August 17, 2018

Be Wise About What Is Good

August 17, 2018


Psalm 111
1 Kings 1:28-48
Romans 16:17-20
This weekend’s reading: Genesis 3:1-13


David decides to abdicate and place Solomon on the throne, giving thanks to God that he can see this son reign in his place. In the US we have little use for a monarchy, but still, we are fascinated by questions such as whether Queen Elizabeth at 92 should abdicate. A recent Tony-winning play, Charles III, deals with the thorny issue of succession and is staged like a Shakespearean tragedy. Today as in Shakespeare’s day the subject of gaining and losing power grips audiences, historically and on the nightly news. We have witnessed the power game, even in a democracy, lead to painful divisions. David’s actions have the approval of the priest and the prophet, and Solomon gains a reputation for his wisdom, but even with a promising start, Solomon falters and leaves a divided kingdom.
In Romans 16, Paul warns against the misuse of power and the “smooth talkers” who cause division. The church at Rome was known for its obedience to God’s word, and Paul cautions against being misled by the flattery of people who are guided by self-interest, not the teachings of Christ. We continue today to be beset by talk of division and goals that diverge from Jesus’ example of power through self-giving love. Earlier Paul reminded the Roman church of the power of God’s kingdom handed down to us through Christ: “. . . that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:16-17).


  • How does the Bible describe God’s kingdom?
  • What has helped you the most in understanding and interpreting the Bible? (example: classes, study groups, preaching, commentaries, etc.) What more can our church offer to help us understand the whole message of the Bible?


  • Why do children like to play Prince and Princess, even when our own country is not a monarchy?
  • Why is it fun to be “king of the hill” or get “kinged” in checkers?
  • When we are not playing “pretend,” what are things we can do to feel confident? Is it possible to feel good about yourself and still be considerate of others? What does Jesus teach us about this?


Sovereign God, you have made us your heirs, the inheritors of your kingdom through our brother Jesus Christ. You call us your daughters and sons; teach us to be worthy of your name. Make us ready to meet the King. In thanksgiving we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.