1 Kings 3 & Ephesians 1

1 Kings 3

    Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh's daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.

    Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

    It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

    And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

    Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. And this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

    Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.

(1 Kings 3 ESV)

Ephesians 1

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

    To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

(Ephesians 1 ESV)

Something to Consider

Ephesians 1: Although completely overlooked in our daily rush through life and drastically underestimated in comparison to our modern advantages, the greatest thing we will ever do in our life is to pray. That is not simply a Christian overstatement in order to please God or to sound super-spiritual. If we stopped for just a moment and seriously considered what prayer actually is then we’d shutter in humility at how often we take this great privilege for granted. In the words of the great Welsh preacher, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, prayer “is the highest activity of the human soul.”  

Now, if we understand prayer as the greatest thing that we will ever do in this life then we shouldn’t be too surprised that prayer often seems difficult to do and to do rightly. However, here in his prayer for the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul provides us with some good insights on how we ought to pray. In looking at the way he begins this prayer, we can make a few helpful observations on how we should begin our own times of prayer. 

We might notice that Paul begins his prayer by offering thanksgiving and acknowledging who he’s now speaking with. In identifying God as “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “the Father of glory”, Paul is taking a time-out to take in the greatness of the God to whom he is now speaking.

Perhaps there is nothing that will help us more in our difficulty with prayer than to stop as soon as we start and seriously consider what we’re doing and who we are speaking with. Do we find ourselves more often than not rushing into the presence of God in order to offer a hurried request? If we considered what we were doing then we would certainly not do it so casually. Scripture warns us to guard our steps when we approach the presence of God (Ecclesiastes 5). We must begin our prayers by recognizing and realizing what it is we are actually doing.  

As the apostle points out, we are praying to “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “the Father of glory”. We aren’t praying to an unknown God, but rather a God who has made Himself known and revealed Himself to us in a very particular way. We are praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has made Himself known and knowable through His covenants, His people, His word and His redemptive work through His Son and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t have to come before God with uncertainties as to who He is and how He might respond to us. We can come before God with confidence and assurance knowing that we have peace with Him through our Lord Jesus Christ who graciously brings us into His presence (Romans 5:1).       

Through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have access by faith to the “Father of glory”. We have been granted access to approach the same God whose presence made Moses hide his face in fear, Isaiah cry out for his life and John to fall on his face as if he was dead (Exodus 3; Isaiah 6; Revelation 1). The Son of God has secured us as adopted sons of God and has told us to now address the Almighty God of Glory as, “Our Father” (Matthew 6).

“The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.” - Tim Keller

Are we aware of what is truly taking place each time we bow our head in prayer? Have we carefully considered what a privilege it is to pray? May we begin our prayers with thanksgiving and recognize that it is only through the gracious work of our Lord Jesus Christ that we can even begin to approach the Almighty God of Glory and dare to call Him “Our Father”.