Today: [2 Chronicles Eight] Solomon in His Glory. In this chapter we find Solomon is 40 years of age and at the height of his glory. He builds cities and stores up his riches. He wages war and walks in total victory. Everything he puts his hand to prospers beyond all imagining. He is the wealthiest man who has ever lived, perhaps even down to our own day. At the same time Solomon made concessions for himself and largely ignored the specific instructions of Moses regarding the law of kings. He exempted himself and made excuses for why he was not expected to obey Moses. The cost at first was minimal but the legacy of Solomon’s lukewarmness eventually destroys the nation and leads to their captivity.
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[2Ch 8:1-18 KJV] 1 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house, 2 That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. 3 And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it. 4 And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. 5 Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; 6 And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.
Solomon was seven years in building the temple commissioned by his father David. He was 13 years building his own house and a palace as well for the daughter of the king of Egypt who was apparently his primary wife. David has indoctrinated his son Solomon with the heart of a builder. He carried out major improvements in Jerusalem and in cities throughout Israel. There were cities built for defence and cities built for military build up – the manufacture of chariots, raising of horse flesh and entire cities whose sole purpose was to store up the wealth of the kingdom of Israel and Solomon’s personal wealth. There is mention of the cities of Hiram being returned to Solomon. We read elsewhere that Solomon paid Hiram for his assistance in building the temple. The payment was in ceding cities to Tyre that Hiram found unacceptable and therefore abandoned them, returning them to Solomon. Solomon does not ignore these territories but repaired them as a matter of honor but had to compel his own citizens to live there apparently not by their first choice.
Now in building entire cities for the development of chariots and increase of horses Solomon is ignoring Deut. 17:6 whic says that the king of Israel should not multiply horses and chariots to himself. Solomon is ignoring the words of his own father in Psa. 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of the Lord our God…” At this juncture Solomon is approximately 40 years of age and already showing a definite cooling off in his relationship and fidelity to the God of his father.
Where do we place our security? Are we putting our trust in our resources or our job or possessions? When things such as these are threatened our faith or lack of faith is revealed in the stress level that rises when our false depedencies are put at risk. How do we avoid this? Intimacy with God and seperation from the pervasive influence of the world is very important in fostering and maintaining a strong and confident relationship with the Lord. Solomon was a cosmopolitan king – a citizen of the world. The more Solomon filled his life with the luxury and the influences of the world around him the more his faith waned until eventually he becomes steeped in idolatry and pagan rituals and lifestyle. In our day the influence of the world is as close as our finger tips. We don’t have to get out of bed to come under the influence of those who would make merchandise of our attention span. The average attention placed upon a web page is less than 2 seconds. Whether in our cars or our homes or on the job we have an inestimable number of resources in media vying for our attention and for our dollars. If there was ever a word for believers who seriously want to sequester themselves to the heart of God it is limit your exposure to the media. We don’t have to know what is going on in the world at every given moment. Over exposure to the internet, television, etc., gives us a spiritual life that is a mile wide and only one inch deep.
7 [As for] all the people [that were] left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which [were] not of Israel, 8 [But] of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day. 9 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they [were] men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen. 10 And these [were] the chief of king Solomon’s officers, [even] two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people. 11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because [the places are] holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.
During Solomon’s riegn the last vestiges of the people of Canaan are put to tribute. It was God’s plan revealed through Moses that these nations be destroyed altogether but when the people of Israel came into the promised land they very often refused to obey in this area. Instead of eliminating these tribes they put them to tribute, made treaties with them, intermarried with them and as a result the seeds were sown for the adulteration of the pure worship of Jehovah that reaches even to the courts of king Solomon. The temple indeed has been built but the the heart even of king Solomon is far from walking in an unquestioned fidelity to God.
What might Solomon’s response have been when reading in the scriptures that the king is not to multiply horses to himself? What was his reasoning when he put the nations to tribute that Moses and the law commanded to be destroyed altogether? No doubt he might have said what many say today when they read the word: “Well the bible says a lot of things – but that isn’t what it meant…” “That command was for back then – culture has changed, things are different now – you can’t take it literally.” These arguements are easily adopted and if we are not careful we will use them as an excuse to ignore issues of accountability to God’s word. We live in a day when personal accountability is a lower priority than individual liberty. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. When we read in the scripture we must ask ourselves “do we actually believe all this stuff?”. The bible is given to us in it’s entirety. If we pick and choose what we will believe and act on and what we will ignore then we have adulterated what it means to be a Christian. Jesus warned the Pharisees that they had made the word of God of none effect by their traditions. We must pause before we read a passage and lightly dismiss it as not applicable to our situation. Solomon did this in many instances and though it may not have exacted a great cost at the time eventually the nation of Israel is scandalized, ravaged and destroyed by the comprimises and lukewarm, anemic response Solomon demonstrated in regard to the faith of his father David.
12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch, 13 Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, [even] in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles. 14 And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. 15 And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures. 16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. [So] the house of the LORD was perfected. 17 Then went Solomon to Eziongeber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom. 18 And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought [them] to king Solomon.
Solomon in all of his conquest and aquistion of wealth was very metiulous to set up and maintain the order of the priesthood according to the directions of his father David. Solomon was carrying out the testimony of David his father “the man of God” as stated in verse 15. But what about his own walk with God? In his youth – when he was small in his own eyes Solomon cried out to God and was given wisdom and understanding to make right decisions. As Solomon gets older he leans on his own understanding and makes decisions contrary to God’s word regarding the conduct of the king. In the short term there was no real cost exacted upon Solomon or upon his kingdom – but in the process of time the kings that came after Solomon took the example set by him to their extremes and eventually the kingdom was taken from them.
It has been said what we allow in moderation our children and those we influence will take to excess. There was no one to hold Solomon accountable. The prophets that counseled David every day are seemingly silent in Solomon’s day. Could it be that they knew Solomon would not listen? Had Solomon bought them off with comfortable lifestyles and they weren’t willing to hold Solomon accountable? Whatever the case may be the band plays on and comprimises are made – eventually to the great misfortune of the people and the nation called by God’s name.
In our own life we have to ask ourselves – what will our lives look like when we come into our own? Are there areas of comprimise and casual attitudes toward the things of God that we are allowing ourselves? What aspects of scripture and God’s word do we lightly dismiss as not applicable to our situation? Are we living life with a listening ear to the voice of God or are we influenced by many voices in the world vying for our attention? Solomon lived his life beyond being made accountable by anyone but himself. We must make a choice to live out our walk with God under our own recognizance. Our friends will never call us into accountability and our enemies are too busy pursuing their own twisted agenda. We must ask ourselves what does the word of God say to us and do we even believe it is applicable to our lives? Then from that posture of teachableness and transparency we can hopefully feel after and find the place in life that God continues to be pleased with our choices and we spare ourselves and those that come after us the perils that eventually befell Solomon.
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