<![CDATA[Building Godly character by studying the "characters" of God. - Home]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 14:02:20 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Solomon Builds the Temple]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/solomon-builds-the-templeTopics: Godly Heart, God’s Plan
1 Kings 6, 7:13-51

In the fourth year of Solomon’s reign he began building the temple.  The exterior and main walls were made of stone.  However all of the stone had to be cut at the quarry.  They did not allow use of iron tools at the temple site because it was considered disrespectful to God.  So they would cut the stones to fit, then transport them to the site and assemble them.  This was more work, but this was God’s temple!  It must be respected!!

The interior was then lined with carved wood and most of that was covered in gold!  Solomon brought in a special craftsman to make all of the things made from bronze, mostly things that went outside for the burnt offering area and washing area.  Verse 7:47 says that so much bronze was used they didn’t even try to weight it!!  They spent 7 years building the beautiful temple.  But what was it for?  Verse 6:11-14 tell us.  God says that if His children will follow His rules, He will live among them.  They were building a home for God.  A place they could go worship Him and show Him how much they loved Him.

Solomon ends up building a beautiful temple and it stood for many years.  But did God’s people keep their end of the deal?  Did they follow God’s rules?  Unfortunately as we continue our study of 1&2 Kings we will find that they didn’t keep their end of the agreement.  Eventually the beautiful temple would be destroyed.  But does that mean that God stopped dwelling with men?  No!!  God had a good plan that we find out about in the New Testament, so that now He dwells right in our hearts instead of in a building!  You can have God right in your heart because of Jesus.  Isn’t that great?

Activity:
Pick a description in chapter 6 or 7 and draw what you think that part of the temple looked like.  Talk about why we build beautiful buildings for God.  And also talk about which is more important to God, a beautiful building or a beautiful heart?
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<![CDATA[Solomon Organizes His People]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 17:30:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/solomon-organizes-his-peopleTopic: Responsibility
1 Kings 4&5

As Solomon began to reign, he organized his government.  He put specific people in charge of specific things.  He set up 12 territorial governors.  Each governor was responsible for providing the king’s household with food one month of the year.  This way no one region bore the burden unfairly.  There was peace and prosperity in the land.

Hiram, King of Tyre, sent messengers to Solomon.  He had been a friend to King David and Solomon wisely continued this friendship.  The people that Hiram ruled were known to be skilled woodworkers and Solomon made a treaty with Hiram to trade food for timber.  Solomon needed a lot of timber because he was preparing to build the temple that his father, David, had dreamed of building.

Solomon also raised up a workforce to go to Lebanon (part of Hiram’s kingdom) to help with the work.  30,000 men were hired but they went in 10,000 men crews.  They would go to Lebanon for one month but then go home to their families for 2 months.  This way they had enough workers, but the workers were also happy.  Wasn’t Solomon smart?  A man named Adoniram was in charge of these men.

Solomon also had thousands of people quarrying stone for the temple and selected people to be in charge of the quarrying and transport.  Have you notice a pattern?  Solomon figured out what needed to be done, then he organized it and put someone in charge.  Solomon had many things to oversee, but knew he needed to delegate tasks.  Solomon broke up the responsibilities so that no one person was overwhelmed.  By sharing the burden the work gets done but no one person gets worn out in the process.  If everyone does their share we can all have what we need and have time for fun!

Activity:
Try an experiment that works great at our house.  Do the 15 minute straighten up challenge.  Set a timer and have everyone start straightening the house.  Have a designated spot for things that each person has to deal with (possibly their chair at the table or their bed).  The rule is that if you know where it goes, put it there; otherwise put it in the spot for who it belongs to.  As you work through the house, each person periodically works on the stuff in their spot, then goes back to general cleaning.  When the timer goes off, everyone stops and you do something fun.  The house may not be perfect, but it is better.  Everyone helped and everyone gets the benefits.  At our house, with everyone really trying we usually run out of things to put away before the timer goes off!   After a few times of doing this, most kids see how easy it is (and effective) and don’t complain when asked to do it.]]>
<![CDATA[Solomon’s Wise Decision]]>Sun, 01 Oct 2017 16:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/solomons-wise-decisionTopic: Wisdom
1 Kings 3:16-28

In our last lesson, Solomon asked for the ability to make wise decisions.  So in this passage we get to see one of the many wise decisions he made.

Two women came to King Solomon with a problem.  They both lived in the same house and had recently had a baby.  Unfortunately one of the babies died.  Now both women said the living baby belonged to them.  Obviously one of them was lying.  How to decide which was telling the truth?

Solomon’s way was this: he told his guards to bring a sword and cut the baby in 2 and give each woman half.  Now one woman said “fine, that worked for her,” but the other said “no, give the baby to the other woman.”  So who is the real mother?  Solomon said to give the baby to the woman who said to give it to the other woman. The real mother would rather the baby live without her than die.  The other woman didn’t love the baby, so it wasn’t really hers.  Solomon wisely gave the baby to the woman who wanted it to live at all costs; its real mother.

Solomon showed just how wise he was in the clever way he solved this difficult problem.  Many of his wise sayings are collected in the book of Proverbs to help us behave wisely too.

Activity:
Read some of Solomon’s wise sayings in Proverbs 10.  Choose one to memorize so you can become wise like Solomon too!
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<![CDATA[Solomon’s Request]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/solomons-requestTopic: Godly Heart
1 Kings 3:3-15

Before the temple was built in Jerusalem, the tabernacle that traveled with Moses in the wilderness and the great bronze altar were kept in Gibeon.  Solomon traveled there to offer sacrifices to show his love for the Lord. He actually offered 1000 sacrifices!!  That night, God appeared to him in a dream and asked what he could give Solomon.  Because he was a humble man, Solomon realized that God had already honored him by making him king of the people of Israel.  Solomon asked the Lord to give him the wisdom to lead well and fairly.  God was very pleased by Solomon’s request (and his heart as well)!  God told him that not only would Solomon be the wisest man to ever live, he would also receive the wealth and power he had not requested.  God promised that if Solomon walked in God’s ways, he would live to an old age.  God loves it when our heart is in the right place.  When we, like Solomon, desire godly things, God blesses us with other things as well.

So how did Solomon respond?  With thanksgiving!  He made more sacrifices in Jerusalem, (where the ark was) and held a feast for his servants.  Solomon shows us that when our hearts are following God we are blessed.  But remember, we must truly want godly things, not ask for godly things so we get the other stuff we really want.  God knows the difference!! So how do we get a godly heart? Ask!!  God will help you desire His will.  Wanting to have a godly heart is the first step to getting one!

Discussion Starter:
Do you want God’s will or your own?  Which will be better in the end?  If you need to change your heart’s desires, pray about it!
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<![CDATA[Solomon Removes the Disloyal]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 16:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/solomon-removes-the-disloyalTopics: Consequences, Discipline
1 Kings 2:26-46

Abiathar, the priest, and Joab, the army commander, had sided with Adonijah when he tried to take over.  Because of this, Solomon felt they could not be trusted.  Since Abiathar had been a priest and served the Lord, Solomon only removed him from the priesthood and exiled him.  Solomon placed Zadok, who had remained loyal, in place of Abiathar.  Joab, on the other hand, had not only been disloyal by going with Adonijah, he had also killed 2 men that did not deserve to die, Abner and Jether.  Because of his past actions, Solomon had Joab executed.  Even though Joab had often been a loyal friend to David, he had also gone off on his own and committed grave sins.  Solomon decide he needed to be punished for these actions.
In addition to Abiathar and Joab, Solomon decided Shimei’s actions should be addressed as well.  You may remember that he was mean to David but then repented and was forgiven.  Solomon questioned how sincere Shimei’s repentance was, so he told him to build a house in Jerusalem and not leave the area.  Solomon warned that the day he left he would die.  Shimei stayed put for 3 years, but then he went out to bring back runaway servants.  On the surface that may seem like a reasonable reason to leave. But if we think about it, leaving when he had been told not to leave was an act of disrespecting King Solomon.  When we knowingly do something that someone in authority told us not to do we are showing disrespect.  Solomon immediately had Shimei executed. 

Solomon’s actions may seem cruel, however he was showing everyone around him that he would not tolerate disloyalty or disrespect.  Solomon wanted everyone to understand that there are consequences of our actions.  Solomon wanted to be a good king and that meant disciplining when necessary.

Activity:
In Solomon’s day execution was the punishment for disloyalty to the king.  Make a list of things a kid might do wrong and then what you think the punishment should be (not cleaning room, not doing homework, not doing chores, etc.).  Discuss your list with your parents to see if they agree or not and why.
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<![CDATA[Adonijah]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 22:20:18 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/adonijahTopics: Consequences, Punishment
1 Kings 2:13-25

Remember in chapter 1 that Solomon promised Adonijah could live if he behaved?  Well, after David’s death, Adonijah asked if he could have one of King David’s concubines as a wife.  Now rather than going to Solomon and asking himself, he asks Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to ask for him.  Bathsheba doesn’t see this as a bad request so she goes and asks Solomon on Adonijah’s behalf.  Knowing Adonijah’s true intent, Solomon becomes angry.  Concubines of one king are the property of the next.  If Solomon lets Adonijah have her as his wife then Adonijah will have “property” that gives him a rightful claim to the throne.  Adonijah is scheming to find a way to take over!!  Solomon immediately takes action and has him executed.  Adonijah had been warned that he must prove himself.  Solomon will not tolerate rebellion.  His reaction may seem harsh, but Adonijah knew what he was doing and Solomon had to show that he will not allow misbehavior. 

Discussion Starter:
Solomon’s punishment was harsh, but Adonijah knew what he was doing and had been warned.  Does that make a difference?  Should the punishment be harsher when the person knows what they are doing is wrong and they do it anyway?
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<![CDATA[David’s Final Instructions to Solomon]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/davids-final-instructions-to-solomon​Topics: Obedience, Consequences
1 Kings 2:1-12

As King David’s time on Earth came to an end he called his son, Solomon, to him to receive advice.  King David instructed Solomon to be sure to deal with the people who had been treacherous to David and asked him to care for those who have been good to him.  However his most important advice was that Solomon walk in God’s ways.  Solomon was reminded that he would prosper if he follows God.  David also reminded Solomon of the special promise made to their family that as long as they followed God they would be Kings of Israel.  God promises to take care of us, but we have a responsibility too.  We have to be obedient to God’s commands.  When we go our own way there are consequences we must endure!

After David had given his advice he died.  They buried him in Jerusalem.  He had reigned 40 years. Seven as King of Judah and thirty-three as King of all Israel.  Solomon then firmly established his kingdom.

Activity:
Make a list of 5 things you would tell someone who wanted your best advice.  Was David’s advice good for all of us?]]>
<![CDATA[Adonijah Repents]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 17:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/adonijah-repentsTopic: Forgiveness
1 Kings 1:41-53

Now you may recall that while Solomon was being anointed King, Adonijah was having a party of his own in En Rogel.  During the party, Joab hears the horn blowing and asks why the city is in an uproar.  Soon Jonathan, the son of Abiathar, comes and tells them that David has made Solomon king and all the people are rejoicing.  Well, how do you think Adonijah’s guests feel at this announcement?  They are afraid!!  They have been supporting the wrong guy!!  So they all quickly got up and left, but Adonijah goes to the tabernacle and grabs hold of the horns of the altar.  This was kind of like being on base in tag.  No one could harm you while you held onto the altar.  This gave people a chance to get others to listen to them while they pled their case.  Adonijah sends word to Solomon to please spare his life.

Solomon responds that if Adonijah proves himself worthy no one will hurt him, but if he misbehaves he will die.  Solomon was basically giving Adonijah a chance to accept his leadership and do the right thing.  However Solomon makes it clear that he will not tolerate misbehavior.  Adonijah leaves the altar and comes to bow before King Solomon.  Solomon tells him that he can go home, for now.

Both Adonijah and Solomon appear to be behaving in a godly manner.  Adonijah asks forgiveness for basically trying to steal Solomon’s throne and Solomon agrees to forgive.  We will have to see if their behavior continues so.

Discussion Starter:
Would you have let Adonijah go?  Why or why not?  Should we give people second chances? Does God give us second chances?
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<![CDATA[David Chooses a Successor]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 17:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/david-chooses-a-successor​Topic: Communication
1 Kings 1:1-40

As we begin a new book, we are coming to the end of an old king.  1 Kings tells us that David had become old and couldn’t even keep himself warm.  He is approaching death but he has not made a public proclamation about who will be king after him.  Adonijah was Absalom’s younger brother and he begins to assume he will be king.  He started traveling with a procession.  He began conferring with leaders to get their support.  Specifically, Joab, the commander of the army and Abiathar, a priest, support Adonijah.  However, Zadok, a priest, the prophet Nathan and Benaiah, the captain of the royal guard, know this is not what David wants.

When Adonijah invites his supporters to En Rogel for a party and sacrifice, Nathan decides to take action since this is basically a first step of Adonijah declaring himself king.  Along with Bathsheba, Nathan devises a plan to confront David about the situation.  Bathsheba goes and tells David what is going on and while she is still there Nathan comes and confirms it.  Nathan and Bathsheba both know that David intends for Solomon to be king, because he is the Lord’s choice.

Taking immediate action, King David calls Zadok, Nathan ad Benaiah together.  He orders them to take Solomon and anoint him with oil and proclaim him king.  Then to return to the palace and seat Solomon on David’s throne.  The leaders, along with the king’s personal guard, place Solomon on the king’s donkey and take him to the tabernacle.  Zadok anoints Solomon and then they blow the official horn of the tabernacle.   All the people gather and begin to say “Long live King Solomon.”  The people then follow Solomon back to the palace in a giant parade filled with music and singing.  Solomon is the new king!!

King David had not shared with everyone his plan for the kingdom.   Because of this people made assumptions about what was going to happen.  We need to be clear about things with the people around us.  When we don’t talk about what we want or how we feel, others have to guess.  And unfortunately they usually guess wrong!!  Clear communication makes everything easier and prevents a lot of problems!

Activity:
Play ‘I Spy.’ After a few rounds talk about how much easier it would be to figure out the item with more description than just a color.  Guessing is fun in a game, but can cause confusion in real life!]]>
<![CDATA[David’s Census]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 17:00:00 GMThttp://charactersoffaithdevotions.com/home/davids-censusTopics: Consequences, Sacrifice, Value
2 Samuel 24

2 Samuel concludes with a story of King David making a bad decision and what he did about it.  King David decides to take a census or count all his people.  Now that probably doesn’t sound like a big deal; here in America we take one every 10 years.  However in the nation of Israel there was a right way to do it.  2 Samuel isn’t really clear about why David taking the census was wrong.  We don’t know if he did it the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.  What we do know is that before they did it, Joab asked why he would want to do a census, making me think Joab knew that David was doing something wrong.  But why would it be wrong to count your people?  Just counting them wasn’t a problem.  The problem comes when we start relying on the number of our people (or anything else) instead of God.  God wanted David to rely on Him for his provision and security, not on how big his army was!  But David counted his men any way. 

However, as soon as the census was over, David knew he had done wrong.  (Have you ever done that? Knew just as soon as you did something it was wrong?)  He told God he had sinned and asked God to forgive him.  The next day, Gad, a prophet, comes and tells David that God will give him a choice of punishment.  They can have 3 years of famine, 3 months of running from their enemies or 3 days of plague.  David answered that the Lord could choose since He was merciful, but to not let him fall into the hands of his enemies.  So God sent the plague.

The plague swept through Israel and killed 70,000 men.  There was an angel administering the plague and God told it to stop at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  King David went to Araunah and asked to buy his threshing floor to build an altar.  Araunah offered to give it to the king but David said he would not offer anything to the Lord that did not cost him something.  Buying the floor from Araunah, David then built the altar and offered a sacrifice to the Lord for ending the plague.

King David made a choice to sin by conducting a census.  Later, he realized his mistake but a price had to be paid.  Then when the punishment was over he made a sacrifice to the Lord.  Our sins can always be forgiven but that doesn’t mean there will not be consequences.  We must be ready to deal with the results of our actions.

Discussion Starter:
Why do you think King David insisted on paying for the sacrifice?  Which means more, something you are given or something you work for?  Which is a more special gift, something someone just has lying around or something they work for?  What does God value more, a gift out of your abundance or a gift that is sacrificial?  Remember God knows how much things mean to you and He honors when you sacrifice for Him!
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