Almost Heaven

Today’s Passage -1 Kings 3-5; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Memorize Philippians 3:8 – 11)

“Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.” (1 Kings 4:20)

“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)

This is about as close to heaven as you could possibly get while still living here on the earth.  Notice that Israel had the complete protection of God; and the abundant provision of God.  And in these early days of Solomon’s reign the people were busy serving God by building His temple, which took about seven years to complete.  So it seems that God is on His throne and the people are dwelling safely.  It sort of reminds me of the history of America.  We had to fight some battles in the early days; but God eventually gave us abundant provision and protection from our enemies.  We are still the most blessed nation in the world.

Unfortunately, we will see in the upcoming chronicles of Israel’s history that all of this prosperity, which was given by God, will eventually cause the people to forget about God.  I think we can safely say that America is in the same boat.  The people in this “land of the free” have forgotten that it was God who gave them their freedom and all of the prosperity that comes with it.

Christian, let us never forget that it is God that has protected us; and it is God that has provided for us.  Have you thanked God today for His blessings?

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Today’s Reading 1 Kings 1, 2; Proverbs 16

(Second Milers also read Mark 3 -4; Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:14 – 17)

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Hear Thou in Heaven … and Forgive

Today’s Reading – 1 Kings 7-9

In chapter eight of today’s passage we see the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple.  I find it interesting that Solomon speaks often to the Lord regarding the fact that Israel would fail Him in the future.  His prayer is very humble and yet it is very realistic.  Solomon speaks of the judgment that God would be forced to bring upon the children of Israel for forsaking him; but he also asks that God would forgive the people every time they turned back to him in repentance.  Notice in verse 38 that this process is not exclusively for the corporate congregation; but also for the individual who had gotten away from God.

Christians today have these same promises from God.  It would be very foolish for us to think that we will never blow it.  But we worship and serve a merciful and gracious God who “knoweth our frame”; and has built in to our relationship with Him a process for reconciliation and forgiveness.  You and I are going to sin against Him (“for there is no man that sinneth not” [v 46]).  But remember, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We ought to strive to live a holy and separate life; and it ought to grieve us when we fail Him.  But don’t ever forget that He gave everything to have a relationship with you.  He loves you far more than you could ever love yourself.  And you only need to come to Him with a heart of contrition and words of confession and your relationship with Him can be restored.  What a wonderful, gracious God we serve!!!

PS – If God is gracious and forgiving with us, maybe we should cut our brothers and sisters a little slack.

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