One of Solomon’s first actions on the throne is to travel to Gibeon to make sacrifices and burnt offerings to God. This is one of the most sacred acts of faithfulness, laid out by the early law codes of the Israelites. The concept of the early Israelite temple is built around the concept of offering sacrifices to God as an expression of gratitude, worship, and repentance.
What’s more, Solomon travels to Gibeon to offer these sacrifices. The history of Gibeon is a tumultuous one. In the book of Joshua, the Israelites take over other territories in order to grow their kingdom. The people of Gibeon hear about this and fear they will meet the same violent fate as the other societies the Israelites have defeated. So instead of enduring battle, they trick Joshua and his people. The Gibeonites dress in rags and go to the Israelites claiming to be poor foreigners and asking to enter into a covenant with the Israelites so they will be protected. Joshua obliges but later discovers their deception. However, because he has already entered into a covenant with Gibeon, he does not kill them or take their land. Later, he goes to battle on behalf of the Gibeonites, further honoring their covenant.
The story of Gibeon is one of layers of faithfulness: the Israelites’ faithfulness to God, God’s faithfulness to the Israelites, and the Israelites’ faithfulness to the Gibeonites. Therefore, it is symbolic that Gibeon is the location of Solomon’s sacrifices to God. Solomon longs to be a faithful king like David, worthy of leading God’s people. So his journey to Gibeon and sacrifices to God display his ability and his desire to be a faithful king.
Victory-bringer, you are the covenant-keeper of Joshua. You are the protector of Gibeon. You are the giver to Solomon. Lead us through conflict. Repair our disagreement. Soothe our apprehension so that we may be faithful in dispelling violence, fear, and pain in the world. Amen.
If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? God offered this chance to Solomon, and the king asked for wisdom to rule God’s people well. God honored this request by giving Solomon many other gifts too, as long as the king followed God’s ways. (Later on, unfortunately, Solomon lost his way.) The psalmist tells us that wisdom begins with understanding who we are and who God is. Ephesians addresses practical implications of wise living: follow the will of the Lord, be filled with the Spirit, encourage one another, and be grateful to God. The Gospel passage continues Jesus’ metaphorical description of himself as the Bread of Heaven. Here Jesus anticipates the sacrament of Communion, in which we partake of his body and blood by faith.
Read 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14. Do you hesitate to ask God to show you your call? Why?
Read Psalm 111. Where have you seen God’s faithful and just actions in your life? In the world?
Read Ephesians 5:15-20. How do you live wisely and make the most of the time?
Read John 6:51-58. What is the significance of Holy Communion in your life of faith? How has your understanding of this sacrament changed over time?
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