What sort of movie rating would you give the Bible?

Given all the sinning that seems to be so popular among the people of the Bible, you’d think it may come sealed in plastic and watched closely by booksellers so small, innocent children wouldn’t accidentally find themselves reading such graphic materials. It is a great story of God’s love, but it doesn’t shy away from the awful depths to which humanity falls.

Song of Songs may cause you to ask yourself how’d you rate the Bible (PG-13?), but not because of sin, but because of the intimate picture of love presented in it. Just read its opening lines:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine;
your anointing oils are fragrant;
your name is oil poured out;
therefore virgins love you.
Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.

Song of Songs 1:2-4

This is not what you may expect to read as you open up a book of the Bible. But read through it and ask yourself why it would be included in our Scriptures. What does it say of love? What place does love have in our Christian belief? Does the relationship present here clue us in on God’s intent for our own relationships?

It is a unique book that isn’t often preached or taught, so I hope you take the time in this lighter week to read through it.

We Know Someone Greater Than Solomon

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.

Luke 11:29-32

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.

Solomon built resentment along with the his other building projects

The Brick Testament’s rendition of Solomon’s Palace (click for source)

Since we have so much to read this week I want to make sure to at least give some helpful, short posts as I’m reading through 1 & 2 Kings.

In 1 Kings 5:13 we see forced labor being drafted by King Solomon for his building projects, which I believe are more than just the temple. It is an interesting thing to read of in regards to a man who has just been described as exceedingly wise and just. Even though these laborers produce some fine work for Israel, when we continue on in our reading you’ll see another result. Just read chapter 12 to find out how Israel felt about the burden that was placed upon them. They end up rebelling because their next king, rather than giving them relief, increases their burden.

Solomon’s extensive building and harsh demands on the people primed them for rebellion.

Short Intro to 1 Kings

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.

For further introduction: 1 Kings – Bible.org

The Nourishment of Scripture

If you’re looking for a genie in a bottle, you will be disappointed. The Bible isn’t a magic book of ancient wisdom; it’s a book about life and about God’s love for you.

This is from the beginning of a post at the website Biblegateway, which is a great site for reading and searching through the Bible, and it goes on to say what the Bible is and how we should find our nourishment there. The author, Brian Hardin, writes about how we seek fulfillment and satisfaction in all sorts of worldly pleasures, but they will ultimately fail. Only the Bible shows us what truly satisfies.

Read it in its entirety here: The Benefits and Blessings of Reading Scripture (Biblegateway.com)