Sunday, July 8, 2012

On 7-15-12 1 Kings 3:16-28; 2 Chronicles 9:8 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Solomon Judges with Wisdom and Justice.

Solomon Judges with Wisdom and Justice
1 Kings 3:16-28; 2 Chronicles 9:8
International Sunday School Lesson
July 15, 2012

Jed Greenough

Today you are studying the often quoted example of wise leadership as demonstrated by Solomon.  Solomon knew that the true mother would protest his supposed decision to have the baby cut in two, but how did he know that the other wouldn’t give up her ruse and show compassion as well?  That would have posed a new dilemma indeed as he would have had to come up with Plan B.

Not having been there that day there are probably some nuances not shared by the scriptures but visible to the king.  Clues that told him that though both women were of low moral character as prostitutes, one was acting as a mother and the other was only thinking of herself, not about the other mother and not the child.  Solomon was wise enough to know that this type of person would betray herself as she did.

It made no sense did it, that after the real mother said, “…give her the living baby!  Don’t kill him!” in verse 26 that the other woman would not take her victory?  Instead she said, “Cut him in two.”  Again, I think Solomon could tell from the things we weren’t privy to that this woman would reveal the devil inside her if you will.  Only satan is happy when man makes choices such as these.

Three things keep reverberating in my mind because of this lesson: intelligence, division and satan.  In this lesson we have Solomon’s intelligence, the threat of the baby being divided and the evil woman’s choice that made no sense except to satan.

I have read, but cannot verify of course, that Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel has an IQ of 180.  That would make him very intelligent indeed but do you think politically he has still made decisions that have caused division?

Let’s consider Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln both purported to be very wise men but divides occurred because of both men’s choices.

How about us?  Let’s look at the choices we make as Christians, as the church, shall we say has done.  As for wisdom, we have no excuse because we have the wisdom of God; it is available to us if we choose to utilize it.

In Romans 14 Paul instructs us in how to handle disputable or debatable matters and yet we often do not accept this wisdom as given to us by God but handle these matters in ways that divide us.  Is this pleasing to God or is our choice that causes division like the evil woman’s and pleasing to satan instead? 

I ask you to consider our churches, denominations, universities and ministries.  Examine their Statements of Belief, their What We Believe pages and see if they are professing disputable or debatable matters, keeping away those who would worship, fellowship and grow there because someone doesn’t agree.

If you take the time, and you had better, examine your group’s statements.  I pray that what they contain are the matters that unite us as Christian’s and not those that divide us.  I will not name names but I can tell you that there are places that I would not as a Christian be totally at home in the minds of those who also call themselves Christians.  They would not be comfortable with me because I disagree that they can say who the antichrist is.  Similarly there are places where I would not be welcome to study in places of Christian education because I don’t agree with their understanding of the scriptures concerning eschatological matters.  You know as I do that we cannot enter just any church and join with our so-called brothers and sisters and share communion with them.

Those are just three common instances that I would use to demonstrate that by our choices we are not using the wisdom of God that can be ours.  We are in fact instead doing as we are told not to in Romans 14 and causing others to stumble which is pleasing to satan.  Likewise by so doing we are condemning ourselves by what we approve which is most pleasing to satan (Romans 14:22).

Solomon had the wisdom to see the traits of satan and used the example of division to bring it out.  What will you do to change the divisions over the debatable so that we unite?

For Discussion:

1.      Yes, I know satan is “supposed” to be capitalized, I just refuse to!
2.      Discuss matters that unite and divide?
3.      Read Romans 14 and apply it to where you can make a difference?
4.      The way we worship and the way we interpret prophecy are just two matters dividing our churches.  This is clearly pleasing to satan and we need to discuss how we can reverse our choices so that we are not stumbling blocks to our fellow Christians.  If we are brave enough to consider it, put ourselves in the role of the evil mother from today and consider what we are willing to say and do for the positions we hold.  Just as the real mother thought first of her child we must consider each other first.  Will you?  Discuss.
5.      According to Editor Roy P. Basler Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided against Itself Cannot Stand” speech cost him the senate election in 1858 but Lincoln ultimately stood by his position regarding slavery and the speech whose title was taken from Mark 3:25.
6.      Discuss verses 26-27 as if it pertained to matters in the church.
7.      Discuss today’s 2 Chronicles 9:8 by placing ourselves as Christians in Solomon’s place in this verse.

Upcoming Adult Sunday School Class Commentaries

7-22-12:  A King Acts on a Widow’s Behalf 2 Kings 8:1-6
7-29-12:  Jehoshaphat Makes Judicial Reforms 2 Chronicles 19:4-11
8-5-12:    Praise for God’s Justice Psalm 146
8-12-12:  God Promised a Righteous Lord Isaiah 9:2-7 or Isaiah 9:1-7

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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