books of Kings? Why might that be hard to do? What other things about the books of Kings make it difficult to read, interpret, and study?

3. Review 1 Kings 1 and discuss Adonijah’s bid for the throne. Why did it look like he might be the next king? What went wrong (hint: remember 1 Samuel 16:7)? What can we learn from this for our own lives?

4. Review 1 Kings 2 and discuss the establishment of Solomon’s kingship. What is the king’s “one job?” What can we learn from this as believers today?

5. In what ways are all of these kings disappointing? How does this point to our need for the King of Kings? What are ways that you can express your love, trust, and loyalty to Him this coming week?

Saturday, April 02, 2016