This psalm is without formal title or attribution, however it is most likely one of David’s compositions. It starts in the Hebrew text with Hallelujah which means “Praise the Lord”. After the word Hallelujah, it is in the form of an acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalm as a whole recounts the many ways in which God pours out His blessings on His people and gives thanks for these many blessings. The psalmist begins by declaring that he will whole-heartedly, and in the presence of all people, give his praise and thanks to God. Indeed, God’s provision is cause for all people to delight in His wonderful works. In all our life, the works of God are evident in all around us to those who take the time to discern His care. God is always true to His promises in His covenant relationship with His people. To the psalmist, it was God who freed His people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, but to His people today, we praise Him for the freedom from the bondage of unrighteousness. True wisdom is to be found in acknowledging the greatness and majesty of God. For this we praise Him for ever.
1 KINGS 2: 10-12, 3: 3-14
David was king of Israel for 40 years – for 33 of those years, he ruled from Jerusalem. After David’s death his son, Solomon, acceded to the throne of a stable and well-established kingdom. In the early years of his reign, Solomon “loved the Lord and followed the instructions of his father David”. However, the rules of worship given to the people through Moses included a rule that there should be only one place for the offering of sacrifices to God, and this was to be where the “portable temple”, the tabernacle was set up. While this temporary edifice was the designated place of worship, the rule of one central place of sacrifice was in abeyance until a permanent structure was provided. Solomon apparently recognised many high places, hill tops, as places of worship. On one occasion, when Solomon went to Gibeon, the site where a most popular altar was situated at that time, he made great offerings in sacrifice to God. That night in a dream, God appeared to Solomon and offered him a gift. Solomon, mindful of the relationship David had had with God, asked for the wisdom he needed to rule the people in justice and integrity. This is the origin of the idea that Solomon was a wise ruler. The story relates that because Solomon asked for wisdom and not self-important gifts of wealth and fame, God granted these others as well. Also conditionally offered to Solomon was a long life.
EPHESIANS 5: 15-20
Much of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians deals with the way a life committed to the Lord should unfold. So, in v15 of chapter 5, he says the Christ-followers should be careful how they live; that is live a life commensurate with the profession of following Christ wisely and not foolishly. Remember that, as in Paul’s day, so today we live in evil times. True wisdom is to live as the Lord would have us live. Thus, to live a life of sobriety and not of self-indulgence. All our actions should be led by the Holy Spirit in us. Earlier in this chapter, Paul warned against loose and vulgar speech. Here he suggests that our conversation should be reminiscent of our praise to God in uplifting and spiritual music. Above all, our lives should demonstrate our thankfulness to God in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
JOHN 6: 51-58
Jesus continues His discourse on the “bread of life” by declaring again that He Himself is the Living Bread from heaven. By “Living Bread” is meant “life giving bread”. It is by absorbing this life-giving bread into our own lives that we can access eternal life. When Jesus goes on with His metaphor of eating the living bread which is given in His flesh, the crowd become hostile at the implication of cannibalism. In spiritual matters it is always difficult to separate the literal from the metaphorical. Jesus, however, continued to expand the metaphor of His flesh and blood given for the life of those who “eat” of Him in His sacrifice on the cross. Thus identifying our life with His, so assimilating His life into ours that we can receive eternal life. To feed on Him is food indeed, food that nourishes the eternal life He imparts.
The Israelites of old received the “bread of heaven” in the form of manna in the wilderness, but that food only nourished their physical life. The true bread from heaven in the person of Jesus Christ is the spiritual bread nourishing our spiritual life.
- Knowledge contributes to wisdom but is not itself the source of wisdom. How can we access true wisdom?
- Wisdom is accessible to all. Solomon received wisdom as he asked, but he eventually misused it. How can we ensure we do not misuse or neglect God’s wisdom?
- The opposite of wisdom is foolishness. Who wants to be a fool?
- Wisdom discerns the difference between metaphor and reality. May we all discern the truth in Jesus’ metaphor of the “Bread of Life”.