Going through the book of 1 Kings in a slow and intentional manner was a surreal experience for me. At the very beginning of the book we witness a united and prosperous nation under King David who is ailing as he approaches his twilight years. He goes on to leave the kingdom to Solomon fulfilling the promise he had made to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. King Solomon went on to be the wisest man that ever lived. God asked Solomon one day essentially “What do you want?”, Solomon wisely answered that he wanted wisdom and knowledge that he might lead the people of Israel well. God was so pleased with his answer that didn’t ask for fame or fortune that he gave him that in addition to the wisdom. These were all powerful lessons for me in the book of 1 Kings.
Life has many ways of getting us down on our knees in despair, as we look around and find that nothing seems to be, as it ought to be. On the contrary, life also has amazing surprises for us, which cause us to get down on our knees and thank God. Thankfulness is not necessarily, most people’s cup of tea! Whereas many would talk big on appreciating things, both big and small, very few, go on and actualize this conversation. One of the greatest ways of acknowledging and depending on God’s omniscience in our daily walk, whether in pastures green or in the valley of the shadow of death, is to forget not his benefits! David looked back and realized that God had done so much for him, way above the troubles he was facing at times. His heart was overwhelmed to the point of blessing the Lord for all his benefits- and they are many. Forgiveness was the first in David’s list of the many benefits of knowing God in Psalm 103!
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the month-long season called Lent. It is only as old as the early Middle Ages of the Church. What is interesting is that not all Christians observe it. In the Old Testament days, they used ashes in times of mourning and lamentation. At other times, in times of fasting, Jews would put ash in their heads to signify their sorrow and dead state. Ash Wednesday is a time to remember the frailty of our humanity and how separated we are from God apart from his grace. It also reminds us that we were made from dust (ash) and we will return to dust (ash). It reminds us to mourn over our sins. It is our sin that makes us return to dust. It is our sin that separates us from God. But, in light of Ash Wednesday we’re to look towards the cross and see that despite our sin there is a God that sent his Son Jesus to take on our sin and give us hope in spite of the fact that we’re going to become ash one day.
Each and every one of us has ever been wronged. Time and again we are brushed off the wrong way. Someone steals one of your prized possessions. You are engaged in a bitter altercation with a close friend. You have just heard that one of your classmates spreads false rumors about you. Perhaps you lent someone money and you have never been repaid, instead this person keeps avoiding you. You have been betrayed by someone that you really trusted. The list of wrongs and injustices done is endless and might continue to grow because truth is; as long as we live in this world there will always be conflict amongst us. Sometimes you are the one on the wrong side.