Archive for November 3rd, 2017

1 Kings 9:1-9: Promise and Warning – Part II

Friday, November 3, 2017

Written on October 24, 2009

In our parish scripture group, we are studying 1 Corinthians.  Through prayer, conversation and reflection we discover that Paul cautions the people of Corinth just as God cautions each of us, just as Yahweh cautions Solomon.  In chapter 10 of this letter, Paul outlines several ways in which we begin to stray from God: falling into the worship of things that are not of God, living an immoral life, testing Christ, grumbling about the leadership God sends to us, thinking that we can stand on our own.  All of these temptations, writes Paul, have the same antidote: the intervention of God with his offer to unite with him in the person of Christ in the Holy Spirit.  When we offer our sufferings to God in Christ’s name we become libations poured out as Christ’s blood.  When we allow ourselves to be broken in the Spirit we become sustenance for others as they also struggle to come together in Christ.  Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.  Just as the Corinthians are offered a warning and a promise, so too is Solomon, and so too are we . . . the choice to reject or share the gift of eternal life . . . the choice of discipleship.

As we read the story of Solomon we see how he missteps: He does not realize that although something may be permissible it may not be for one’s good.  Solomon marries foreign wives in order to enter into peace pacts with surrounding nations.  These unions later pull down his kingdom because they bring with them relationships with earthly gods rather than union with the one true God.  These relationships bring about a temporary peace but in the end they are celebrations of all that holds us apart rather than of that which brings us together.  As Paul writes everything is lawful but not everything is beneficial . . . not everything builds up.  For this is how we can see if the spirit is with our actions, it will bear fruit which Paul defines clearly.  When he writes to the Galatians he cautions against immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts and orgies.  He reminds them and us that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:19-24)

What Solomon fails to see is the warning we are all given – that life outside of the Spirit cannot bring the Promise of God.  No amount of cleverness, no amount of stubbornness, no effort – whether human or demonic – can withstand the steadfastness, the tranquility, the permanence and the surety of God’s promise.  When we invest ourselves we will want to heed God’s warning and place all that we have and all that we are in the promise of God’s constant presence and love.  Let us trust and hope in Christ Jesus.

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