October 29, 2017

Sermon - Tisha Brown

Sermon October 22, 2017 - Brad Brookins
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Bible Study


1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13


            The story of Solomon is a deeply theological account of life in the kingdom of Israel, but the theology is mostly below the surface; God stays pretty machine the background.  So as hard as it is for some of us, we have no choice but to go below the surface—to read between the lines, if you will, to find the truth embedded here.


            These chapters blend national politics with family ties and international relations, throwing in to the mix a healthy dose of human greed and pride.  The God part—the Divine desire to bless Israel and to bless the world through Israel, is a thread woven skillfully through the story by the writer, or more accurately, writers and editors.  (This is why it is so important to read more than just the given text for today.  See the reading suggestion from Wednesday’s post). 


            We have the great good pleasure of searching out that thread and following it as the tale unfolds.  See where it leads you; find what it can tell you about living faithfully in our world today.


            In the book of 1st Chronicles (a later re-telling of the stories of Samuel and Kings) David expresses his desire to build a temple for God who, up to that time, “dwelt” in a tent.  God refuses and says David’s son, “a man of peace” would build he temple :  “You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth.”  (1 Chronicles 22:8)


1.      Why does shedding “much blood” disqualify one from building a temple?


2.      What is peace?  Is peace possible in our world?  Why or why not?


I Kings 6.37–7.1


            “In the fourth year (of Solomon’s reign) the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. He was seven years in building it.

            “Solomon was building his own house for thirteen years, and he finished his entire house.”


3.    Do your best detective work on this passage.  What do the numbers tell you about Solomon’s values and priorities?


            The actions of Bible heroes are seldom clearly good or bad, right or wrong; there’s always some mixture of the two.  Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (mostly foreign women married to establish political alliances).  He built temples to their gods and worshipped there himself.  He modeled the temple for the God of Israel on pagan Canaanite temples.


4.     Why do you think Solomon mixed the religion and politics of Israel with the religions and politics of the nations around him?  What do you think was the result of this mixing?


5.      In what ways do we blend religion and politics today?  What is good, and not so good, about this practice?


            The temple in Jerusalem was built partially with slave labor.  The capitol building and White House in Washington DC were built partially with slave labor. 


6.     What happens to a nation that builds a monument to God (Israel) or a monument to freedom and equality (Washington) using slave labor?


            The passage for today conclude with 8: 12,13—

“Then Solomon said,

‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.

        I have built you an exalted house,

     a place for you to dwell in for ever.’”


7.      Does God dwell in thick darkness or in a house?  Discuss the theological conflict in this passage.


8.     Why do you think Solomon wanted to build a “house” for the Creator of the universe?  What was good, and not so good, about his desire to build the temple?  What would you have advised Solomon to do?





1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13


5. 1-5

1 Now King Hiram of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father; for Hiram had always been a friend to David. 2Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying, 3‘You know that my father David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. 4But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. 5So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to my father David, “Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.”


8. 1-13

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2All the people of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the festival in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 3And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests carried the ark. 4So they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. 5King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. 6Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. 7For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. 8The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside; they are there to this day. 9There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses had placed there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

12 Then Solomon said,

‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.

13 I have built you an exalted house,

   a place for you to dwell in for ever.’