The foretelling of Jesus to Mary is my favorite portion of the advent accounts. Mary, a young Jewish girl who has by all understandings live as she was suppose to. Has her world completely rocked by a visitation by the angel of the Lord. This rule abiding "good" girl is going to be with child. Not just any child the long awaited Christ child. She must have known her life would never be the same again. Her trip through the village would come with shame and ridicule from all who would see her. Not to mention what Joseph would think. All of this must have been swimming in her head as she listened to the angel of the Lord. Yet in the end, Mary offers herself to God for the purposes of God regardless of what might happen to her from an earthly stand point. She places her full trust and livelihood in the hands of God.
This small yet power packed section of Ephesians is a to the point reminder of who is in charge. God is the one who is in charge of all things, and it is God whom we seek to find wisdom and life. We have no greater example of the power of God than in Jesus Christ, his life, death, resurrection and exaltation. The source of all wisdom and power is God, and God has given that authority to Christ to lead the church. Jesus is the head of the church, not a pastor, not a leadership team, board of elders, or the family who gives the most money. Jesus Christ, and him alone, is the head of the church and we the people of the church must submit to the leading of Christ moment by moment.
How do we stay on track with God? This is the question many, if not all followers of Christ ask from time to time. Perhaps we do not ask it enough and wonder off. The answer given in this Psalm is God's word. We might call today the scriptures, the psalmist did not have a Bible like we do, nonetheless they had the words of God preserved through the centuries. The key to following after God, knowing, meditating and following the teachings of God through the Scriptures. Hiding the Word of God in our hearts that we might not wonder off in our own direction.
To understand fully what is happening in these early chapters of 1 Kings we need to understand some of the path to Israel having an earthly king. Form the outset of a people called Israel, God was intended to be their only King. Yet the people looked around at other nations and saw they had earthly kings and they thought they need one too. Repeatedly God warned the people, through the prophets, what would happen if they had an earthly king. Still the people did not listen and God relented and granted them a king. First Saul, then David and now Solomon. God knew an earthly king would adopt the ways of the kings around them rather than follow God's example of being a king, and that is exactly what happens. We see plots and murders and power plays just like all the nations around Israel. God has called then to be a different kind of people yet they were sucked into being like everyone else.
This is not to say they forgot God, and that God forgot them. In fact we are told that Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the statues of his father David (3:3). They continued to love God, and seek after God, only they allowed other things to creep in. Solomon loved God but also sacrificed to false idols and gods. Solomon loved God but also married outside of Israel which God directly commanded against. We all have the capacity to love God and still not follow as best we can. We will see with Solomon what happens when we have a disconnect between our love and our actions.
Lets pray: Lord continue to open your Scriptures to us. May we not only gain knowledge, may we not only gain understanding, may we hear your voice calling to us. Show us your ways Lord, and grant us the grace that we may follow you in these present days, that in the days to come we may be completely yours. In Christ's name, Amen.