17–23 July 2016.
In the book of Kings, one of the morals that the writers want to teach us is that sin always has it’s price. Sooner or later, God’s punishment catches up with people. That’s what happened to Saul and David, and that’s what’s coming for Solomon too.
On the surface, chapters 9 and 10 seem to talk about the magnificence of Solomon’s reign. We see awe-inspiring descriptions of Solomon’s amazing wealth, and we hear about his great wisdom. There is no one in the world who seems as successful as he is. We can imagine people looking at Solomon and wishing they could be just like him!
But under the surface, things aren’t so great. Back in 1 Samuel 8, and even earlier in Deuteronomy 17:14–20, we heard about all the things bad kings will do – and Solomon is now doing quite a few of them! So in today’s text lots of little hints point us to Solomon’s arrogance, his failures, and his quickly coming destruction.
God accepts Solomon’s temple, but then directly warns Solomon that it will be destroyed if he or the people step out of line. And while the temple is nice, Solomon builds it with forced labour. He also forces the people to build a palace, a home for himself that is even grander than the home he built for God! It is so immense and luxurious, it takes twice as long to build as the temple. He takes the people’s lands and sells them to foreign kings. He builds up stores of chariots and war horses. He takes the men for his armies. His outrageous lifestyle (where not even precious silver is good enough for him) is sucking the resources from his country. This isn’t going to end well. In the next chapter we will see Solomon’s downfall come.
People admired Solomon, and today we still look at rich people and admire them too. But things aren’t always as good as they seem. Where has that money come from? Was it gained through other people’s suffering? Even if it wasn’t, all wealth is so temporary. Like Solomon, we can’t see what’s waiting just around the corner. We can’t see how everything is just about to disappear. So is there something more important than money that we could admire people for?
Pastor Stephen Lakkis