Lesson 4 – God is with Us When We Seek God
There are several key points that ought to be remembered for this lesson.
David and Solomon
The story of Solomon’s rise to power is told in two places. The first is in 1 Kings 1-2. In this story there is no grand display of David’s turning over the empire in a public ceremony and of him telling Solomon to build the Temple. In this story David is old, sick and dying. He has not had the courage to name an heir. Rather than allow the eldest son to take charge (and probably exile or execute her son Solomon) Bathsheba conspires to have David name her son King. David falls for her wiles and does so. Once this is done it does not take long for Solomon to get rid of his brothers to secure the throne for himself. He also carries out David’s wish to kill some others whom David did not have the courage himself to kill. So, though Solomon is instructed to live by the Law of Moses (which is dubious at best since it was probably not compiled for several hundred more years), Solomon moves instantly to murder and the worship of other gods when he marries Pharaoh’s daughter. Granted he will build the Temple, but that action does not prevent Solomon from moving farther and farther from God, which will spell doom for the united kingdom.
The second story is from Chronicles which is a sanitized version. It’s intended audience was the remnant who had returned from Babylon and who needed to be reminded not only of David and Solomon’s greatness, but also of the requirements for loving God and being faithful to the Torah. The danger for them was to fall away and go after other gods, rather than participating in the Temple ritual. It is in some ways a motivational speech, more than an historical record. Even so, Chronicles will tell its readers what happens when they fail to love God…they will go into exile, though there will be a remnant…meaning those who are reading the book.
Both offer us the following perspectives:
Hebrews is an if-then sermon. If you stick with love God, then God will stick with and love you. If you don’t then God won’t. This principle matters for the writer of Hebrews because the recipients of the sermon are thinking about leaving Christianity and going back to Judaism. If they go back, they will not be loving God completely because it is in Jesus that the fullness of God dwells. The preacher asks that the people love God not with words but with deeds. They are to show their love by:
They are to do these things, even when an easier way presents itself, because those actions reflect the love of God in Jesus and are the way of life and the way of God. If they do these things, then God will always be with them. This is a reminder of the Old Testament remnant theology that they are the people of God whom God will shepherd through all difficulties.