Thursday, November 24, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Where Faith May Be Found

Haftarah Portion: Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)
Gospel Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

King David, once a force to be reckoned with, was deteriorating. Without consulting his father, David’s fourth son, Adonijah, decided that he was supposed to be the next king. Adonijah’s older brothers were out of the picture, and normally the oldest living son was first in line to the throne, so Adonijah thought all was clear. He and some of David’s advisors set himself up as co-regent with his dying father.

But that was outside David’s plan and God’s intentions. David had sworn to his wife Bathsheba, “Surely your son Solomon shall be king after me and he shall sit on my throne” (1 Kings 1:17, NASB). Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet clung to that promise. Solomon and his supporters were put in danger by Adonijah’s actions; seeing that Adonijah had acted so precipitously and that he hadn’t invited them to his coronation banquet, there was no telling what he might do to Solomon as a rival.

What should they do? David had somehow overlooked what was going on. Did he even care? He was still the king, and his word was law in Israel, so Nathan and Bathsheba approached him with their urgent request. With utmost humility and respect, first Bathsheba, then Nathan explained the situation and pleaded for his intervention on behalf of his promise. David was aroused and answered their plea: “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all my distress, surely as I vowed to you by the Lord the God of Israel, saying, ‘Your son Solomon shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place’; I will indeed do so this day” (1 Kings 1:30). Nathan and Bathsheba’s prayer succeeded. Adonijah was deposed and Solomon was anointed king.

In Bathsheba and Nathan, we see ourselves approaching the King of kings, hoping that He will grant our requests. These two didn’t lose heart, though what they saw looked hopeless. Adonijah was practically king already! Surely it was too late! But they tried anyway. Because of their faith in going to him, King David took up their cause, which was according to his will all along, and had Solomon crowned as his successor.

In the Torah portion, we see a similar situation: Abraham’s servant faced the seemingly impossible selection of a suitable bride for his master’s son. How was he to find someone who would meet the high standards of Abraham and Isaac? Without wasting any time, he prayed for God to reveal the right young woman. Before he had even finished, God’s perfect answer strode into view.

Whether we need something that’s nowhere in sight or we’re confronting hopeless, troubling circumstances, it can be difficult to trust that God will fix something in our favor. And yet what does Yeshua teach us?
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
What do we pray for? Anywhere from our friend’s salvation to our monetary needs to Yeshua’s coming, do we pray earnestly, even if nothing is on the horizon and hope seems lost? Yeshua said in the parable, “[N]ow, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8) The context is poignant: the end of the preceding chapter records Yeshua’s exhortation on tribulation, the darkest, most faith-testing time any of us will know.

Nathan and Bathsheba exemplified this faith to us. Maybe we think we have faith, but in reality, underneath, we’ve given up hope that what we’re longing for will really happen. But it’s always too early to give up. Keep praying, keep believing that, even if the answer isn’t what we were looking for, God will do what He said and take care of us.

About the Author: Kelsey Bryant is a student of words, first and foremost the Words of God. She is an author and blogs at Kelsey’s Notebook.

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