Saturday, January 3, 2015

My name is Adrielle and I’m starting something new!  I'll have this written blog in addition to a video blog which will have everything I talk about here on  This way, if you’re like me and on the go much of the time and/or you don’t have much time to sit and read more than a short quip, you can listen on the go!  But if you’d rather grab a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate, snuggle into a blanket and read, then the written blog is for you!  Today I’ll be sharing what I've gleaned from reading about King Solomon in 1Kings.

One of the greatest and wealthiest kings in all of history is King Solomon.  The stories of his wealth, riches and wisdom are legendary.  Maybe you've also heard of the immense favor he had with God too.  God gave Solomon all he ever wanted and far more then he asked!  For a time, Solomon walked rightly with God and honored him in all that he did and carefully followed the commandments and statutes of the Lord.  There were fractures in his path that would eventually lead him away from God, fractures that slowly bent his attention and intentions away from God.  However, we can learn a lot from this king!  Here's what I learned.

Something must have happened at the end of the 20 year building of the temple of God and the King’s own house.  I believe that “something” was a seed of fear that crept in.  You see, when God first appeared to Solomon, he told him he would bless him if he followed God as David did.  In God’s second appearance to Solomon, he affirms the original covenant but adds a warning saying “but if you or your sons at all turn from following me…” and details the judgment that would follow if he rebelled. If we look carefully, we can start to consider what happened.

Within Solomon’s story, there is one of those mini stories that are often plopped in the middle of a bigger story, perhaps to see if we are paying attention.  Here we learn of a rather uneven gift exchange between Solomon and Hiram.  Hiram, a family friend, was given 20 cities in the land of Galilee. This seems like a really nice gift except we learn that when Hiram went to see them he was not at all impressed or thrilled with them.  In fact, he was so turned off by these cities, that he named them the Land of Cabul which literally means “good for nothing”.  Now that makes me think!  Why would Solomon, the man who has it all, give such a cheap gift to someone who had been such a valuable friend and asset building the house of God and Solomon’s kingdom?  Solomon wasn't lacking, he didn't have to worry about if he had enough to pay the bills…he had everything - he had more than any other kingdom and yet here we see this little snapshot with possibly the first seed of fear sprouting it’s ugly head.  Why do I think it was fear?  Why else would the king give a cheap gift to such a valuable friend? Fear makes fools of the best of us.

 Next he has a pinnacle moment in his life when the queen of Sheba comes to visit him and question him to see if his wide spread fame lives up to its hype.   He is able to answer every one of her questions…

"nothing was so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her." 1Kings 10:3

…and impress her with his knowledge and riches. This should have been a turning point for the positive, a crowning achievement, a happy ending – and he lived happily ever after…but we see afterwards that his focus shifted.  It’s as if he gets bored after that encounter and then occupies his time figuring out all the ways he can spend his fortunes. Maybe finishing such a great feat like building the temple and finishing everything his father had commanded him left him listless and unsure of what was next.  Peace is a wonderful thing, but it can also leave opportunity for the mind to wander. Maybe the queen had more of an effect than she thought.  Maybe while they were chatting, she made a few side quips before he took her breath away with his astounding wisdom.  Perhaps as he was giving her the grand tour, there were comments like this:

“Really? You only have 25,000 horses? We have at least 40,000…”
“huh… so you only have gold shields for your God’s house, that’s interesting…”
“What a beautiful throne you have!  You know I've heard so and so has an ivory throne, it’s really a spectacular site to see!  Your throne is so tasteful though…”

Those wonderful kinds of comments will eat into your brain if you let them – those are the real test!  Maybe he was naive to all his riches before? Maybe because it had always been a part of his life, he never really noticed all he had? Maybe having the most beautiful queen in history, travel 1,200 miles just to see him was similar to eating the apple in the Garden of Eden. Maybe this experience is what opened his eyes to what was all around him all along and it went straight to his head… suddenly making it all about him.

We may never know what exactly happened or what caused the shift, but what we do know is that he began building everything out of gold – (paraphrasing from 1Kings 10) 300 shields of gold, his throne was made of ivory and overlaid with gold, there were 12 lions on each side of the six steps- gold, drinking vessels - all gold, etc.  Nothing was silver because it too "common".   He surrounded himself, inundated himself day in and day out with stuff.  Gold stuff! These are not bad things in and of themselves but they seem to become his focus.  The atmosphere shifted and seemingly smaller compromises chipped away at the man, his relationship with God, his character and eventually his kingdom. He began to gather chariots, Horsemen and horses from Egypt. Why does this matter?  Well let’s look in Deuteronomy 17:16.

 "Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you ‘you shall not return that way again’."  

Horses were a symbol of strength and Egypt had many horses. The children of Israel were constantly looking back to Egypt with rose colored glasses!  They were enslaved there yet trusted in that strength more than God (note how reluctant they were to leave with the man God sent to rescue them). God knows how much we like to trust in our own strength and how much we like to feel safe. He wanted the Kings to trust in Him, not in their own strength and to be the leading example of this to the Israelites. God gave Solomon far more than he asked for- He established his kingdom for him so that they literally "lacked nothing".  So why did Solomon multiply horses and import them from Egypt?  Well, unfortunately that’s not where the unhealthy pattern ends..  In 1 Kings 11 we see that King Solomon

“loved many foreign women as well as the daughter of Pharaoh. He loved the women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel "you shall not intermarry with them nor they with you.  Surely they will turn away your hearts after other gods".

But the Bible says that Solomon clung to these in love! 1 Kings goes on to say "He had several hundred wives, princesses and 300 concubines"!  Can you imagine??  Unfortunately, his wives did exactly what God warned about - they turned his heart away from God.

Isn't it fascinating how famished and thirsty we become when trying to fill that empty void with worldly things?  Especially after we've tasted the bread and water of life?  Solomon was so thirsty and empty that literally all the gold and wealth of the world, all the most beautiful women, the most abundance one man has ever in all of history possessed, and still… he’s clinging, searching, wanting more, falling further and further from grace trying to find what he once had so many years before.

Yet God in his love and mercy had already prepared his people years before!  In Deuteronomy 18:17 He said…

"Neither shall he multiply wives for himself lest his heart turn away nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself".

God is always trying to protect his people from their own hearts. He always prepares us for success!  In Deuteronomy 18:18-20 He said

 "All so it shall be when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites and it shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right-hand or to the left and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel."

God is so kind!  He laid it all out for us; His word tells us why these things are important and what the rewards are for following Him.  God loves to prosper His people, and He does it extravagantly every time!  Solomon isn’t the only one, look at Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph!  Plus the story of Esther, Ruth and Naomi! Our only responsibility is to keep our eyes fixed on Him and to remain focused no matter what comes our way!  Easier said than done, but just think of how a whole kingdom was blessed because of one man’s obedience.  They prospered because he prospered! If you’re running a business, when your company does well, your employees will reap that benefit! Consider how Solomon’s fame grew and how the nations knew it was because of the God he served!  You want to spread the gospel? Be famously blessed! Show the world that you serve an amazing, extravagant and loving God and then go spread that blessing around!   Talk about making an impact!!

Well I hope this was useful for you and you should know that as always, I’m preaching to myself just as much as I’m preaching to anyone who might be listening.

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