Shopping at Walmart is always an adventure. About the time you figure out where most of the items you need are located in the store, they move them. They often say it is to make room for more and newer items, but I am told it is to force the consumer to look intently for the desired item, so that while you search, you might purchase something else you did not even intend to purchase. What a clever way to increase their revenue and my stress level! One day I was searching diligently for an item we needed that, you guessed it, had been moved it from its normal spot. While searching, my attention was drawn to a product I did not recall seeing before (they got me). The picture on the box looked good and the description for the taste sounded good, so of course I bought one to “try”. Just for the record, it was okay, but it was not something I had intended to buy and did not really need.
The same scenario can often play out in other areas of life as well, which is why Jesus urged us to place our complete focus, attention, and energy on seeking the Kingdom of God. Our tendency to get distracted makes us prone to become preoccupied with the mundane or less important aspects of life, which not only divides our attention, but it also creates a stressful obsession. Even worse, the things that take our attention off of the Kingdom of God do not truly satisfy the intense longing of our heart because they cannot make an eternal impact. As you continue reading through The Sermon on The Mount, and specifically Matthew 6, pay close attention to how Jesus strongly contrasts the sinful actions of man with the sanctifying attitude/actions of the Kingdom of God. Then, reflect on your own attitudes/actions and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those that are not Kingdom Focused and to invigorate those that are.
1 Kings 1–2 (CSB)
1 Now King David was old and advanced in age. Although they covered him with bedclothes, he could not get warm. 2 So his servants said to him: “Let us search for a young virgin for my lord the king. She is to attend the king and be his caregiver. She is to lie by your side so that my lord the king will get warm.” 3 They searched for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel; they found Abishag the Shunammite and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was of unsurpassed beauty, and she became the king’s caregiver. She attended to him, but he was not intimate with her. 5 Adonijah son of Haggith kept exalting himself, saying, “I will be king!” He prepared chariots, cavalry, and fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 But his father had never once infuriated him by asking, “Why did you do that?” In addition, he was quite handsome and was born after Absalom. 7 He conspired with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar. They supported Adonijah, 8 but the priest Zadok, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the prophet Nathan, Shimei, Rei, and David’s royal guard did not side with Adonijah. 9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, goats, cattle, and fattened cattle near the stone of Zoheleth, which is next to En-rogel. He invited all his royal brothers and all the men of Judah, the servants of the king, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the royal guard, or his brother Solomon. 11 Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? 12 Now please come and let me advise you. Save your life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go, approach King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, did you not swear to your servant: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne? So why has Adonijah become king?’ 14 At that moment, while you are still there speaking with the king, I’ll come in after you and confirm your words.” 15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his bedroom. Since the king was very old, Abishag the Shunammite was attending to him. 16 Bathsheba knelt low and paid homage to the king, and he asked, “What do you want?” 17 She replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’ 18 Now look, Adonijah has become king. And, my lord the king, you didn’t know it. 19 He has lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the king’s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army, but he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 Now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, I and my son Solomon will be regarded as criminals.” 22 At that moment, while she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan arrived, 23 and it was announced to the king, “The prophet Nathan is here.” He came into the king’s presence and paid homage to him with his face to the ground. 24 “My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’? 25 For today he went down and lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the sons of the king, the commanders of the army, and the priest Abiathar. And look! They’re eating and drinking in his presence, and they’re saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me—me, your servant—or the priest Zadok or Benaiah son of Jehoiada or your servant Solomon. 27 I’m certain my lord the king would not have let this happen without letting your servant know who will sit on my lord the king’s throne after him.” 28 King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. 29 The king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, 30 just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day.” 31 Bathsheba knelt low with her face to the ground, paying homage to the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!” 32 King David then said, “Call in the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada for me.” So they came into the king’s presence. 33 The king said to them, “Take my servants with you, have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There, the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him as king over Israel. You are to blow the ram’s horn and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 You are to come up after him, and he is to come in and sit on my throne. He is the one who is to become king in my place; he is the one I have commanded to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 “Amen,” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied to the king. “May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so affirm it. 37 Just as the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.” 38 Then the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down, had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 The priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the ram’s horn, and all the people proclaimed, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 All the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing with such a great joy that the earth split open from the sound. 41 Adonijah and all the invited guests who were with him heard the noise as they finished eating. Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn and said, “Why is the town in such an uproar?” 42 He was still speaking when Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest, suddenly arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are an important man, and you must be bringing good news.” 43 “Unfortunately not,” Jonathan answered him. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 And with Solomon, the king has sent the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have had him ride on the king’s mule. 45 The priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king in Gihon. They have gone up from there rejoicing. The town has been in an uproar; that’s the noise you heard. 46 Solomon has even taken his seat on the royal throne. 47 “The king’s servants have also gone to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make the name of Solomon more well known than your name, and may he make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed in worship on his bed. 48 And the king went on to say this: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! Today he has provided one to sit on my throne, and I am a witness.’ ” 49 Then all of Adonijah’s guests got up trembling and went their separate ways. 50 Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he got up and went to take hold of the horns of the altar. 51 It was reported to Solomon: “Look, Adonijah fears King Solomon, and he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon first swear to me that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’ ” 52 Then Solomon said, “If he is a man of character, not a single hair of his will fall to the ground, but if evil is found in him, he dies.” 53 So King Solomon sent for him, and they took him down from the altar. He came and paid homage to King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, “Go to your home.” 1 As the time approached for David to die, he ordered his son Solomon, 2 “As for me, I am going the way of all of the earth. Be strong and be a man, 3 and keep your obligation to the Lord your God to walk in his ways and to keep his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn, 4 and so that the Lord will fulfill his promise that he made to me: ‘If your sons guard their way to walk faithfully before me with all their heart and all their soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ 5 “You also know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me and what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in a time of peace to avenge blood shed in war. He spilled that blood on his own waistband and on the sandals of his feet. 6 Act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray head descend to Sheol in peace. 7 “Show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite and let them be among those who eat at your table because they supported me when I fled from your brother Absalom. 8 “Keep an eye on Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim who is with you. He uttered malicious curses against me the day I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, and I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will never kill you with the sword.’ 9 So don’t let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man. You know how to deal with him to bring his gray head down to Sheol with blood.” 10 Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. 11 The length of time David reigned over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his kingship was firmly established. 13 Now Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She asked, “Do you come peacefully?” “Peacefully,” he replied, 14 and then asked, “May I talk with you?” “Go ahead,” she answered. 15 “You know the kingship was mine,” he said. “All Israel expected me to be king, but then the kingship was turned over to my brother, for the Lord gave it to him. 16 So now I have just one request of you; don’t turn me down.” She said to him, “Go on.” 17 He replied, “Please speak to King Solomon since he won’t turn you down. Let him give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife.” 18 “Very well,” Bathsheba replied. “I will speak to the king for you.” 19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah. The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, sat down on his throne, and had a throne placed for the king’s mother. So she sat down at his right hand. 20 Then she said, “I have just one small request of you. Don’t turn me down.” “Go ahead and ask, mother,” the king replied, “for I won’t turn you down.” 21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to your brother Adonijah as a wife.” 22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why are you requesting Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Since he is my elder brother, you might as well ask the kingship for him, for the priest Abiathar, and for Joab son of Zeruiah.” 23 Then King Solomon took an oath by the Lord: “May God punish me and do so severely if Adonijah has not made this request at the cost of his life. 24 And now, as the Lord lives—the one who established me, seated me on the throne of my father David, and made me a dynasty as he promised—I swear Adonijah will be put to death today!” 25 Then King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who struck down Adonijah, and he died. 26 The king said to the priest Abiathar, “Go to your fields in Anathoth. Even though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death today, since you carried the ark of the Lord God in the presence of my father David and you suffered through all that my father suffered.” 27 So Solomon banished Abiathar from being the Lord’s priest, and it fulfilled the Lord’s prophecy he had spoken at Shiloh against Eli’s family. 28 The news reached Joab. Since he had supported Adonijah but not Absalom, Joab fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29 It was reported to King Solomon: “Joab has fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and is now beside the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada and told him, “Go and strike him down!” 30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle and said to Joab, “This is what the king says: ‘Come out!’ ” But Joab said, “No, for I will die here.” So Benaiah took a message back to the king, “This is what Joab said, and this is how he answered me.” 31 The king said to him, “Do just as he says. Strike him down and bury him in order to remove from me and from my father’s family the blood that Joab shed without just cause. 32 The Lord will bring back his own blood on his head because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, without my father David’s knowledge. With his sword, Joab murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. 33 The responsibility for their deaths will come back to Joab and to his descendants forever, but for David, his descendants, his dynasty, and his throne, there will be peace from the Lord forever.” 34 Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up, struck down Joab, and put him to death. He was buried at his house in the wilderness. 35 Then the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada in Joab’s place over the army, and he appointed the priest Zadok in Abiathar’s place. 36 Then the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build a house for yourself in Jerusalem and live there, but don’t leave there and go anywhere else. 37 On the day you do leave and cross the Kidron Valley, know for sure that you will certainly die. Your blood will be on your own head.” 38 Shimei said to the king, “The sentence is fair; your servant will do as my lord the king has spoken.” And Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time. 39 But then, at the end of three years, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was informed, “Look, your slaves are in Gath.” 40 So Shimei saddled his donkey and set out to Achish at Gath to search for his slaves. He went and brought them back from Gath. 41 It was reported to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned. 42 So the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Didn’t I make you swear by the Lord and warn you, saying, ‘On the day you leave and go anywhere else, know for sure that you will certainly die’? And you said to me, ‘The sentence is fair; I will obey.’ 43 So why have you not kept the Lord’s oath and the command that I gave you?” 44 The king also said, “You yourself know all the evil that you did to my father David. Therefore, the Lord has brought back your evil on your head, 45 but King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain established before the Lord forever.” 46 Then the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down, and he died. So the kingdom was established in Solomon’s hand.
Matthew 6 (CSB)
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 3 But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. 8 Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him. 9 “Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done 11 on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses. 16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.