Season Finale

8/22/2021

Message Title: Season Finale
Theme:
Reruns & Glory Days
Season:  Ordinary Time
Main Text:
1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
RCL Scripture: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 or 1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43 Psalm 84 or Psalm 34:15-22 Ephesians 6:10-20 John 6:56-69
Focus: Solomon builds the temple
Function: To become a listening people who walk with intention, guided by God’s spirit.
Other Notes:
— wrap up the series– Reruns & Glory Days

SCRIPTURE READING: Ephesians 6:10-20 10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. 11 Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. 12 We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. 13 Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. 14 So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, 15 and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. 16 Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers. 19 As for me, pray that when I open my mouth, I’ll get a message that confidently makes this secret plan[b] of the gospel known. 20 I’m an ambassador in chains for the sake of the gospel. Pray so that the Lord will give me the confidence to say what I have to say.

RERUNS:

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT:
    1. What season finale was the hardest to watch?
    2. And what TV show had the best wrap up?
    3. Anyone else still mad about the final season of Game of Thrones?
  2. Season Finale: Not every tv show ends in a way that honors the characters or the fans. One of the biggest disappointments was the final season of Game of Thrones. No, the pastor is not endorsing Game of Thrones as a safe and wholesome show just because she mentioned it. But definitely don’t watch the final season—the story is rushed and full of plot holes.
    1. Some shows end still leaving you with a little hope. West Wing ended as another president’s term begins. The transition of power enables a narrative conclusion while still leaving the story open ended.
    2. And then there are shows that needed to stop A LONG TIME AGO. They drug the show out too long and ruined everything that was built.

TRANSITION: Our text for today is our season finale but know that the story lives on. We’re in chapter 8 of 1 Kings but hundreds of years of history are still to come after our passage today. What can we learn from this season finale?

MAIN TEXT: 1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43

1Then Solomon assembled Israel’s elders, all the tribal leaders, and the chiefs of Israel’s clans at Jerusalem to bring up the chest containing the Lord’s covenant from David’s City Zion.

6The priests brought the chest containing the Lord’s covenant to its designated spot beneath the wings of the winged creatures in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the most holy place.

10-1110When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the Lord’s temple, 11and the priests were unable to carry out their duties due to the cloud because the Lord’s glory filled the Lord’s temple.

22-30 22Solomon stood before the Lord’s altar in front of the entire Israelite assembly and, spreading out his hands toward the sky, 23he said: Lord God of Israel, there’s no god like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep the covenant and show loyalty to your servants who walk before you with all their heart. 24This is the covenant you kept with your servant David, my father, which you promised him. Today, you have fulfilled what you promised. 25So now, Lord, Israel’s God, keep what you promised my father David, your servant, when you said to him, “You will never fail to have a successor sitting on Israel’s throne as long as your descendants carefully walk before me just as you walked before me.” 26So now, God of Israel, may your promise to your servant David, my father, come true. 27But how could God possibly live on earth? If heaven, even the highest heaven, can’t contain you, how can this temple that I’ve built contain you? 28Lord my God, listen to your servant’s prayer and request, and hear the cry and prayer that your servant prays to you today. 29Constantly watch over this temple, the place about which you said, “My name will be there,” and listen to the prayer that your servant is praying towardthis place. 30Listen to the request of your servant and your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive!

41-43 41Listen also to the immigrant who isn’t from your people Israel but who comes from a distant country because of your reputation—42because they will hear of your great reputation, your great power, and your outstretched arm. When the immigrant comes and prays toward this temple, 43then listen from heaven, where you live, and do everything the immigrant asks. Do this so that all the people of the earth may know your reputation and revere you, as your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I have built bears your name.

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Israel’s history:
    1. David dies and Solomon builds the temple and dedicates it to the Lord.
  1. Diagram/Photo of Solomon’s temple 
  2. Not the same as the temple from Jesus’ time (we’ll get to that…)
    1. God makes a promise to be with Solomon and the people as long as they are faithful. God promises that Solomon’s descendants will be on the throne as long as Solomon is faithful.
  3. HOPE IS LINGERING IN THE AIR RIGHT NOW… The possibilities are endless. If only we could rewrite a more joyful and faithful story.

INTERPRETATION:

  1. This is only the beginning of Solomon’s rule yet we are at the end of our series. Much like how a season finale indicates the carrying on of stories in new chapters, the story of Israel continues on from this point.
  2. The story continues on from this passage but Israel’s story will only break your heart from this point forward:
  1. Solomon married many women in order to form allegiances with other nations and his loyalty to Yahweh waivers.
  2. After Solomon the kingdom of the United 12 tribes of Israel finally breaks apart. 
  3. There has been tension and division within the 12 tribes since the time of the judges and now the division becomes permanent. 
  4. Israel continues the cycle of unfaithfulness and oppression and crying out for help that they once did during the time of the judges. But this time the consequences are more intense.
  5. After Solomon, after the split, after a strain of unfaithful unloyal and unrighteous kings,and after prophets rise up calling Israel to return to God– the 12 tribes of Israel are conquered by other nations and are sent into exile. 
    1. First the Northern 10 tribes
    2. Then the southern 2 tribes
    3. 10 of the 12 tribes will never return to Israel again. 
  6. The story of Israel is the story of humanity. There is a fascinating divide in Christians and how they feel about Jews in general and the nation of Israel specifically. Some will think that Jews are villains because Jewish people were part of the process that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. However, Jews didn’t crucify Jesus, humans did.
    1. On the other side Christians sometimes blindly speak about the tensions in the Middle East and defend the rights of the nation of Israel over other humans in that same land. But current day political tensions are not as black and white as a support of Israel and a demonizing of Palestinians or Muslims. 
    2. We may look at this world and think that solutions are black and white because the ink on the page is black and white. But the deeper we get into our faith with God the more gray areas exist. 
    3. Our God did not create the Great commission or the ten commandments or the commission in the garden so that people would live by rules. The goal wasn’t to fence ourselves in, the goal was to have a skeleton or a framework to build from.
    4. Our God gave us a brain and a heart to help us. And then we were given the spirit of God. These three things together are to illuminate the laws of scripture so that we can fulfill the commissions we received.

APPLICATION:

  1. If you read all of 1 Kings 8, you will hear Solomon’s dedication of the Temple and prayer to God for the people and for his reign. Solomon has the best of intentions and the best of requests & his reign starts out strong. However, he doesn’t listen to the instructions of God. God is faithful. It is humans who waver.
  2. I believe a pathway to healing is the pathway of listening.
    1. Spiritual listening workshop this weekend! – approach specific people
      1. This week we have the opportunity to learn about bridging the divide. This Friday and Saturday, we’re hosting a workshop to reteach ourselves how to talk to someone who is different than us.
      2. Our presence in this world could be a light that draws people towards Yahweh. Currently, we are known as operating more like a bug light: a light that leads to destruction. Words of judgment and division and condemnation are more prevalent now than words of compassion and understanding and healing.
  3. Currently, people are filled with fear for a variety of reasons:
  1. Some are afraid that vaccine & mask regulations will take away their rights.
  2. Some are afraid that a lack of vaccine & mask regulations will lead to unnecessary death or illness.
  3. Some are afraid for the death of society because of shut downs.
  4. Some are afraid for the death of the church because of a decline in attendance.
  5. And then, some are afraid because of things not connected to COVID:
    1. EXAMPLE: Walmart will not be doing layaway and Facebook is filled with fear about Christmas within the poor community.
  6. I am afraid of the twisting of the gospel, the word of God, for our own benefits. We hunt scripture to defend our own beliefs or worldview and close our ears to the words of our neighbors who disagree.

CONCLUSION: In Bible study, we saw irony this last week. Israel was originally formed to be a beacon of hope to the surrounding nations to point towards Yahweh. However, Israel regularly wandered away from Yahweh towards the gods of other nations. They followed the beacon of other gods rather than being the beacon for other people.

The story of Israel is the story of humans. God is calling for us to return to the commission into the instructions of scripture. God is calling us to be faithful to the essence of the law and not simply the letter of the law.

SERIES CONCLUSION: Over the summer, we have looked into Israel’s “Reruns & The Good Ole Days.” We read the stories that are referenced with reverence and glory in the New Testament and hopefully see a fuller picture. As we look back on our own “Good Ole Days,” we can take off the rose-colored glasses and learn from the past. As we revisit the “Reruns” of our favorite shows, we can review the stories with a new perspective.

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