Psalm 131; 1 Kings 14:21-15:8; John 17:20-26

Psalm 131: This short little psalm is as personal and as affecting as Psalm 23. A simple acknowledgement of who the psalmist is before God, it is a wonderful meditation to begin the day.

There is humility: “my heart has not been haughty, nor have my eyes looked too high,” (1a) and there is acknowledgement that he is seeking neither great things or personal glory: “nor have I striven for great things, nor for things too wondrous for me.” (1b)

Perhaps most significantly for the age of anxiety in which we live today, there is a happy acceptance of who he is and serene contentment with where he finds himself, metaphorically in the arms of God as if he were a baby: “But I have calmed and contented myself like a weaned babe on its mother.” (2) And behind this serenity lie faith and patience: “Wait, O Israel, for the LORD, now and forevermore.” (3).

The lesson for me is crystalline: be aware of who I am, accept that reality, and be content in the Lord. This is sufficient.

1 Kings 14:21-15:8: Meanwhile in the southern kingdom, Judah, Solomon’s son reigns fairly disastrously for 17 years. He is the son of Naamah the Ammonite and doubtless influenced by his mother, all of Judah “built for themselves high places, pillars, and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were also male temple prostitutes in the land.” (23, 24). Here’s an example of failed leadership, for what the king did, the people followed: “Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their ancestors had done.” (22)

And they paid for their apostasy when “King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything.” And internecine war, as well as Rehoboam and Jeroboam fought constantly.

Rehoboam dies and his son Abijam takes over and reigns just as disastrously. Yet, God continues to be patient because “Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” Too often we accuse God of acting impetuously and punishing the wrongdoers in Israel. yet, as our author notes, God was patient because Rehoboam and Abijam were Davids grandson and great grandson. But the could only squander God’s mercy.

These three kings described in this passage are a stark reminder of failure at the top to respect God and to lead humbly. And one that seems all too germane in today’s crumbling culture.

John 17:20-26: As Jesus moves to the end of the High Priestly Prayer, it is impossible to miss the fact that there is Someone as important as Jesus in John’s gospel: the Father, and that Jesus is bringing the full weight and glory of the Father Himself to the world.

Up to now, in the OT, God has operated through individuals: Abraham, Moses, David, some prophets. But now, Jesus is explaining the revised terms of the New Covenant: God is coming to all of us through Jesus Christ: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,” (22). This is happening for a single reason, one which John has already stated back in Chapter 3: God loves the world: “I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (23)

All of this; the reason the Word came from God; everything that Jesus has said and done–and is about to do–is for one single, simple reason: love. A love we have not experienced so directly until Jesus shows up. It is why Jesus shows up. And to make sure we get the point, John writes the word again and again: “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus Christ is the connecting tissue of God’s love for us; he is the sinews of our faith.


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