Reading about Jesus’ final hours can be an emotional encounter, especially when we put ourselves in the scene. We’ve been walking with Jesus to the cross, and today we arrive. Seeing it dramatized is also a very powerful way to remember. I’ll never forget the car ride home in silence after our family watched Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” when it first came out in theatres.
Sometimes we want to rush ahead to what happens next, but the first disciples didn’t know this was only the beginning of the miracle of all miracles. Let’s stay where we are in this moment, seeing our Savior’s sacrifice of love.
The Preacher asks for prayer and then gives a benediction to close out his letter of teaching. What a great display of what praying for each other looks like! We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for prayer. God didn’t intend for us to have to suffer alone. We should be bombarding heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me to pray for them, I feel honored and privileged. Too often we keep our suffering silent. Why is that? Are we ashamed we don’t have it all figured out?
This benediction or blessing is so full of richness and truth. I can just imagine the Preacher extending his arms as he delivers this key address summing up the themes of his sermon: God is the God of peace; God’s power is great; Jesus is our Shepherd and cares for us; God will give us what we need to accomplish his will; and we are to honor God to bring him glory.
Jehu is taking his job very seriously. While I’m not a fan of killing people, I am a fan of following God’s command. Sometimes God calls us to do things we feel unprepared to accomplish. In Jehu’s case, he had been prepared as an army commander. Death is not foreign to him.
Jehu has been very methodical in his elimination of Ahab’s family. Of course, he had to take out the king first to have authority. The queen would be next because of her approval rating with the people. Now it was time for Ahab’s family. I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to learn Ahab had seventy children tucked safely away. Seventy! Let that number sink in a bit.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible! The whole thing is a great meditation on the importance and beauty of God’s word in nurturing our faith. Fun fact: in the original Hebrew, this psalm has 22 sections, each starting with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Repetition is common for their culture because it would have been memorized and shared orally. God’s powerful word is that important!
We are given all sorts of ways we can interact with God’s word. We can obey, memorize, recite, study, reflect, delight, and not forget!
Solomon is not going to be a lonely king. He has a lot of officials to help him with the tasks facing him as he moves the people of God forward in history. You may recognize some names from David’s regime. He is also surrounding himself with priests to give him Godly feedback and guidance.
I often wonder why the Bible is full of lists like this. Names representing individuals forever given remembrance. Beyond this mention, will we see these names again? Possibly. I’m just marveling at the extent to which Solomon is surrounding himself. As I understand it, he is also systematizing it a bit more than his father. We see a bit of the Egyptian influence he no doubt has gotten from his Egyptian wife.