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As wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove

As wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove

Something to read

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!

- 1 Kings 8:27 from full reading 1 Kings 8:22-30.

Something to think about

The wandering Arameans have become a great nation. The capital is established in Jerusalem, the royal palace has been built, and now, third, the temple is dedicated.

We have been taught to be wary of such moments. Jesus’ words to his disciples about the second temple ring in our ears: ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’ (Luke 21:6)

This is not an invitation to cynicism. It must not be allowed to block out our hearing of good news. Solomon was right: ‘heaven cannot contain you, much less this house I have built!’ It can still be a symbol of God’s presence among his people and a point of reference in the direction of their prayers.

Understanding Emmanuel – God with us in Jesus – Christians have widened such reference points. New Testament references to Christians themselves as temples of the Holy Spirit serve us both an invitation and a challenge in our own faithfulness to God. How can we be symbols of the presence of the living God?

Something to do

Read stories of the good news of the kingdom in the latest edition of the monthly prayer diary.

Something to pray

Heavenly Father, help me to be as wise as a serpent but also as gentle as a dove. Make me more Christlike.


Today’s reading has been provided by Jim Stewart. At the time of writing Jim had led a church in Tunbridge Wells over the last 21 years. Together with his wife they have been pleased to serve with people with a heart for evangelism, social action and worldwide mission.