Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Ye shall not fear them; for the Lord your God He shall fight for you.”
“And, behold, God Himself is with us for our captain (at the forefront as ruler – Hebrew).”
II Chronicles 13:12
Today’s Study Text:
“And Hiram King of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.”
1 Kings 5: 1
“A Life Lived With Purpose” – Part 2
“Witnessing is not something we do, it is something we are.”
How does my life affect the lives of those I meet?
What type of influence does it appear David left in the life of Hiram, King of Tyre?
“Our task is to live our personal communion with Christ with such intensity as to make it contagious.”
“If Christ lives in us, controlling our personalities, we will leave glorious marks on the lives we touch. Not because of our lovely characters, but because of His.”
As we continue to look at what a purpose-filled life is all about, we find in 1 Kings 5: 1, what I consider to be a key element in a life that has fulfilled the purpose God intended. The life I’m talking about is David’s, Solomon’s father.
It can be easy to think that some of these Old Testament books, with their long lists of names and numbers, don’t rank high in what I call the “inspirational” factor. However, to come to this conclusion would be a sad mistake for in 1 Kings 5:1 there is a most touching description given about a friendship. And it is a reference about the friendship between King David of Israel and King Hiram of Tyre. To put this in modern terms, it would be as if a news report came out that said the leader of Israel and the leader of Lebanon were best friends -- this is how special and unusual this Biblical story is. And it is why I want to look more closely at our study text for today because in it we find the key to how we relate, in our own lives, to those who do not believe like we do or think the same way we do.
We find that in 1 Kings 5:1, when Hiram, King of Tyre heard that young Solomon had ascended to the throne of David his father, in what was a kind and generous outreach, he sent a group of servants to visit the new monarch, and most likely, as custom was, they came bearing gifts. This act in itself would not have been unusual back then nor today. Just think what happens in countries around the world when a new leader takes office. Within weeks, a long line of heads-of-state from around the world, begin to make their way to get better acquainted with the new leader. This is what we witness as Hiram sent his “servants” to Jerusalem for he heard that Solomon was “anointed king in the room of his father.”
But if we skim thoughtlessly past this fact, we miss completely what I believe to be the essence -- the fundamental point of the visit -- for we are told that, “Hiram always loved David,” or as the Hebrew translation tells us, David and Hiram had, “great affection for one another as two close friends.”
When we reflect on the political relationships Israel had with many surrounding nations at that time, we find that when David was king, the Bible states that during the spring, the kings went out to make war. There always seemed to be one group or another attacking Israel, often it was the Philistines with their big hero, Goliath, who in the end, finally brought about the demise of King Saul and his three sons, including Jonathon, David’s dearest friend in fierce battle.
While many of the nations around Israel showed a great deal of hostility toward God’s children, it must be recognized that David, during his rulership, tried to have a more harmonious relationship with some of these nations if they would agree. An example of David’s behavior is shown in II Samuel 10:1, 2 when the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun, “reigned in his stead.” Instead of acting haughty and like the “big king in town,” David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun, son of Nahash, as his father did to me. So David sent his servants to console him for his father’s death.” Unfortunately, the young King Hanun would have no part of David’s offer of friendship.
King Nahash of the Ammonites was not the only king in a foreign country who David extended a hand of friendship to. As we find in 1 Kings 5: 1, David’s friendship with King Hiram, provided a tremendous benefit to young Solomon, for as he began his reign on the throne of Israel, it was King Hiram of Tyre, which we will find out later in our studies, ruled the country that Jezebel’s father later ruled, who reached out to Solomon, and not with empty hands, either.
What a blessing it was, not only to Solomon, but to all the people of Israel, to have had David’s friendship be one that touched the lives of those around him in a way which brought glory to God and a spirit of camaraderie between the rulers of dissimilar nations.
It is with the passage of Scripture in 1 Kings 5: 1 as our background, that I asked myself this question: “Is this the same witness I radiate to those who differ in thought and action from my point-of-view?”
I must say I’m frequently appalled by some of the harsh language and unkind speech used to attack people who hold divergent opinions, even among people who call themselves Christians. I don’t have to be disagreeable to disagree. I can hold to my values and principles without verbally blasting people with demeaning names. And what’s more, if as a Christian, what I say does not match up with the life I live, somewhere along the line, my witness will not only be tarnished but destroyed.
I find the words of Paul Frost to be extremely valuable in helping us gain a better understanding of our role in being a “witnesses” who correctly reflect our Father in heaven. He notes, “witnessing is removing the various barriers of our self-love to allow Christ, living within us, to show Himself.” This is what makes our testimony something which will resonate with others. And it is exactly what we find King David did with King Hiram. His witness was such that a friendship developed, which I might add, included a knowledge of Israel’s God, the God of heaven and earth. When David’s son took over as the ruler of Israel, Hiram valued the relationship he had with David so much, he sent his own servants to find out what he could do to keep a continued harmony between the two nations.
What a vital element it is to have positive and embracing friendships in a purpose-filled life. Jesus called His children salt. And if salt is to be effective, it is mixed in well, not lumped together in clumps or held to itself. Instead salt is blended, and infused to make things taste better. This is what you and I should do in our relationships with each other, as divergent as our opinions may be. We can hold to truth without being testy. We can stand on a firm foundation without spreading falsehoods. We can be dedicated to living a Christ-like life without promoting divisive language that results in wounded hearts. I love the words I read the other day which said that the object of witnessing is not to win arguments but disciples.
This got me to thinking about the unmatched socks Jesus called as His twelve disciples. What a disparate group with diverging opinions and varied temperaments. Yet, because of the love of Jesus, which was the glue that held these disciples together, even the denial of one disciple and the betrayal of another, did not destroy their witness.
A purposeful life is a life of friendship. A life where Jesus calls His followers to “love your enemies and to do good to those who hate you.”
This was a lesson we find at work in the life of David as he forged a friendship with King Hiram which lasted long after his death and brought great blessings to his son and to all of Israel.
“What I live by, I impart.”
Augustine of Hippo
Harvest of Love
“Lord, Your harvest is the harvest of love;
love sown in the hearts of people;
love that spreads out like the branches
of a great tree covering all who seek its shelter;
love that inspires and recreates;
love that is planted in the weak and the weary,
the sick and the dying.
The harvest of Your love is the life that reaches
through the weeds of sin and death
to the sunlight of resurrection.
Lord, nurture my days with Your love,
water my soul with the dew of forgiveness,
that the harvest of my life
might be Your joy.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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