Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 3.3-4
3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. 4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
From John: Many have wondered over this long period of pandemic if our worship of God would suffer from fewer physical gatherings. As we look back at this post from 2019, we remember and reassure ourselves that God is a seeking God—seeking those who worship in spirit and in truth. Whether our buildings have been open physically is less important than whether our hearts have been open spiritually. Wherever we truly seek him, there we will be found by him. May he continue to give us wisdom.
Reflection: Seeking After a Seeking God
By John Tillman
People in scripture often worshiped God wherever they happened to be and God accepted them. But the “high places” in Israel were different. They were pagan sites of worship before the Israelites conquered the land.
Israel drove out most idol worship but some still survived. Joshua warned the people of “traps and snares” saying that these practices would be “whips for your backs and thorns for your eyes.” Worship at “high places” was expressly forbidden by God, because God knew that the old, cultic practices would return to pollute and subvert true worship.
However, people in Solomon’s day still worshiped at these places. The worship of God in Israel at this time was scattered. This was partly for convenience. People could worship near their homes rather than traveling to Jerusalem. But it also had to do with tradition and an emotional and cultural connection to these locations.
David had taken the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and set up a tent for it there in anticipation of the Temple being built. But the tent of meeting constructed by Moses was still at Gibeon. Possibly what made Gibeon the “most important” high place was the emotional, traditional, and historical connection to Moses. This empty tent, filled only with nostalgia, remained in use as a place of worship and is where God spoke to Solomon.
James tells us that God grants wisdom to all, without finding fault, and that includes young king Solomon who asked for wisdom even while unwisely worshiping God at a questionable place. God will do the same for us.
God, throughout the scriptures, is a God who seeks. God, of course, desires us to seek him “while he may be found” and to seek him in his Temple. We should care deeply about worshiping in ways that are proper and biblical. But because God is a seeking God, he is always ready to meet us where we are.
He will meet us in hiding in the wilderness, as he met with David.
He will meet us wrapped in nostalgia, as he met with Solomon.
He will meet with us singing new songs, as he met with Asaph.
He will meet with us in a corrupted Temple, as he met with Isaiah.
He will meet with us in a corrupted land, as he met with the woman at the well in Sychar.
Wherever and however we draw near to God, he will draw near to us.
Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.” — John 14.8-11
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
1 Kings 3 (Listen – 4:29)
Ephesians 1 (Listen – 3:10)
This Weekend’s Readings
1 Kings 4-5 (Listen – 7:21), Ephesians 2 (Listen – 3:04)
1 Kings 6 (Listen – 5:10), Ephesians 3 (Listen – 2:41)
Read more about Take Up Your Mat
Jesus sought us out when we were paralyzed and deformed by sin…He still seeks us out. To warn us, to call us to continued repentance, to transform our lives.
Read more about Hope on a Limb
We can be assured as we stand on Zacchaeus’s hope-filled Sycamore limb, that the King of Glory we hope for will not pass us by.