by Rev Joel Yong
1 Kings 10:4-9
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her. And she said to the king, The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.
When the queen of Sheba saw all Solomon possessed and the wisdom that he had – she ended up giving praise to God who watched over Israel.
Her praise was not solely to a man but she knew that God had a hand in it. She even praised God for being loving to Israel to bestow them with such a wise king.
When we do well, it is important to remember that it honors God.
Martin Luther King Jr once said,“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; Proverbs 28:11
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Ezekiel 45:17 “It shall be the prince’s duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.”
Who is this “prince”? He couldn’t be the Messiah since Jesus would never be asked to furnish the various types of offering in God’s temple. Furthermore, such a temple as described in Ezekiel 40-48 was never found in other biblical references. No less, if we take this figuratively, it could mean that the prince was a “type” of Christ that represented God’s unfailing mercy and love for His people. God’s mercy and love for His people is perfectly fulfilled as Jesus the Christ atoned for all sins through the offering of Himself as the perfect sacrifice. Even as Israel sinned grievously against God; God was relentless in providing them the message of hope through the prophet Ezekiel.
We can never fully comprehend God’s love and mercy for us because we know precisely what we are capable of. Some of us might still be struggling with the one sin that seems so difficult to overcome and wonder if God will eventually forsake us to our dark deed. When we think in this manner, we are not really helping ourselves to know God better; or to get closer to He who is Love. For our holiness does not depend on what we have done or are trying to do; but on what Christ did and how we are subjecting ourselves to His Lordship. Only Christ can save and the only way for us to lead holy lives is to consistently surrender and bow down in faith to He who is able. As Hebrews 4:15-16 says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God of mercy and love, help us to understand what it means to draw near to the throne of grace, even as we feel that we might not be able to overcome. Amen.
by Rev Joel Yong
1 Kings 8:15-20
And he said, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there. But I chose David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name. Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
It is important to remember that Solomon did not do this on his strength.
It is God who built His house through Solomon.
There is a difference.
Solomon is not God’s benefactor. He is God’s vessel.
It is the same with us.
Our abilities, time and finances- which we use for God’s service- is rendered from our position as vessels not as benefactors of the Lord.
by Rev Joel Yong
1 Kings 5:13-14
King Solomon drafted forced labor out of all Israel, and the draft numbered 30,000 men. And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in shifts. They would be a month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the draft.
There was great wisdom in what he did. Solomon rotated the conscripted men serving overseas and their time spent back in Israel, whilst between shifts, helped them to remember what it was they were serving.
They would return home and see the Temple being developed and progressing. Then they would be sent out again into Lebanon.
Sometimes we can serve and being away from our home, deplete ourselves of the vision of why it is that we serve.
I remember being in NS, and every weekend back in the civilian world, reminded me of the reason why I had to bear arms as a soldier.
Is your energy level dipping and are you getting disillusioned?
Take time to re-envision what it is that you are laboring for.
Re-ignite the fires that you might be able to serve with fresh strength once again.
by Rev Joel Yong
1 Kings 2:1-2
When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man,
David was dying.
His last words were to ask Solomon to ‘ man up’
And this was what he meant by ‘manning up’-
1 Kings 2:3
and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,
Obeying God was the way to ‘man up’.
It is not a sign of weakness to submit to God.
And in turn- the one who obeys God will find that God blesses him in his life.
If Solomon were to be such a man, the example he would set for his own sons – would lead them to follow such a standard of manliness.
1 Kings 2:4
that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.
What a new perspective compared to what the world calls manliness!
by Rev Joel Yong
2 Samuel 23:8-12
These are the names of David’s fighting men: Josheb Basshebeth from Tahkemon’s family was leader of the three. He used a spear to kill 800 men on one occasion. Next in rank to him was Eleazar, another one of the three fighting men. He was the son of Dodo and grandson of Aho. Eleazar was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. When the soldiers from Israel retreated, he attacked and killed Philistines until his hand got tired and stuck to his sword. So the LORD won an impressive victory that day. The army returned to Eleazar, but they only returned to strip the dead. Next in rank to him was Shammah, the son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines had gathered at Lehi, where there was a field of ripe lentils. When the troops fled from the Philistines, he stood in the middle of the field and defended it by killing Philistines. So the LORD won an impressive victory.
David had mighty soldiers on his side indeed.
Each capable of legendary feats.
But they weren’t always mighty.
Rewind … and take a look at what was said about their origins:
1 Samuel 22:2
Then everyone who was in trouble, in debt, or bitter about life joined him, and he became their commander. There were about four hundred men with him.
They started out as desperados.
David’s influence rubbed off onto them.
Stuff rubs off.
Who you hang out with matters.
Start hanging around Davidic men and women and let their godly influence spill into your life …
by Rev Joel Yong
2 Samuel 17:14
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom.
Absalom had 2 advisors – Hushai amd Ahithophel.
Ahithophel spoke first and gave the better advice but somehow Absalom after listening to Hushai’s advice, those to go with Hushai -thinking it to be better.
Scripture is careful to record why Absalom made the wrong choice.
God had planned for Absalom to fail so that David might be saved.
Our enemies may have awesome advisors and formidable armies.
But if God is on our side, who can be against us?
Seek God today. HE IS ALL THAT YOU NEED.