This morning's reading from the Old Testament is from First Kings, chapters 10 and 11. This is more of the account of the reign of King Solomon. Solomon is listed as the wisest man ever. But sometimes I wonder. 700 wives and 300 concubines? This is wisdom? Even I'm smarter (and poorer) than that.
Here is a man to whom the LORD has appeared, twice. Yet what do we see? We see a man amassing gold, in disobedience to the Lord's commands to the contrary. We see a man making alliances with foreign nations, including taking Pharaoh's daughter as wife, in disobedience to the Lord's commands. We see Solomon allowing the worship of false gods, like Chemosh, in Israel, in disobedience to the Lord's commands. In fact, Solomon took part in these rites! By the way, this was not something like a Lutheran going to a Presbyeterian or even a Russian Orthodox church. The sacrifices to some of these demon-gods involved little things like ritual prostitution and human sacrifice.
Nothing good comes from this, and it didn't. The second chapter, and part of the first, get into the process that led to the separation of Judah (under Solomon's descendants) form the other 10 tribes of Israel. Part of that led to what is listed later on as Samaria, a remnant of which still exists.
Sad to watch the debasement of such a great promise.
The evening reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 1 through 35.
After the storm comes the morning. This is Luke's account of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty. I love this whole passage. There is just so much rich encouragement here, you hardly know where to pick a part. But there is one that hit me again this morning as it always does, though it seems to conflict a bit with the Solomon account earlier.
2 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
When you meet the Lord, when He speaks to you, it should 'make your heart burn within'. Absolutely. Some of us have had the great good fortune to experience this, and it is worth more than pearls and gold. And here is the conflict: Solomon had the enormous good fortune to have had the LORD appear to him, twice! Yet he followed after strange women and sacrificed to idols. No matter how the Lord has graced us, we still go astray - I certainly have. The issue is how to hold on to the realization of the Lord's presence the day after, and the day after that, every moment.