I am appreciative that someone today brought to my attention an interesting reference to Solomon found in the New Testament.
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
For all the talk of Solomon’s great wisdom, we know something greater than Solomon. Just as with folks like Moses and Abraham, here is another who fails in comparison to Jesus Christ and receives the “greater than” treatment.
In Luke Jesus is shown as greater than Jonah, whose preaching caused a wicked, enemy city of Israel to repent. He is greater than Solomon whose wisdom, wealth, and power were so great that the Queen of Sheba travelled to Jerusalem to marvel at him.
If a city repented in ashes and sackcloth at the words of Jonah and if the world gathered to Solomon to hear his words, how much more will Jesus impact our world. His preaching and his wisdom are matchless. Jesus came to gather all the world and to call all people, Jew and Gentiles, to himself. Even though we’ve read these weeks in Kings and Chronicles of Solomon’s wisdom, a wisdom he sought in order to rule as king, the wisdom of Jesus, our King, is new and greater. As we read elsewhere that even the foolishness of God is wiser than the best of humanity. And in God’s wisdom Christ did not amass great power or wealth as king. As king he suffered and served, sacrificed himself for us, and now reigns on high interceding for us every day.
We ought to be thankful for his wisdom–a wisdom that saves us, and we ought to ask for his type of wisdom as we seek to follow him.
So we’re now into week eight, which means that we’re going through 1 & 2 Chronicles. Don’t worry if a) you’ve not quite finished everything from 1 & 2 Kings. As I said, the schedule has built in make up time next week and the week after. Also, don’t worry if b) you start to think much of Chronicles is oddly familiar. It is. Chronicles will take us back to the time of Saul and David, and really it takes us back in chapter one to Adam. 2 Chronicles then lines up quite a bit with Kings.
Ask yourself what differences you see between book like Samuel and Kings as they tell the same event with different emphases. What is the intent? What purpose do these books share in their writing, and what is unique?
With so many chapters to read, don’t waste your time this week. But don’t rush. I’d rather we all fall behind a bit than to pretend to read and understand these books. Next week is less than 20 chapters and after that is 5. Plan ahead and seek to find joy in reading God’s word.
Welcome to a week of hanging out with the kings of Israel, and then the kings over a divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. We come to 1 Kings to hear more about David and Solomon, who we last read of in 2 Samuel. So while we have followed the story of God’s people through the prophets, we return to see how things progress from Solomon in a more narrative style.
It is a story with lots of kings, the building of a temple, and more prophets taking a stand. It reaches from the end of David to the Babylonian exile we’ve recently read about. Keep in mind something I’ve mentioned before–just because it occurs in the Bible it doesn’t mean it is right. The kings that we’ll read of aren’t all great leaders and followers of God. But that should come as no surprise because again, we’ve already read most of the prophets.
Starting today, we’ll spend the next three weeks reading 1 & 2 Kings and Chronicles. That doesn’t look like all that much, but maybe it is because I tried to abbreviate a bit. To make it more intimidating I’d say: 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Chronicles. Perhaps you still don’t see the big deal. Some weeks have had four books read in one week. That is true. But these books aren’t the minor prophets.
The way I’ve ordered the weeks for Year in the Bible is to have us average about 23 chapters a week. Some weeks push us more and then periodically we have a lighter week when we read fewer chapters. This week (week 7 of quarter 3) has us reading 47. You’ve been warned.
So why in the world would I do this? Well, sometimes I think it was a good idea. Other times I’m just not sure. But it’s too late now to change it! My thinking was that these history books can include a large number of lists and genealogies and more lists. We could stretch Kings and Chronicles out over 2 months and pace ourselves, but I think that if we did so it would bring us into a lull. Instead we’re packing it in. Bear in mind that these books are more of a narrative style of writing so it is a more straightforward read. It is not as slow going as Job or Jeremiah have been. And be positive about it–there are great stories in here. We heard one this morning in our sermon and there are plenty more where that came from.
The three weeks of the blitz are laid out like this:
1 & 2 Kings – 47 chapters
1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles 1-18 – 47 chapters
2 Chronicles 19-36 – 18 chapters
My advice is to do your best to read it as assigned, and if you need that third week to catch up a few chapters, do so. I’ve already invited you to start early, but you can also carry it on into a fourth week if you’d rather. The week immediately following the history blitz is 1 John with all of its five chapters. That’s all. My intent is for that to be a breather for us so we can slow ourselves and read a great little letter. But again, if you need to use that light week to continue to read Chronicles, please do so.
We’re all adults here. My reading plan is flexible. You can always make your own decisions.
I hope you enjoy. And if you’re bitter about being assigned 47 chapters, you can email me all your complaints. (But the time you spend writing me an angry email may be better used getting all that reading done!)
And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them,that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
It is required of Israel’s kings to write out their very own copy of the law and to then keep it with them all the days of their life. And not just to make their office bookshelf look impressive. They are to learn from it and act on it, not turning from it in the least. This is a prescription for success in the eyes of God.
We may not be writing out our own text, but make your Bible your own. As you read it, mark it up and make notes. Keep it with you all the days of your life. Let God keep you humble by it, may God also bless you as you dedicate such time and attention to his Word. We are reading all of it because the entirety of the Bible is written for us, and doing so is a kingly pursuit.