Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Solomon

Now I Know

I’ve Got a Problem

Tomorrow I’ll know more than I do today. Or at least, I hope so.

That’s the typical pattern, right? Who of us hasn’t been horribly embarrassed by reflecting on things we did and said five years ago? Yet, at that time, it seemed like the right thing to say or do.

Sometimes I’ve wondered: ‘If twenty-years-from-now me could speak with the me-of-right-now, what would I say to myself?’ I usually think that having this kind of input from my future self would be of value.

But, sadly, I’m not so quick to extend that grace to others.

Here’s what I mean: There are Christian brothers and sisters all around me who are 20 years ahead of me already; but do I listen to them? And when they speak, do I treat their words with as much reverence as I would the words from future-me?

The Problem Played Out

Recently I’ve been listening to an excellent new album by  James Hoffman. One song in particular resonated with me over the last day (it’s the song cued up below). In the song, Hoffman is singing about the experience of holding his newborn daughter. He’s reflecting on the truth of what his mother told him: ‘Now I know what my mother meant when she said I’d never understand — fully — till I held you.’


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Proverbs 18 and Your Tongue

Last night at GFC we read the Scriptures publicly (like we aim to do at all our meetings). We’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs one chapter at a time at our prayer meetings. This week we found ourselves in Proverbs 18.

When Stacey and I got home we spent some time looking at a few of these proverbs again. I was really challenged to think about the tongue again. The Scriptures pull no punches when making statements about how we speak, how it affects others, how it reflects our heart, and how we will be held accountable for our words.

Here’s a little collection of proverbs (just from Proverbs 18) on the tongue. Note both the negative and the positive results you can reap from simply speaking. I hope it helps you to carefully consider how to use your tongue today.

  • A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
  • The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
  • A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
  • A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
  • The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
  • If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
  • An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
  • The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
  • A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarrelling is like the bars of a castle.
  • From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
  • The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly.

Proverbs 11 on Money

The book of Proverbs is full of timely and ever-practical wisdom. Today as I was meditating on Proverbs 11, one thing that stuck out to me was the counsel of Solomon on money.

How timely this advice is for the fast-approaching Christmas season.

How are you spending your money? What types of things is your heart valuing / desiring / delighting in? 

Here is some eternal perspective warning against seeking earthly treasure and wealth.

Prov 11.4  — Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Prov 11.7 — When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

Prov 11.18 — The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.

And here is some counsel on how to go about investing your earthly treasures for true, spiritual good.

Prov 11.24-26 — One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

Prov 11.28 — Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

How will you spend this Christmas? How will you give this Christmas? Will you do so with a view to receiving in return, even if it’s just some warm fuzzies? Even the biggest hypocrites around can do that (Matt 5.46-47).

Or will you give to those who can’t give back? Will you give anonymously? Will you find those in need in your local church and seek to be a blessing to them–because you know it’s pleasing to God?

Here’s an encouraging thought to end with. Those who walk in blameless ways (like giving freely to those in need) are God’s ‘delight’ (Prov 11.20) As you seek to reflect Christ to the glory of God, ministering to the needs of those around you, you have this assurance: God himself takes delight in you.

What could be a more joyful thought than that?

I Love Scripture!

Yesterday I got to read through a portion of 1 Kings. My favourite part of what I read was Solomon’s building and dedication of the temple. After reading from Genesis all the way through to 1 Kings, it is a wonderful breath of fresh air!

I think sometimes we lose sight of just how momentous an occasion this really was. Finally… after slavery, the exodus, the 40 years of wandering, the failed conquest of the promised land, the pathetic time of the judges, the first king becoming a miserable failure, a lifetime of war and tumult under David… finally, peace! Finally, God’s people are able to construct a permanent fixture where God will be honoured and worshiped. It is the place where he has chosen to make his name dwell.

So Solomon has construction of the temple completed, he brings in the ark of the covenant, and offers his prayer of dedication. It’s a wonderful scene of celebration and worship of our God as innumerable sacrifices were offered. God is pleased to come down and dwell in his temple–so much so that the priests could not stand to minister in the Holy Place because the glory of YHWH filled the house.

The temple is the place where God dwells and where man can meet with him–the place where God and man dwell together. It is the place where God’s glory abides, where he reveals himself to his people.

Solomon’s prayer of dedication is then largely concerned with the request of God that whenever God’s people pray toward this temple–where God and his people can meet together, where God himself dwells–these prayers will be heard and answered. This is to be true, even when they have sinned, this will be the way they are to pray for reconciliation–pray toward the temple.

And so Solomon, the king, prays for his people. He intercedes for them before the Lord, pleading with God that their sins will be forgiven and that he will have mercy on them.

The glory of God had descended on this place, the Lord had met with his people and heard the prayers of Solomon–why? All of this is made possible–God’s people can approach God in his temple–because of the sacrifices they had made. They sacrificed before the ark as they brought it in, and once Solomon had prayed they offered more: 22,000 oxen, and 120,000 sheep as peace offerings to God.

But all of this was still imperfect, in some sense, because we see that where the holiness and the glory of God dwell, the priests still aren’t able to be. After a while, the priests are forced to leave the Holy Place where they ministered because of the presence of God.

Of course, what I love the most about all this is Jesus. Where was he? Where wasn’t he?! Jesus is the temple–the perfect meeting place of God and man. In him the fullness of deity dwells bodily. He said, ‘destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.’ But of course, he was not referring to the temple of stone, but the temple of his flesh–where God and man truly come together. And because he is the fulfillment of the temple, he’s also the reason our prayers are offered freely to God now, because we pray through Christ.

But Christ is more than the temple and the reason our prayers are heard. He’s also the true Solomonthe true Son of David who will inherit the eternal throne and promises of God. As the true Son of David and the true King, Jesus is the one true intercessor for his people! Now he offers prayers to God on our behalf!

And of course, Jesus is the true sacrifice which makes God’s meeting with his people possible at all. Jesus is the perfect ‘once for all’ sacrifice for the sins of God’s people, that every single one of his people would be perfectly covered and able, finally, to meet with God.

And lastly, it has all been made perfect now, through Christ, because we no longer have to worry about imperfect priests, unable to draw near in the earthly temple, because the earthly temple was only ever ‘copy’ and a ‘shadow’ anyway! Now, Christ, who is the true high priest, draws near to God in the perfect, heavenly temple on our behalf.

I could go on and on, but this is too long already. What an absolutely wonderful God! What a wonderful Saviour! What a wonderful book that ties all these things so beautifully together. No wonder Christ said he’s the fulfillment of the whole thing! He well deserves the name that is above all names.

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