Vs. 3, “That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.” Question: What is going on here? In a most thought-provoking story, we see Jeroboam (new king of Israel) being rebuked by an unnamed man of God for sacrificing at his own man-made alters (vs. 1-10). Jeroboam had initiated his own places of worship and erected golden calves to keep his people from traveling up to Jerusalem in Judah’s southern kingdom. The man of God would prophesy concerning a king (Josiah from Judah) who would come over three hundred years later to destroy the high places. Jeroboam’s hand would be shriveled as he tried to seize the man of God. But the man of God would intercede to have Jeroboam’s shriveled hand restored. The man of God was specifically instructed not to eat bread or drink water with those in Israel (vs. 9-10). The events take an interesting twist as an older prophet in Bethel lies to the man of God about instructing him to come with him (vs. 11-19). The man of God would suffer a death by a lion for having disobeyed the LORD (vs. 20-32). Unfortunately, these sad events would not dissuade Jeroboam from his sin (vs. 33-34).
Regarding application…Easily influenced. Vs. 18, “The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.” (But he was lying to him.)“ What a grave lesson to learn; don’t be so easily influenced by others. The man of God knew God’s specific instructions, but was duped by this lying prophet. While the Lord can confirm His will through affirmation of others, we would do best in ensuring we are first following His will. Question: How do we know His will? God reveals Himself to us in His Living word. Through scripture and prayer, we must put these first when it comes to determining the decisions we make in this life. When I was younger, I had a tendency to be too gullible. Now, I would rather caution on the careful side. The fate of the man of God is a stark reminder for us. Question: Are you easily influenced by others?
Vs. 1, “Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king.” Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) traveled to north to Shechem to try to win the hearts of the other tribes. Shechem was a logical place for it was that area that the tribes made their original commitments (Deuteronomy 11:29-32). Rehoboam discovers the people’s animosity towards the high taxation that Solomon had enforced during his reign. After consulting the elders and the younger men his age (vs. 2-15), Rehoboam unwisely chooses to follow the younger men’s advice. Rehoboam’s foolishness would cost Adoniram his life and nearly his own as he assumed the tribes of Israel would succumb (vs. 16-19). This would begin the era of the divided kingdom. Jeroboam would become king of Israel in the north while Rehoboam would retain kingship of Judah in the south (vs. 20). Rehoboam didn’t realize this was the hand of the Lord that he would lose part of the kingdom (I Kings 11). Jeroboam in fear of losing his new kingdom would disobey the LORD by creating golden calves for his people to worship (vs. 25-33). Question: Why? He was fearful that the northern tribes would return to Rehoboam’s kingship as they would make their pilgrimages to Jerusalem in Judah territory (vs. 26-27).
Regarding application…Foolish Dreams. Both Rehoboam and Jeroboam would fall into such folly. Rehoboam’s folly of overtaxing and Jeroboam’s folly of building golden calves would be their downfall. Both had foolish dreams that did not include the seeking of the LORD’s will. Question: What are your hopes and dreams? Both men had an equal opportunity to follow God’s way rather than their own. My foolish dream was thinking that my positions in the corporate world would make me happy. My ultimate dream was to be a bank manager of my own branch. I moved my way up the ladder of the banking business to being an assistant manager. I was almost there and was sure that such position would make me happy. It wasn’t that being a branch manager of a bank was bad, but God knew the pride that was building up in my heart. Fortunately, God had different plans for me. Take time in your prayer to ask the Lord to reveal in your heart and mind if you are following foolish dreams.
Vs. 10, “Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command.” What a tragic ending for King Solomon! It was Solomon who built the temple to worship the LORD, and yet here he is turning to other gods. The LORD had specifically instructed His people to not take foreign wives (Deuteronomy 7:1-14). Because of Solomon’s sin, it was the LORD who would raise up enemies against him (vs. 14-25); Hadad the Edomite (Esau’s descendant) and Rezon from Syria. Both Hadad and Rezon would give unrest against Israel. God would send the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh to deliver a dramatic message to Jeroboam (vs. 26-40) that he would rule the ten northern tribes (everyone except Judah and Benjamin). Jeroboam had found favor with Solomon and was put in charge of the labor force. This position would enable Jeroboam to gain favor with the overworked and overtaxed people. Though the LORD would promise Jeroboam success in his dynasty, His promise to David’s line would still remain. Solomon’s son Rehoboam would take over the southern kingdom after his death (vs. 41-43).
Regarding application…Divided Heart. Vs. 4, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” Though Solomon possessed great wisdom, he did not live it. Question: Why? His heart became divided because he married women who did not believe in the LORD. Their negative influence would lead Solomon astray. This reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s admonition, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…” (II Corinthians 6:14). It is a dangerous thing to start relationships with unbelievers. Many good intentioned believers wholeheartedly think their positive influence will win their relationship/spouse over to the Lord. While there are cases of success, the slippery slope is obvious. The precedent has been set and we would be wise to consider how relationships can divide our heart. If you are not married, please pray that you would seek a godly spouse. If you are already married and your spouse is not, God can bless that (I Corinthians 7) if we put our trust in Him.
Vs. 1, “When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.” Solomon’s fame and wisdom spread throughout the world and caught the attention of the queen of Sheba. You may recall from yesterday’s chapter, Solomon was importing luxurious goods from foreign lands. The queen of Sheba most likely lived in the southern part of ancient Arabia nearly 1500 miles south. It was both out of curiosity and setting up trade agreements that Sheba would visit Solomon (vs. 1-13). She was most impressed for the rumors of Solomon’s wisdom didn’t do justice to having experienced it in person. It’s interesting to note that even Jesus mentions the queen of Sheba (Matthew 12:42). The latter half of our chapter deals with the extravagant riches Solomon would possess (vs. 14-29). The 666 talents of gold, which were the equivalent of 25 tons of Gold (over 15 billion dollars equivalent), is perhaps not a coincidence (Revelation 13:18). Though God would bless Solomon with wealth, Solomon took it a step further and this would cause many problems as the future unfolds.
Regarding application…Seeking Greatness. Vs. 7, “But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.” Though the queen of Sheba was astounded by Solomon’s greatness; did it change anything in her life? Though she praises the LORD (vs. 9), we are not told she put her faith in the LORD. Another important aspect is that Jesus would refer to Solomon’s splendor as nothing compared to simple lilies in a field (Matthew 6:29). As great as Solomon was, someone greater than Solomon as come in Jesus (Matthew 12:42). Question: What are you seeking? Greatness is found in the simplicities of life, not the grandeur of our worldly perspective.
Vs. 2, “the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.” The LORD again appears to Solomon in a vision like the one in Gibeon (vs. 1-9). While the confirmation of the covenant should be a relief for Solomon, it does come with a quite a caveat. Solomon and Israel will enjoy the full blessings of the LORD if they follow His commands. King Solomon’s good relationship with Hiram of Tyre sours. The cities Solomon offered in exchange for all the provisions Hiram provided were displeasing to Hiram (vs. 10-14). Apparently, Solomon needed more gold and subsequently borrowed it from Hiram. The construction was possible due to using a large labor force of non-Israelites who were never driven completely out of the land (vs. 15-23). We also read of Pharaoh’s daughter moving into the new Palace digs (vs. 24) and Solomon keeping the 3 great annual feasts (vs. 25). The last little section of our chapter shows us how Solomon utilized the import of many luxurious items through ships (vs. 26-28).
Regarding application…Turning Away. Vs. 7, “then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.” Question: Why would God cut off his people from blessings? They broke their promise to His covenant by turning away from Him. By the grace of God, He was faithful to His covenant (promises) by offering a new covenant (Luke 22:20) in Jesus. This new covenant has the same purpose as the old, but just gives us a richer understanding of our redemption. One came before the other, but both had the intention of drawing us to the Lord. Unfortunately, there are many who will turn away from what God has to offer. None of us are immune to the same folly of the Israelites during Solomon’s time. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope in Jesus (Hebrews 10:23).
Vs. 1, “Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Zion, the City of David.” After the culmination of many years, the presence of the Lord would rest in the temple with the Ark of the Covenant placed in the Most Holy Place (vs. 1-13). Solomon was right in understanding God could not be contained by an earthly dwelling place (vs. 27), but the temple was a temporary place to make His presence known. Just as the President of the United States will make public speeches, Solomon would stand and address the people of Israel. Solomon begins by blessing the people and reminding them of God’s faithful promises (vs. 14-21). He then begins a beautiful dedication prayer (vs. 22-53) that includes prayers for his family, the people, foreigners, and possible future exiles. Solomon then admonished the people to keep their hearts always turned to the Lord (vs. 54-61). The chapter ends with the whole community offering up sacrifices to the LORD (vs. 62-66).
Regarding application…Hope For All. Vs. 60, “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.” Question: Isn’t this wonderful? Remember that God had given Solomon wisdom. It was this wisdom that helped Solomon realize the bigger picture. The blessings of Israel would help foster the promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). The road to blessings has never been an easy one. But in the midst of the darkness and possible loss of hope, God would bring His one and only son. Hope was not just for Israel. Hope is not just for the church. Hope is for all. As we continue the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, let us remember to testify of the hope we have.
Vs. 1, “It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace.” Bear in mind, Solomon’s palace wasn’t just his own residence; his palace included the whole royal complex. The fact that it took Solomon much longer to build his own palace most likely reveals that it wasn’t as pressing a need to finish in a timely manner. The Palace of the Forest of Lebanon was the royal armory and was called this because of its cedar pillars (vs. 2-5). In addition, Solomon built a colonnade (entry hall) to the Hall of Justice where he presided (vs. 6-7). Lastly, he built his own house and a house for Pharaoh’s daughter whom he took as one of his wives (vs. 8). Impressive stonework was done throughout the temple courts (vs. 9-12). The rest of the chapter (vs. 13-51) deals with the construction of the furnishings and decorations within the temple.
Regarding application…God’s Presence. Question: How would God’s people know He was with them? The temple was God’s testament of His presence. The same God that revealed His character and law at Sinai now resided with them at Zion (Jerusalem). Certainly, the LORD is not limited to just being in the temple. It was a wonderful privilege for God to show that the Israelites were a blessed nation. Through that blessing, God would reveal His ultimate plan to bless all nations (Genesis 12:1-3). As believers today, the presence of God is manifested through His Holy Spirit who dwells in our bodies. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (I Corinthians 6:19). Praise be to the Lord for He is always with us!
Vs. 5, “I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.” This was Solomon’s response to Hiram king of Tyre concerning his plan to build a temple for the LORD (vs. 1-6). Hiram had already established a good relationship with King David (II Samuel 5:11-12). Both Israel and Tyre would benefit from their treaty and the supplies that would be exchanged (vs. 7-12). Israel would receive the finest cedar (trees that grew as high as 100 feet) and in exchange offer 130,000 bushels of wheat and 120 gallons of pure olive oil. It was a great system, for Israel would help provide the manpower needed throughout the time of building (vs. 13-18). It was a gargantuan project and I hope one day we will get to see what it had once looked like; although the new heavens and earth will be amazing!
Regarding application…Building God’s Temple. One of things that cannot be ignored is the vast number of people needed to build. People with different talents and gifts were all needed to provide and construct such a grand temple. This building project is a wonderful metaphor for the church today. We are continuing to build God’s temple. Solomon could not even think about doing this on his own. Not only did they all work together, but they used the finest resources! The Apostle Paul reminds us to build on gold, silver and precious stones rather than wood, hay and stubble (I Corinthians 3:9-23). We are to give God our very best effort in helping build his church!
Vs. 1, “So King Solomon ruled over all Israel.” It was quite a time for Israel under the kingship of Solomon. Solomon’s request to rule with a discerning heart was coming to fruition. In the first half of our chapter (vs. 2-19), we are given a list of the chief officials and governors that helped run the kingdom. It reminds me that one person cannot run a kingdom; many are needed. The kingdom prospered and the vast number of provisions (vs. 20-28) given in tribute testify of this. The prophet Samuel was right when he had told Israel how a king will take much from them (I Samuel 8:10-18). The latter half of our chapter (vs. 29-34), illustrate Solomon’s wisdom in action. His knowledge rivaled all his contemporaries of the day (vs. 30-31). Solomon’s breath of knowledge was deep as he constructed proverbs, songs, and taught about nature (plants and animals). Ancient social media spread around to many nations as they heard about this wise king.
Regarding application…Prosperity Living. Vs. 20, “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.” It’s hard to fathom living in such a prosperous time. Even living in first-world countries today, there is a lack of prosperity for the general population. It’s not easy to look upon the struggles of others and us and feel a bit melancholy. There are pockets of history in time and place where people have prospered; like Solomon’s time. However, this is but a shadow of what our lives will be like one day in eternity. There will be unavoidable struggles and storms we must endure until our Lord Jesus returns a second time. Besides, it’s good not to get too comfortable with prosperous times, for He gives and takes away. As we continue in the kingdom chronicles, we will see what can happen when we put our trust in prosperity alone. Remember to keep an eternal perspective on life and praise God in both good time and bad.
Vs. 9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God offered Solomon anything he desired, and Solomon asked for a discerning heart! Let’s backtrack for a moment; now that King Solomon has established his kingdom, the marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter was a political move to ensure good relations with their neighbors (vs. 1). Solomon had already married and Ammonite woman and had a baby boy (Rehoboam) by then. Some biblical scholars speculate Pharaoh’s daughter must have renounced her religion and turned to the God of Israel. Because the temple was not yet constructed, Solomon travels to Gibeon; an important location in Israel’s early history. While sacrificing at Gibeon, the LORD came to him in a dream. Much props to Solomon for his unselfish request! And the latter half of our chapter illustrates the wisdom God would give Solomon (vs. 16-28). What a wonderful example of King Solomon’s mercy to help judge a case between two lowly prostitutes. But most importantly, we see Solomon’s wisdom in his right judgment to ascertain who was telling the truth.
Regarding application…What Do You Want? Vs. 5, “AtGibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” This past Sunday, we were reminded from Psalm 23, “…I shall not be in want.” Yet, here God is asking young Solomon ask me whatever you want. There is a difference between wanting something and needing something. However, in Solomon’s case; his wanting was something he actually needed. What a wonderful thought for us; when we walk with God, our desires/wants become aligned with God’s desires. A worldly person may want a car because it is new and has all the bells and whistles. A godly person may want a car because he/she wants to provide transportation for people to be able to come to church. Both do the same thing, but one has a much more godly intention. Take time to consider you “wants” and see if they align with what God’s word teaches us.