April 21

Read 1 Kings 1 -- 2:25

In Today's Reading:

David's life is drawing to a close l Adonijah, oldest living son of David gains the support of Joab, commander in chief of Israel's army, and Abiathar, one of two high priests, and makes an unsuccessful attempt to be king l God uses just three people to ensure that Solomon becomes king l Above all else, King David charges his son to be obedient to the Word of God l After David dies there is more treachery and death.

Verses for Today:

Be . . . strong . . . and show thyself a man; And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper (do wisely) . . . That the Lord may continue His Word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said He) a man on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:2-4).

As we grow old, all of us want to remain useful; but increasing age diminishes our strength and narrows our options. David was old and stricken in years (1 Kings 1:1). Just like everyone else, the giant-killer, hero, and sweet psalmist of Israel (1 Samuel 23:1) eventually became feeble. Although King David was physically limited, his spiritual insight had grown even stronger through his difficulties. Spiritual alertness is increased as we continue to take in and share God's Word with others. Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

David's last words to Solomon express how important it is to do the will of God. David said nothing to Solomon about amassing wealth or enlarging his kingdom. Instead, he stressed eternal values of living in obedience to the One True King of Israel's statutes . . . Commandments . . . judgments, and . . . testimonies (1 Kings 2:3).

Having been born to Bathsheba about the middle of David's 40-year reign, Solomon was probably 20 years of age when he became King of Israel. God had commanded that Israel's king shall not multiply horses to himself (Deuteronomy 17:16). But, sadly, Solomon ignored God's Word, and his first years as king were occupied in accumulating 40,000 horses for himself (1 Kings 4:26).

God had also commanded all the kings to know His Word: He shall write him a copy of this Law in a book. . . . And he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law . . . to do them . . . that he turn not aside from the Commandment (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). All of the sins of Solomon, along with the division and eventual destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, can be charged to his failure to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law and . . . to do them.

When David said to Solomon, be strong and show [yourself] a man, he meant for him to stand firm against all pressure to compromise the biblical standards of right and wrong. Today, compromise could include involvement in secular organizations that rob us of time that could be invested in Christ-centered goals with the church and other ministries. These goals include influencing friends, neighbors, business associates, and others to give priority to the eternal values of God. People need to be reminded to repent of their sins, to trust Christ as Savior, to be baptized as He taught, and to become active in the Church.

As children of God, let us look not at the things which are seen (as most important to gain), but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Christ Portrayed:

By the oil used to anoint Solomon (1 Kings 1:39). Christ (Greek) and Messiah (Hebrew) mean "The Anointed One." Oil, symbolic of the Holy Spirit, was poured out upon those chosen by God for special service. Not only is Jesus God's Anointed One (Luke 4:18), but we also have been anointed as His chosen vessels (2 Corinthians 1:21).

Word Studies:

1:2 cherish = be of service as his nurse; 1:6 not displeased = never corrected; 2:6 hoar = gray; 2:17 say thee nay = refuse to grant your request.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Gary Condit (CA) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Burkina Faso (11 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and Sudanic tribal languages · Religious freedom · 48% Muslim; 33% belief in false gods, idolatry, and heathenism; 14% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Let your faith in the Word of God overrule all fears (Proverbs 3:6).

Optional Reading: Acts 22

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:165