Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 5:1–6:38, Mark 4:1–25, Prov 1:20–27
Today’s Theme: Listen carefully & intently
Today we read about not being complacent, walking in wisdom, making preparations, and the importance of the internal condition of our hearts. These all point to the main theme which is found in the parable of the soils.
We are called to listen intently to the teaching of Jesus, the bible and our leaders, humbly apply what we hear to our lives and walk in repentance. This is only possible because of God’s desire to reveal the truth to us, so that we will be fruitful.
If we are not careful about what we hear or do not listen intently to the good revealed to us, the same teaching will either be a snare (when it is false), or stand as judgement against us (when it is true).
1 Kings 5:1–6:38
Don’t become complacent
But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune.(1 Kings 5:4, ESV)
This is good and means the kingdom of God can be built, but as we see later in the story, it can cause complacency.
Good business relationships
As soon as Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people.”(1 Kings 5:7, ESV)
This is wonderful, there appears to be a genuine alliance and friendship here. Also, God gave wisdom to Solomon to deal with Hiram with respect and honour, which was reciprocated.
Wisdom leads to peace
And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.(1 Kings 5:12, ESV)
Ask God to give you the wisdom that leads to peace today, at home, school, work and church.
When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.(1 Kings 6:7, ESV)
This is significant and makes two points. Firstly, the building of God’s kingdom is not accomplished through the hard work of men, it is the work of God, so no flesh can glory.
Secondly, it speaks of the preparation that is needed before we go to build up the body of Christ. For example, if teaching, we should prepare the teaching and not try to work it out in the middle of the youth group, Sunday School or event.
Finish the job
So he built the house and finished it, and he made the ceiling of the house of beams and planks of cedar.(1 Kings 6:9, ESV)
When we set our hands to build something for God’s kingdom, we must finish it. Lord, help us to finish whatever we have begun in You.
A conditional promise
“Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father.(1 Kings 6:12, ESV)
This verse is conditional, God promises to establish His word, only under the condition that His statues are lived out. God is not just a force that can be fooled or manipulated, God’s promises are almost always predicated on right relationship and His own grace.
The importance of the internal
And Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, and he drew chains of gold across, in front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold.(1 Kings 6:21, ESV)
This is symbolic, that the internal is far more important and valuable than the external. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for getting this wrong, they made their bodies and clothes clean, but their hearts were still dirty.
Jesus teaches with parables
And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:(Mark 4:2, ESV)
Again Jesus is teaching, we do not know everything He taught but we do know He used parables and the parable of the sower and the seed was one of them.
Jesus, the sower of the seed
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.(Mark 4:3, ESV)
The sower of the seed is Jesus, even if it is through us, it is still Jesus.
The effect of parables
so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”(Mark 4:12, ESV)
This verse can seem strange but as a quote from the OT, it reveals the truth of a basic principle, the teaching and proclamation of truth can have either of two effects, it can lead to repentance (good soil) or cause a hardening of heart (bad soil).
God has chosen us, we are no longer those on the outside, so we need to listen intently to that which we are taught, so that we can apply it to our lives in humility and repentance.
God is active and necessary in the revelation of truth.
God later (in verses 21-23), speaks about His mission to reveal truth, which supersedes its concealment implied here, and shows us the ultimate purpose of the hardening of hearts. God’s ultimate pursue is to reveal, illuminate and save by the truth shone through the teaching of the parables.
However we cannot cower away from the truth that the same teaching which brings life, will stand as a judgement and condemnation to those who hear but do not listen and repent. The warning is clear.
Share the word
The sower sows the word.(Mark 4:14, ESV)
We, like Jesus, must sow the word of God by sharing it with others.
We have an enemy to combat
And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.(Mark 4:15, ESV)
We have a real enemy in Satan and his demons, when we share the word with someone.
The word must take root
And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.(Mark 4:17, ESV)
We must allow the word to take root in our lives or we will fall away. What does that mean for you today?
but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.(Mark 4:19, ESV)
The deceitfulness of materialism can choke out the word of God. Meditate on the word of God today, over and above the concerns of this life. Find a moment to be quiet today, to silence the chocking hold of materialism.
But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”(Mark 4:20, ESV)
This is what we must do with the word, intently hear it, accept it and as a result put it to work and bear fruit.
What are you paying attention to?
And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.(Mark 4:24, ESV)
We must be very careful what we give our attention to, we will grow in what we give ourselves to.
Don’t be simple
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?(Proverbs 1:22, ESV)
We should not love being simple, in some false sense of piety, we should seek to be wise in God’s word and in walking with God.
God did not call us to be anti intellectual, we should love knowledge.
Repentance and revelation
If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.(Proverbs 1:23, ESV)
If we listen to God’s call and repent, He will make His word known to us.
Don’t reject wisdom
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you,(Proverbs 1:26, ESV)
If we reject the wisdom that God offers in Jesus, we will remain under the wrath of God.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Mark 4