Sunday, November 1, 2015

Attitudes



1 Kings 1:1–53, Mark 1:1–34, Proverbs 1:1–7

When Israel’s King David became advanced in years, no amount of blankets could keep him warm. They had no electric blankets, hot water bottles, or thermostats in those days so David’s servants found a young woman to lie in his arms. Imagine being willing to cuddle up to a very old man, not as a sexual object but to serve the king in a most unusual way. (1 Kings 1:1–2)  I can hardly imagine her attitude!

It is easier to grasp the attitude of Adonijah, one of David’s sons. He knew that his father was unable to rule, so he exalted himself saying, “I will be king” and made preparations to take that position. (1 Kings 1:5–6)

Bathsheba was dismayed. With great respect, she went to David and said, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ And now, behold, Adonijah is king, although you, my lord the king, do not know it.” (1 Kings 1:17–18) She knew that if Adonijah took the throne, he would kill her and Solomon.

David remembered. He said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.” (1 Kings 1:29–30) Even though David was not a perfect or sinless person, he was a man of his word, a very commendable attitude for anyone to have.

His men were loyal to him also. One of them said, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, say so. As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.” (1 Kings 1:36–37)

This attitude of allegiance was repeated by David’s servants. They came to congratulate him saying, “May your God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.”

David also bowed himself on the bed and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has granted someone to sit on my throne this day, my own eyes seeing it.” (1 Kings 1:46–48) He was totally willing to yield his throne to the son of his choice.

As for Adonijah, he feared for his life, but the new king Solomon said, “If he will show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the earth, but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” He had Adonijah brought before him and the usurper wisely paid homage to King Solomon. The new king could have slain him, but Solomon said, “Go to your house.” (1 Kings 1:52–53) His merciful attitude was far different from that of his half brother.

Solomon has been considered a very wise man. He wrote many proverbs, particularly about wisdom. His attitude was to “know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth.” He urged that “the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles” and declared, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:1–7) The grace of God gave Solomon an attitude that few had in those days. No wonder he had an incredibly good reputation.

Hundreds of years later, another man appeared who also had an unusual attitude. He had a powerful message about the coming Messiah, but gave it in great humility . . .

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘after me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” (Mark 1:4–8)

Soon after, Jesus came and John stepped out of the limelight. Jesus invited humble fishermen to follow Him, healed the sick, cast out demons, and changed the world. While the godly men who went before Him displayed remarkable attitudes, His thoughts and manner were always exactly as they should be for He was God in human flesh, sinless, and determined to not do His own will but the will of His Father in heaven.

I can look to David, Solomon, John the Baptist and others as good examples, but only Jesus lives in my heart to enable me to not only have the attitude of my God, but live it out in faith and obedience.



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