Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 27th November 2014

king-solomon-youngGod said to Solomon: “Ask what I shall give thee.” And Solomon said: “Give thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad.” St. Paul writes: “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (1.Thessalonians 5:14)

What a wonderful privilege and honour it is to have wise men ruling over you! And what a travesty of leadership it is if those, who are seated on the thrones of men are but fools and babes. Blessed are those people, who have got rulers, who have an understanding heart, who can distinguish between good and bad, who are not just relativistic opportunists like Pontius Pilate, washing their hands in self-righteous innocence and proclaiming: “What is truth?” Obviously megalomanic tyrants grab a terrible toll costing thousands and millions of lives even. Blessed are those poor fellows, widows and orphans, foreigners, migrants and other easily discriminated people if they have the high and mighty stand up for what is right, good and salutary – not just seeking their own privileges and enrichment, but rather the common good, that which is edifying and life promoting for the little ones, truly just. This is not just ideological program, but rather practical justice and good governance. In the final analysis it’s not even what is in favour of the large majority, but rather, what is pleasing to God and in line with his blessed orders of creation and his predestined goal for men, women and children all along. Consider abortion of unborn babies and so-called euthanasia of feeble elderly and you will understand, what I am talking about! Blessed are those people and that nation, whose government and constitution does not ride roughshod over them, but rather respects life, protects the helpless and destitute and does not let the evil ones get away with murder. Woe to those however, who call good evil and evil good, who ignore righteousness and justice – just because they can – and declare the innocent guilty and let the guilty run free. 

King Solomon was but a young man, when he was called to rule over Israel and enthroned to be king over Israel. Like his father David, he was supposed to be God’s steward in Jerusalem taking care of God’s people faithfully. By God’s grace and favour this was a good time for his people. Things went well. Good judgement was felled. Wise rule implemented and applied. The temple was finished. People flourished in peace and prosperity. And thus God answered the prayer of the young monarch and the African Queen from Sheba could conclude her visit in Jerusalem with the judgement:

“Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” (1.Kings 10:7-9)

We know that this rule of King Solomon was not perfect and it did not last forever either. Rather Israel would have to wait for some time for the true king of glory to appear – the one, who would indeed judge perfectly well and administer God’s will righteously and without fault. King Solomon in all his wisdom fell into the trap and snares of syncretism and idolatry – mislead by his beautiful, but faithless wives. As king, he should have ruled wisely and against the pragmatic ideas of religious relativism and unionistic tendencies as if all ways lead to heaven and eternal salvation. He had the jurisdiction. He had the say. He was king on the throne – and still he let syncretism take over, he promoted idolatry in Israel and left the path of truth to dapple in all sorts of pagan mysteries and heathen wonder. This had dire consequences not only for his own rule, but especially for God’s people and the holy ones in Israel. In the end the nation fell apart, was overrun by its enemies and the people were dispersed into exile – and the temple was destroyed. Oh, woe to the people, who loose the ways of the living God! Would we but realise that God is not our’s to play with, he’s not just our’s to determine – rather the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.

Years later – decades and even centuries later! – the true king entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey: “Hail the one, who comes in the name of the Lord, the son of David, the true king of Israel and the whole world, cosmos and universe. Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah in the highest!” He ruled wisely and correctly, justly and righteously. He did not fall for the pressures of the mighty, when they called upon him to silence the children and infants to praise his holy name. Instead he admonished them and exposed them for their unbelief and faithlessness – if these would not cry out, the stones, pebbles and rocks would – because they have more of a living heart that you of calloused nature and mind. Thus he proved them to be the truly unruly ones, who would not subject themselves to the laws and wills of the living God, but rather do as if they themselves were a rule and law unto themselves. They were the rebels and unrighteous. They would have to repent, be converted and start a new life – under the law of God and following his directions. The young people praising his name on the other hand were not unruly, but rather doing the right thing in God’s eyes. They were not to be stopped, but encouraged. Jesus did just that!

He encouraged the feeble minded again and again. He cured the mother-in-law of St.Peter, comforted Jairus, who had lost his daughter and that widow of Nain, who had lost her son and the sisters Mary and Martha would had lost their brother. Thus he encouraged these enfeebled minds by granting life out of death. Oh miracle and wonder! Or what else was it than truly encouraging and supporting when he fed the hungry, freed the chained and bonded, gave sight to the blind etc etc He helped those, who had no help, the weak and downhearted – and he was so patient with all men. Just look how he deals with that loose canon Peter. Again and again he calls him to return from his wrong ways, false ideas and downright godless plans… “If you truly love me, take care of my sheep.” Or is it not just the patience with all men, that he does not condemn them when they crucify him on Golgotha, but rather prays for them: “Father, forgive them, for they know not, what they do!” Finally is in not just patience with all men, that he has not called an end to all things and time, but rather keeps and holds the world with all its enmity, animosity, hatred, rebellion and warfare – just to see some more of the countless unreached still being saved and coming to the insight of truth? Oh, yes he is patient with you and me also – not counting our impatience and hastiness against us, but rather forgiving, encouraging, comforting and supporting us too. He does so day in day out. He does so untiringly, so that we would finally be saved and not loose it all. He bears us patiently home! Oh – thanks be to you dear Lord Jesus Christ – Lord of all and king of kings. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ: I thank you for your kindness and mercy with which you hold and carry me patiently. You bear my impatience and unruly ways in forgiving love and goodness, covering all my iniquity and weakness, my feeblemindedness and wrongdoing. Thank you for this. Thank you also for not dealing with us as we have deserved it, but rather keeping and preserving your poor people, this country and continent despite all corruption, evil and tyranny so that we see good days again and again. There were evil takes over let us remember that you are in control and will grant a salvation finally, that we will not grow impatient, loose faith and hope and fall into despair and other forms of evil and godlessness. Grant us patience in our dealings with feebleminded and weak, incompetent and unruly people. Let us be encouraging, uplifting and supportive to those, who need it most. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer + Amen.

Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day.

Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748 

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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