Sunday 26th May

Read Psalm 58

If you don’t have a bible at home you can find the readings on a website such as or an app such as YouVersion

This Psalm is a prayer to God to do something about the injustice of wicked rulers.  He says that their hearts devise injustice and their hands mete out violence on the Earth and indeed from birth they go astray.  He is quite fierce about them saying that their venom is like that of a snake and no charmer can control them.  There are times when we can echo the Psalmist’s words about evil around us and about wicked men, the world is full of such, and our feelings about them match the Psalmist’s.  What can we do? 

The Psalmist goes to God about them and prays for their defeat saying, “break the teeth in their mouths … tear out the fangs of those lions” (v6).  We shouldn’t be afraid of praying to God for the discomfiture and crushing of evil men as though that if we give vent to that we will be failing in the gentleness of Christian lives.   Not at all, he says, “the righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked”.   Fierce words but God is holy and will not tolerate the wicked forever.  However, amazingly patient though he is, the wicked ought to take that patience for granted, as Paul says in Romans 2:4, “do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”.  It is dangerous to play with impenitence. 

The Psalmist says if you answer my prayers timeously, “Then people will say, 
“Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.” (v11).  That’s the reason to pray for the discomfiture of wicked and evil men. 


Monday 1 Kings 2:1-12 

These are the last words of David to his son Solomon before he died, his opening words being to point him to the commandments of God in the law telling him to be strong and observe them.  His successors will depend on this and all parents should note his words so that they bring up their children in God’s ways. 

Reflecting on his past he brings certain people before Solomon recalling their historical dealings with him.  All his time as a leader, first with the motley crew who hid with him as a fugitive, then when he became King over Judah, and latterly as King over all Israel, he was accompanied by Joab as his commander, but Joab was not a man of like heart.  David said of Joab and his brother, Abishai in 2 Samuel 3:39 “these sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me” and he reflects on Joab’s murder of Abner and Amasa as well as his son, Absalom (all of which can be read about in 2 Samuel) and tells Solomon to “deal with him according to your wisdom but don’t let him have a peaceful death”. 

On the other hand he mentions Barzillai the Gileadite who stood by David when he had to flee Jerusalem after Absalom’s usurpation of the throne (2 Samuel 19).  He gave David support and David tells Solomon to support his family, “let them be among those who eat at your table” (v7) but for Shimei who cursed and tried to stone him and his retinue when he fled Jerusalm, although he had mercy on him when he returned, he tells Solomon in his wisdom the same thing as with Joab, “bring his gray head down to the grave in blood” (v9). 

David realises that Justice may not have been done during his lifetime but it ought to be meted out whenever it could be.  Those who do ill to God’s people during their lifetime need not think that they will escape just retribution in God’s time.  David was prepared to leave Solomon in his wisdom to do what needed to be done. 

Tuesday 1 Kings 2:13-46 

Before David died he was told about the attempt by Adonijah to take control of the kingdom after his death, contrary to the Lord’s wish through David to make Solomon King and David arranged for the coronation of Solomon.  However, we see in these verses that Adonijah hasn’t departed from his desire to be king because he starts engaging in a bit of governmental politics by approaching Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, hoping that she will get him something.   

 He asks her to go to David and ask if he can have Abishag, the young girl who nursed David in his latter days, sleeping in his bed for warmth, for his wife.  What might seem innocuous was anything but.  In those days of Royal Harems, seeking one of the Kings concubines was a declaration of right to the throne, (see Absalom’s act – 2 Samuel 16:22) if not in the present at least in the future.  Going through Bathsheba was cunning, but Solomon was aware what it was about having his treasonous attempt stamped on it.   Others involved in the plan, Abiathar and Joab, were judged as well (v26-29).  Joab’s plea for mercy by running to the altar for sanctuary did not avail and Benaiah, Solomon’s Guardsman, struck him down.  Benaiah replaced Joab as commander over the army and Zadok replaced Abiathar as Priest. 

Shimei, who was another David told Solomon about, was told to live and stay in Jerusalem but three years later he disobeyed that restriction and was executed as a result.  By the end of the chapter it says that “the kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands” (v46). 

When things seem to be established in a Christian life, we always need to be careful that the Enemy of our souls does not seek to slip in to claim a part of our life before we know it.  Vigilance is always required. 

Wednesday 1 Kings 3:1-15 

This chapter starts off with Solomon making an alliance with Pharoah, King of Egypt, to marry his daughter.  This kind of thing was a known practice in the ancient world establishing a political alliance with partners who might otherwise drift into aggression with each other.  Solomon already had a wife – Naamah, the Ammonite – who was the mother of Rehoboam, who would be his heir but this alliance was much more a tactic to secure the borders and settle things for the future development of the country.  The writer makes no comment about the rightness or wrongness of this but he does mention that the people were still sacrificing at high places because the Temple, which was to be the central location of worship, had not yet been built.  He praises Solomon for following the instructions of David though, like the people, he offered sacrifices on high places.  The future story of the people always condemned what became idolatrous practices on the high places. 

At any rate, whilst at Gibeon offering sacrifices, we hear that Solomon had a dream in which the Lord appeared to him and asked him to choose a gift which God would give to him. In his reply Solomon asks for wisdom to govern the people and God commends him for this instead of asking for worldly goods or honour. (v10,11). 

Obviously the request points us to the most important things in life not being the self-regarding things but the ability to live well in both family and society.  If we have prayers for our political leaders here and in other countries it should be this as well. 

Thursday 1 Kings 3:16-28 

This story is well known as the wisdom of Solomon, the two prostitutes argue over who’s son the baby is and Solomon’s judgement scares the baby’s mother into telling the king to give the baby to the false mother. 

The judgement of course, if carried out, would have brought benefit to no-one but the desire for the life of the baby no matter who had it, was greater in the heart of the mother than in the other.  There are precious things that we would lose for ourselves if only the right and good thing were done.  What do we care most about, or is it our own desire for ownership and control?  Although it is a simple tale there is much to be learned from it. 

Friday 1 Kings 4:1-34 

The country and people that Solomon took over on the death of David was a large and growing power in the middle east and needed a lot of careful management (V20-21), that is why the writer tells us of numbers of people who were key players assisting Solomon in governing the land. 

No-one should hope to be sole leaders or managers of anything.  If we go back to Moses’ time we see his father-in-law telling him that he needed to appoint elders of the people to share with him in the judging of the people (Exodus 18) and in the New Testament the apostles appointed Deacons to look after the management and support of the widows in the Church.  We need to pray for wisdom for leaders in Church and Community to learn how to work with others. 

As the wealth of the people grew this was the high point economically and politically of the Kingdom in the Middle East and seen as a sign of the blessing of God.  However it was not just the growth of the people but the wisdom of the King which was spoken of amongst peoples far and wide who came to see and listen to the wisdom of Solomon. 

Saturday 1 Kings 5:1-18 

Chapter 5 is the start of the building of the Temple planned under David and carried out by Solomon.  He makes a business agreement with Hiram, King of Tyre, who had the men of expertise that Solomon needed for the construction work and we can see how big a job this was by the details in the chapter. 

One thing that comes out though and is slipped in in vs13,14 is the conscription and forced labour that Solomon employed.  This would come back to bite after the death of Solomon in the events about his successor which we shall come to later.  The kingdom was rich but a cost was being paid by the ordinary people.  Whenever this happens in Church or Society we know that things are not being dealt with in the right way.  How often it is the case that power squeezes the poor and we should know that when that happens it will not end in all round blessing.  A question for us all, are we using the power that we have which is harming others?