Hebrew Text: 1 Kings 11: 29-33 (NIV) About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.
Gospel Reading: Luke 11: 33-35 (NVI) “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”
Good morning, church!
Last week I had the honor of talking to Vivian Lucas, the Director of the Franklinton Center and she wanted to know what the stuff was called at the bottom of the pot in Spanish Rice, and having been married to a Dominican, I said “Con-Con” and she said no, not that, it was something different, something else….She said, Elly when I went to Puerto Rico, people fought for the stuff and it was awesome! I laughed and said, “Pegao!”
She asked me for the recipe for pegao…I had to explain that even though my rice is pretty good, I don’t have that talent that my great aunts have of making even the burnt stuff at the bottom of the pot taste like a meal worth fighting for.
See, even our left overs, the remnants of meals past, what should have been inedible has a name and a worth….
Leftovers: Quit Your Wining Today’s reading came from 1 Kings 11: 29-33: Those of us who have heard stories about King Solomon, know him to have been a wise king who loved God and was very smart. He’s the guy who got the two woman to stop arguing about whose child had died by realizing that one loved the child enough to let him go.
But this is not that King Solomon, this is King Solomon at the end of his reign, after he has married 700 wives, and had 300 concubines. This is King Solomon after he is no longer doing God’s will!
See God’s will forbade marriage between God’s people and women from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. God had warned that the danger in marrying into these tribes was that these foreigners would tempt God’s people to turn away their hearts from the Lord. But King Solomon, married into these tribes anyways. And in his old age he turned away from the Lord his God (his heart no longer being like that of David, his father).
Now if you are interested in finding out what this means, I’ll give you the short version. He allowed worship of deities in his household…you can read about this in 1Kings 11.
But what I want to speak to you about is actually a small scene that takes place after the Lord has told Solomon that because of his wicked ways, his son will not inherit the kingdom.
So a guy named Jeroboam who Solomon has put in charge of all the forced laborers (this is a pretty way of saying slaves) is heading out of Jerusalem when he bumps into the prophet Ahijah dressed in a new garment. The two of them are walking outside the city, alone. Now, here’s what I believe happened.
The prophet has a message for Jeroboam, and he has no choice but to show him the message God has put into him. So Ahijah takes off his new coat and tears it into 12 pieces. Imagine if I dared to do that right now with my new coat…church, you’d be looking at me like I was crazy!
But Ahijah does it and explains that he is only the messenger and that the message God has given is “Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes.” And then there is an explanation that the Lord is doing this as a consequence of the broken 1st commandment “THOUGH SHALT HAVE NO GOD BEFORE ME!” But, the Lord is not taking His promise from David’s household, Solomon will continue to rule, but after he dies his son, Rehoboam, will inherit only 1 tribe while Jeroboam will inherit 10 tribes.
Now, I have a question for you…and it’s the same question I’ve been struggling with for the last couple of years. What happened to that 12th tribe, that 12th piece of cloth?
Let us pray….
Creator, all knowing and all consuming. Thank you for the bits that you leave behind, thank you because those leftovers sustain us in times of hardship. Thank you Lord because even when we complain about eating those leftovers, even then we have an opportunity to acknowledge the bounty that you have provided. We give you thanks father for those lovely bits of leftovers that sustain us in this time, when our best is done and you continue to provide. In your name we say, Amen!
Overabundance: Extravagant Welcome I’ve been thinking about leftovers all week, the bit of rice that we haven’t eaten yet, that can be saved for tomorrow. The bit of rice that we are able to share with one another in this church. Times are hard. Times are tough.
God may have given a bigger piece to Jeroboam (10 pieces), but his family may have been bigger, but their hunger may have been larger, but the time since their last meal may have…we don’t need to know the reason why.
But even in the breaking of that cloth, God left room for us to sit at the same table and partake of the same meal that he provided to David, to his son Solomon, and to his grandson Rehoboam. Even if they only got one piece.
Now I could sit here and complain that I didn’t get any, but just like that con-con or pegao taste just as good, imagine how much better the leftovers at God’s table? The cool thing is, God left room at that table for each of us. I choose to claim that unacknowledged piece of cloth, that remnant that no one else wants. That bit that no one else is thinking about. I know that piece of carne tastes better the second day, after its really had time to simmer!
We’ve gotta stop acting like living off leftovers is a hardship…
It means that God provided an overabundance at some point in your week.
Overabundance means an overflow…
If we were keeping it real it, an overflow is a miracle…let’s think about other miracles of overabundance.
-Jesus turned water into wine, and there were leftovers.
-Jesus took 2 loaves of bread and fed a multitude and there were leftovers.
-God fed your family last night (with the little bit of this and the little bit of that that sat in your cupboards) and there were still leftovers.
But we act as though it’s a hardship, rather than a blessing!
We need to change our attitudes.
That’s what that Luke 11 reading was all about. “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, [where it belongs] so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”
What that means to me is be aware of my own perspective. I can choose to look at all the negatives, I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough time… Or I can choose to look at the positives:
even though I don’t have enough money to buy a new house, God has provided me with a home.
Even though I don’t have enough money to pay off my school loans, God has put food on my table.
Even though I don’t have enough to do everything that I want to do, God welcomed me into this family!
That is what the Lord offers us…an Extravagant Welcome into God’s household.