Pericope: I Kings 3: 3 – 9
Sermon Text: 1 Kings 3: 9
Sermon Title: “Black Panther vs Trump”
Introduction: There is something going on in the culture! There is something in the air. Since when have you seen African Americans dress up in various African and sixties outfits to go see a movie? For that matter, when have you seen any large number of African Americans go to the movies dressed up like the characters in the movies? Sure, you can say the makers of Black Panther did such excellent job marketing the movie there was going to be a response. You can also say African Americans simply want to support a black movie, written, produced, directed and acted by fellow African Americans. But there have been many African American movies with similar behind the scenes participation by African Americans. I believe there is something else going on.
There is a deep desert of need for affirmation within the African American community. There is a deep well without water within the African American community and America that is longing to be filled. There is even a greater unease within the African American community. There is a rude awakening going on within the African American community. There is I can’t believe I am living in America going on within the African American community. There is a post Obama, OMG there is still racism in America, we are going backwards, going on in the community. There is I can’t believe there are some Christians who are proclaiming these are the best of times and God’s man is in the White House; while other Christians are saying these are the worst of times.
We are living in a post Obama America that has pulled the scab off the sores of our past and seemingly no one has the balm of Gilead in word or deed to heal the land. We are in a post Obama America that the victor has now become the victim. There is a post Obama “white-lash” by some in America. Every now and then something happens in the culture that reflects the culture and enrages the culture at the same time. REPEAT Whether it's a school shooting in FL or movie that taps the emotions of African Americans…something is happening in the culture and its imperative that we wake up and see it.
I believe the movie Black Panther is revealing a truth that requires a biblical critique. I believe the movie Black Panther says something about our culture that requires a biblical response. I believe the recent election reveals a truth also that is in juxtaposition to the movie. And for those who say, Bishop why would you preach about a movie, culture, politics—my answer—it’s my job! God always has something to say about everything significant in our lives. Failure to speak to what we are dealing with is failing my job. Besides art can reflect life.
Don’t worry, if you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it. I won’t give away too much. I will just use certain aspect of the movie to make the points I need to make about the text and our current situation in America.
In our text this morning we have a kingship going on as well just like in the movies. The entire text is about kingdom and the transfer of power. Solomon is about to take on the throne of David and extend the Davidic kingdom. God has promised it will never cease and Solomon is heir to the throne. As he is ascending to the throne he realizes he does not have everything he needs to be the king he should be and wants to be. In the movie the hidden kingdom of a chosen people is changing hands. How will it end in the movie and how does it end in the text? The text reminds me about three seminal moments in the movie… a line in the movie when it comes T’Challa rising to be king “it’s hard for a good man to be King” (2) when the king father has to make a split decision (3) when the queen mother tells T’Challa show them who you are…
Point 1: Hard to be a King 1 Kings 3: 7 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.
The text tells us just before Solomon is to take the throne he realizes how hard it is to be king. He realizes his wisdom alone will not be sufficient to govern a great nation. He realizes he just a child when he looks at what it takes to lead. Solomon is not arrogant he is not full of himself. Solomon turns to God for help.
LifeChangers it is hard for a good man to be king/president.
Today the one who occupies the greatest office in the land finds it hard to be a good man and pull himself out of horrendous past of admitting sexual assault, lying, insensitive language and divisive rhetoric. It’s hard for a man to be king when he thinks he knows everything and calls himself a very stable genius.
Humility is the way of a leader. The Sacred Text says if you exalt yourself he will abase you and if you humble yourself he will exalt you. My mother use to tell me, “son stay low and humble so the Lord can use you” Pride comes before the fall. No one should think more highly of themselves than they ought. When you see yourself bigger than yourself the self you see cannot sustain the self you want to be. Now it’s one thing to wrestle with yourself when it’s just you it’s a whole other thing when you lead a nation and you don’t know who you are. In the movie you see what happens when someone takes the throne and don’t know who they are and cover their insecurities with hatred and arrogance. Its one thing to suffer with yourself by yourself but it’s a whole other thing when you drag others along for your ride to places you don’t know how to get to. In the case of the movie and the text art reflects our reality.
Transition: Its one thing to find it hard to be a king and lead a great nation. Being the leader of a great nation requires hard split decisions.
Point 2: You have to make split decisions! 1 Kings 3: 25 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
In our text we find soon after Solomon became King he was tested with a decision that he became famous for. Two prostitutes came to Solomon and said they were living together. They had babies three days apart. During the night one of the ladies laid on her baby and smothered her baby to death. She got up and put her dead baby with the other prostitute and claim the live baby was hers. They argued over the live baby.
King Solomon had to make a difficult decision. Notice how he does it. He does not beat the ladies up for their life style. Notice the text is absent of Solomon saying anything about the ladies being prostitutes. Notice Solomon does not condemn them for possibly sleeping with the same man because clearly the babies looked alike. If the only difference in birth is three days and two different mothers can’t tell their babies apart then it’s because the common denominator for looks is the daddy. How else were they not distinguishable? Solomon does not call them S—holes or SOB’s he treats them with respect even though you know he had to disagree with how they had conducted their lives. Solomon deals with the issue at hand and skillfully comes to a decision that brings justice. Even after he determines who the real mother is he doesn’t condemn the mother who started all of the drama. He brings justice to the situation not more drama with name calling.
In the movie there is a critical time when the king had to make a split decision. The decision determined the fate of an entire nation. The movie and the text tells me life will bring to you times when you have to make split decisions that will effect the rest of your life. Life decisions are ripples on the lake of life. The bigger the decision the larger the ripples. Just like the waves of an ocean effect every life in the sea your decision will affect every life you have to deal with. Don’t see yourself as a “steady genius” ask God for help. The bible says don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (7) Be not wise in your won eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Ps 27: 11 Teach me to do your ways, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressor.
The king in the movie showed us the leader of a nation makes decisions that will affect generations. That’s exactly what’s going on right now. Decisions are being made that will affect generations to come. Some say it will all be over in three years don’t worry. To raise the issues does not imply one is worried. To stay woke and call out wrong is not worry. We are God’s epistles in the earth and whenever a narrative is being written counter to his narrative of justice, equality and life liberty and pursuit of happiness for everyone, it is incumbent upon God’s epistles to write another narrative. There are decisions being made that is undoing the gains of generations that have gone before us. To sit back and say nothing or do nothing is not God. “And I ain’t doing it”
Transitions: Not only is it hard to be a king and make generational decisions for everyone not just for some…there are times when you have to show yourself. There are times when you have to show people who you really are.
Point 3: Show’em who you really are! 1 Kings 3: 15 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…
In the text we find Solomon awaking from his dream in which he prayed and asked for God’s help to be king. When he awakens he went into the presence of the Lord and presented himself.
The other line in the movie that opens the door to understanding our text is when T’Challa’s mother, the Queen says, “show them who you are” There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to show people who you really are. Sometimes those times are thrust upon us and other times we can recognize them before they arrive, but rest assure life will present you with an opportunity to show everyone who you really are.
Solomon was confronted with becoming the king of Israel and it was his opportunity to show everyone who he really was. It was his time to step out of the shadow of his awesome father David and build his own legacy. David was the man after God’s own heart despite his sin. David was larger than life in battle and peace time. David killed giants and lions and bears with his bare hands. David was a man’s man and now Solomon had to show everyone who he was. So, what does he do? He asked for wisdom, so he can leave his own legacy and many ways outshine his father.
In the movie T’Challa had to step out of his father’s shadow. He had to overcome his father’s decisions. He had to become great on his own terms. He even had to deal with his father’s sin like Solomon had to deal with David’s sin. In fact, Solomon is the manifestation of David’s sin. Solomon is Bathsheba’s child.
Today we have a man who wants to outshine his predecessor by not asking for wisdom and doing everything he can to undo what his predecessor did. He is not trying to advance the kingdom he is trying to take it back to the 40’, 50’s and 60’s. He declares his brilliance when every sign points to the opposite. Today, he says, he is so smart he doesn’t have to read the daily intelligence briefing. But could it be he really is smarter than we think?? Could it be that while we read tweets policies are being undone, to not only leave a legacy but institutionalize inequality in America?
- He proposed a budget that hits the poorest Americans the hardest, slashing billions of dollars in food stamps, health insurance and federal housing subsidies.
- The Trump budget proposal would gut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, by $17.2 billion in 2019 — equivalent to 22 percent of the program’s total cost last year, while giving tax cuts to millionaires and large corporations.
- Trump also proposed cutting a federal housing subsidy program, known as Section 8 vouchers, by nearly $1 billion, which Yentel said would result in more than 250,000 low-income families losing their housing assistance.
- On health care for low-income Americans, Trump’s budget calls for cutting federal Medicaid funding by $250 billion over the next 10 years, as the administration envisions passing a law “modeled closely” on a Senate Republican proposal that failed last fall to repeal the Affordable Care Act
- The budget envisions a sweeping change to Medicaid, turning a portion of the federal funding of the vast safety-net insurance program into a block grant.
- The Trump administration is seeking to cut more than $3 billion from the Education Department while investing $1.6 billion to support private school vouchers and other school choice programs
This is what is going on while we read tweets! Tweets are
designed to hypnotize us while policies change that will affect a
The beginning of Solomon’s reign was not the only time he had an opportunity to show who he was. After God gave him wisdom God gave him more wealth than anyone in human history. If there is ever a time you want to know who a person is give them lots of money and lots of power. When Solomon got lots of both he lost who he was and became someone else, because bottom line, all of us got two of us in us waiting to get out. That's why you have to make sure the Jesus in you is growing at the same rate as the prosperous you.
It is time for us to realize if we are going to be the people Jesus wants us to be. Jesus has to be paramount in our lives. As in the movie when you get power the real you will come out. What will we do New Life in the comfort of our suburban homes. Now that we have a reasonable portion of prosperity will we miss the opportunity to show who we really are. Is Jesus going to show up in us…the Jesus of justice!
1. You can’t show anyone who you really are until you know who you are starts with accepting Jesus. It’s in him that we live move and have our very being. We are made in his image…For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…
2. Whatever decision you have to make ask God for wisdom
3. Change the narrative in the earth by waking up and getting involved, voting, speaking out…
4. Signup to be a mentor or to serve one Sunday a month!
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