As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: 1 Kings 1-3
Key verses: (2:10-12) “The David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.”
Reflection: Happy Easter! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! I hope to get to see many of you this morning as we celebrate the Risen Lord at 7, 9, and 11 this morning outside the sanctuary.
Our Year in the Bible curriculum brings us to 1 Kings 1-3 this Easter Sunday, which is a strange passage to reflect upon on Easter. Easter celebrates life. 1 Kings begins with a lot of death. Easter celebrates the power of God’s self-giving love to bring new life on the other side of every cross we face. 1 Kings 1-3 is defined by Solomon’s calculated grab for worldly power. It could have inspired the ending of “The Godfather” given all the assassinations that unfold in 1 Kings 2! Solomon’s kingdom was firmly established by an unrelenting violence that eliminated all rivals. There is at least a bit of redemption in 1 Kings 3 where Solomon asks for wisdom when God offers, “Ask what I should do for you.” But that story ends with the cryptic comment, “it had been a dream.” Indeed, Solomon will go on to marry hundreds of foreign wives, build countless altars to Baal, enslave his own people to advance a building campaign that includes his own house being over three times the size of God’s temple. Suffice to say, the author of 1 Kings was not a fan of King Solomon.
So what can we draw from these very worldly stories on this holiest of days? Though the politics and infighting and intrigue of 1 Kings 1-3 feel far removed from God, the providence of God is unfolding, none the less. Remember back in 2 Samuel 7, God made a covenant with David to establish his house forever. David and Solomon are indeed included in Jesus’ genealogy found in Matthew 1. In fact, it reads, “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,” revealing the scandalous origins of Solomon’s birth. God’s providence works even amid the wily ways of the world. If God can redeem David’s house, than surely God can redeem our own houses.
Ultimately, that’s the good news of Easter. In the cross, the powers of the world exacted their very worst upon our Lord, putting him to death in the most brutal way they could imagine. Yet by that cross, through his self-giving love, and by the power of his resurrection, God conquers the powers of sin and death, opening the way to life, life on the other side of every death, life eternal as God’s love. Alleluia! Amen!
Prayer: For the gift of life that is ours in Christ Jesus, our Lord, we thank you, O God. Your Easter power refuses to let the powers of death get the last word in our world, or in our lives. We praise your name! Fill our hearts with the joy that only Easter can bring that we might bask in the glory of your victory this holy day. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].