Aug 16 2020 1 Kings - Pt 2 - Solomon and the Patience of God
23rd August 2020
Solomon becomes king in chapter 1 – in Chapter 2, Solomon solidifies his position – either by exiling or killing his rivals. This happens in some places even to this day. It happens here, but we don’t kill or exile, but attack through the media and advertisements. We eliminate our rivals.
In chapter 2, neither God nor the writer approve or disapprove of Solomon’s actions. The point is not the events and the things that are done -but there are two primary points of the book. It is written during the exile and tries to explain why Israel finds themselves in exile.
The second point – and the one we’ll focus on today – he is showing through the writing the character of God that relates to his patience, mercy, and faithfulness in relation to us.
1 Kings 3: Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem.
Again, no judgment – but there are things that are warned against.
Some think, he finished building the palace, the temple – and some think that he has the wrong priorities, building his own house first. Later you see it differently. But you might be seeing that he doesn’t have his priorities right.
. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD. 3 Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
High places are where the other gods of the world were worshiped – and this is condemned throughout the Old Testament. This is the first criticism we see of Solomon.
In the parallel version in Chronicles – it doesn’t mention this – it leaves it out.
There is a purpose in the writing of this book and the time it was written. Chronicles is written much later – after they’ve returned from exile – so Chronicles is putting a positive spin on things giving hope for the future.
4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
When we read this – we are getting mixed signals. First – he is told not to go to the high places – and then when he does, God comes to him in a dream. It is fascinating. And there is a hint here – a thousand burnt offerings. We would think – this guy is really doing something. We think – wow – what a Christian when someone reads their Bible for 3 hours a day. Maybe, maybe not.
The big problem and downfall of Solomon: Excess and extravagance. I’m sure he is doing this with a proper heart – but it is revealing something going on inside of him.
They went to Gibeon – because that is where the tent of the Lord was. That was where the ark was originally kept – but Kings mentions this, but Chronicles does not. Again, Chronicles is looking at the future – for David to always have a descendant on the throne, there is another descendant coming. Chronicles is looking to Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate savior, the ultimate descendant of David – the one that will make everything right. We get to live in that experience.
The story goes on:
6 Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 "Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.
We see some really positive things here – he is this mix of good and bad. Like all of us are! Here, he is thankful – and expresses confidence and trust in God and his word…
8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?" 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.
The next thing we see – there is this great heart of humility. It’s kind of like he recognizes he is in over his head – and asks God for wisdom.
One thing he is doing? Questioning his original decision-making. He has this dream and thinks – am I doing this wrong? I better get some help. We jump in with good hearts without looking to God for wisdom and direction.
The Lord was pleased that Solomon asked for wisdom.
We must not see God’s pleasure with Solomon’s request that He is pleased with all of Solomon’s behavior.
11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both wealth and honor
There is a contrast – early, there is political power, human power – but in chapter 3 – we see it is leaving underlying issues unaddressed…
Nor have you asked for the death of your enemies… but Solomon had already taken care of most of them – but God is saying – pull back!
14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." 15 Then Solomon awoke--and he realized it had been a dream.
This next line is pivotal:
He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.
Do you see it?
The theme of the book of Kings – one God, one people of God – one place of worship. But we saw that they were sacrificing all over the place. Solomon goes out to the great high place and offers all these sacrifices… and has this dream – and where does he go? To the one place. The only place – Jerusalem – Where God wanted him to worship and offer sacrifices
Chapters 4-9 – 20 years of growth and prosperity… Builds the temple… builds his palace. 20 years of prosperity – and then things fall apart. Why? In chapters 9-11 – we got a hint of Solomon’s excessive and extravagant lifestyle.
First – hoarding gold and wealth. Greed. 12 times from the end of Chapter 9-Chapter 10 – it talks of him multiplying Gold – then chariots and horses – power. Then he multiplies wives – 700 wives and 300 mistresses. That is a few too many! Fourth – he cooperates with Egypt. Egypt represents the world.
14 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us, 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, "You are not to go back that way again." 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
Solomon did all of these.
We see a lot of the kings doing this.
There is a bit of paradox in this – since God had told him:
11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,
13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both wealth and honor--so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
So God is the one who blessed Solomon with wealth. But here is the interesting part – in Chapters 4-9 – the blessing is food and resources to be shared with the nation. It is not about Solomon – but in the middle of chapter 9 – the wealth is focused on Solomon and his cronies who are using it.
We see the wisdom and power of God bringing about blessing, success, and flourishing. But human wisdom – and there are so many warnings – that bring about failure.
We must learn to trust in the wisdom of God.
3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 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. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites.
Last week, we looked at how Solomon is a mixture of good and bad – as are we – and this week, the focus is on the patience of God in spite of human failure. The way these passages are written give us a window into how God is.
The ‘Condescension of God’ – we use the term as a put-down. But this is a different way of looking at things. God lowers himself to come down to our level. That is how God deals with us. We see this fully in Jesus – God became one of us – so He would understand about us. He understands our weaknesses and frailty – and He deals with that. We think God looks down on us – but he COMES DOWN to us. He understands your weakness and flaws – and he comes to partner with us so that we can be a part of the community of God – the trinitarian community, in one sense, and being coworkers – moving forward, but we fall back = and God gets that and is patient with it.
In Kings - They do horrible things – and I don’t think any of us are offering our children to Molech! But God is unbelievably long-suffering. And it ultimately works out in Jesus.
How does this partnership with God, because of His grace and mercy, actually work? Without God we can’t do anything. We would be just like these kings.
“All of us – for those of us who have had children – let’s say it is mom’s birthday – and you have a five-year-old. And Dad takes the youngster out to Sprawl-mart to buy a gift for mom. He gives the child $10 for mom – but really for the child – but for mom – and they go home and wrap the gift. Then on the birthday, the child takes that gift to the mom. And the child did nothing to get that gift – but the child believes it is from that child. Mom knows, it is coming fully from the heart of the child.
This is how it is with God – the $10 comes from God – and any service we use that for – is fully from us, even though it is fully from God.
Lord, thank You for Your Son – the great gift – much more than $10! And we offer ourselves – Romans says that our sacrifice is acceptable because it comes from Your Son and through us – and back to you -