1 Kings 4: ‘The Good Life’
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Have you ever found the book of Proverbs to be a little unsatisfying as a Christian?
After all, it lists lots of practical advice about good living, but doesn’t talk a lot about the big salvation issues such as how to be reconciled with God.
Yet, to understand Proverbs and the rest of the Bible’s ‘Wisdom Literature’, we need to realise that it was written at a time when God’s people already lived at peace with the Lord.
We see this in the details of King Solomon’s kingdom, outlined in chapter four of 1 Kings.
It begins in verse two with a list of the names of all of the king’s officials, starting with his priest, not the military leader… which is a fresh reminder that they’re living at a time of peace, not war.
Then after that list, we’re given the names of the twelve governors who exercise leadership over all Israel, under the rule of God’s king.
Things are peaceful and orderly, as God’s king rules God’s people in God’s place.
Then there’s a beautiful summary of what the good life is really like, verse 20: “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink.” (1 Kings 4:20).
God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17 has come true, as his descendants are living in the promised land, in great number, enjoying great blessings.
But the blessings don’t stop with God’s people: they extend to the nations, as was also promised to Abraham.
God’s people are enjoying the great blessings of life as they follow God’s king in God’s land.
As they enjoy life as the people of his covenant promise, they now receive the gift of wisdom through their king, whose great wisdom “exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt,” verse 30.
By giving Solomon that gift of wisdom, God gave us the wisdom writings, as we read in verse 32 that “He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs”.
Some of that huge collection of writings has found its way into our Bible in the book of Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and some of the Psalms.
This, then, helps us understand where the book of Proverbs fits into the everyday Christian life.
As Proverbs chapter nine verse ten tells us, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”
The good life shown in the Wisdom writings is a picture of what life is like for people who already live a life of peace with God, having been saved by his grace (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 5), so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10).
Proverbs, and the other Wisdom writings of Solomon, are a great gift of God for Christians, today, as they bring us a godly insight into the way God’s world really works.
For this is what it means to live life as God’s saved people, knowing what it’s like to truly fear the Lord… which is why we work hard to persuade others of the good life that comes from hearing and believing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11).
God our Father, whose will is to bring all things to order and unity in our Lord Jesus Christ; grant that all the peoples of the world, now divided and torn apart by sin, may be brought together in his kingdom of love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (AAPB, Ordinary 34).
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Brazil has had high Covid infection rates, and this has restricted the churches meeting together. However, mission continues. A group in the Diocese of João Pessoa have been fasting and praying about a church plant in Canguaretama (in the photo). On the day they finished, a man called to give them some land for the church.
Pray for wisdom to know when to start this new church.
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