I’ll be the first to express my irritation at not being my usual frequent blogger. With there only being 24 hours in a day, its safe to say I’ve proved achieving the impossible really is impossible. Much has taken place since I last blogged. I earned my teaching qualification (woohoo) managed to find an office space for my business (hooray) and received funding to run an ambassadors’ programme for young people keen to be a part of driving the business forward (Yayness). It would be fair to say that stress is atypically an inevitability given the circumstance, but surprisingly through it all I’ve had an unexplainable peace. Not an over excitement (although it’s all very exciting) nor an apathy, anxiety or unbelief. Just peace.
And throughout all the vibrancy of said transition, I’ve asked God for one thing- wisdom. Aptly, reading the life Solomon assured me that there is such thing as ‘the right thing to pray for.’ Solomon’s father was ‘a man after God’s own heart’, after what I believe the bible suggests may have been natural selection, Solomon exceeds his brothers and becomes a young King. Born into unbelievable wealth and with the richest nation as his Kingdom, Solomon has it all…so we think.
Sol too asked for wisdom and enthusiastically and without hesitation God grants it. This becomes evident in how Sol handles the situation with the women and the stolen baby, the buildings of the temples, etc.
However, I soon learned through Sol that wisdom does not guarantee virtue and obedience. It enables us to have an awareness of these traits, but it’s our self control that sees them through. He was ordered not to marry women of other faiths and from other nations and no, it wasn’t because God disapproves of interracial marriage (after all, Moses married Zaporah), but it was because he knew Sol’s weakness’ and was sure it would be easier for his wives to convert him to another religion than the other way round (and we say the bible doesn’t relate to 21st century situations???).
It was Soloman’s pimp-like behaviour that saw the downfall of the mighty dynasty.
All but the tribe of Judah was taken from the hands of God’s chosen people. All seemed hopeless until one man came along.
In 1st Kings Chapter 17 we discover Elijah- an awesome dude who so far reminds me the most of Jesus. When reading on his provision of endless bread and oil for the widow, I was reminded of the feeding of the 5000 as indirectly many of the widow’s neighbours were fed through the endless supply of bread. I was also reminded of Jesus being the bread of life as without the endless supply, the widow, her son and those around her would’ve starved to death.
Moreover,when the widows son dies and Elijah (through God) ‘resurrects’ him, I’m reminded of the story of Lazarus as well as Christ’s resurrection. In my earlier blog, I mentioned my epiphany re the whole bible being about Jesus and prior books to the gospel being a foreshadowment of ‘the main event.’ If Elijah doesn’t reinforce this idea, then who does?
The Mount Carmel victory takes me back to Exodus and the worshipping of the golden calf. When will these people learn? When will WE learn?1! (tisk, tisk).
Post the bull being sacrificed on the alter and the pouring of the water three times over, I couldn’t help but draw correlations between the sacrificial animal and Jesus as a sacrificial lamb; water being poured on the alter and the water washing our sins away; the water being poured 3 times and Jesus rising on the third day.
Just like Elisha became Elijah’s servant, the disciples became Jesus’ servant and Jesus became our servant! (it’s a weird chain of command but one that reinforces how much we mean to God if he sent his son to come down from heaven and work for us).
Now into 2nd Kings: When Elijah ascended, I saw it as a a foreshadowment of Jesus’ ascension. When Elisha was ‘torn’ here and there (metaphorically) and was given a portion of Elijah’s spirit enabling him go forth and preach, I saw it as a foreshadowment of the disciples being baptised in the holy spirit and sent to preach the gospel around the world.
As a Writer, naturally I couldn’t help but notice that the author of Kings (Samuel I believe) had a unique way of making the book engaging with the rhetorical questions. It was as though he formulated his words to assure us he was as much as the narrator as the wordsmith. Each rhetorical question jumped off the page and I envisioned an old man shouting at me to remember pivotal points that summarised the characters of the Kings. subsequently, the scriptures implied that the Kings should be remembered as characteristics as well as characters; representatives of the strengths and the weaknesses in all of us.
I should also add that 2nd Kings really indicates why the books were aptly named ‘Kings’: it does so well in illustrating the impact kings/ leaders have on their people.
Moreover, Kings is also an example of the many followers of Christ who go against the grain of tradition and/or other religions to follow God. I would encourage you to read 2nd Kings chapter 22+ to grasp Josiah’s effort to restore ‘true worship.’ Again, another example of how life’s social pressures have not changed THAT much. What gave Josiah the courage to do what he did? What caused the others to rebel? What made Josiah’s son Jahahaz follow his grandfathers way rather than his fathers? What impact would all these changes have made on the people?
And on that note, my mind drifts to thinking about the persecuted church and my heart follows. Christians come up against so much adversity- particularly outside the westernised bubble although soon, we won’t be that dissimilar (I believe). How hard is it to tell your work colleague you’re a Christian? How hard is it to tell your family members you’ve had enough to drink at the family do? How awkward is it to tell your friend who’s moving in with her boyfriend you don’t think it’s the best idea in the world?
I guess through it all, it’s the wisdom of Sol, the courage of Elijah and the loyalty of Elisha that we need to adopt to see us through so many trials in life that require a discerning heart and of course, the faith.
So much more can be taken from these books. More than what one blog can contain. I guess another revelation will be unleashed when read through Kings again.
I’m eager to know what lessons I’ll learn in Chronicles, so I best be off.