Solomon’s fame spread far and wide. The queen of Sheba heard how Yahweh had blessed Solomon with wisdom and wealth and she came to see for herself if it was true. She was overwhelmed and impressed with everything she saw. Real life was even greater than the rumors she had heard. She was also amazed that Solomon was able to answer all her questions so wisely. The queen said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”
Did this kind of praise and Solomon’s many accomplishments go to his head? Did Solomon believe he was invincible? Was his turning to sin gradual, just a little here, a little there? We read one chapter later in Solomon’s portion of God’s Story, of how Solomon’s love for pagan women and then his worship of their false gods was a deep offense to God. His refusal to faithfully love and obey God cost him the kingdom. Solomon was richly blessed by God but tragically turned his back on the One who gave him everything. What a lesson for us today. How slippery is the slope of sin and disobedience.
1 Kings 10:9 ESV (also in 2 Chronicles 9:8)
During the Temple dedication, the people were urged to fully commit to the Lord, live by His decrees, and obey His commands. The festivities included a lot of sacrifices, and the celebration, lead by Solomon, went on for two weeks. Everyone who attended blessed the king and went home, exuberant with heartfelt gratitude for all the good God had done for his servant David and for his people Israel.
God likes a good celebration! Let’s get good at it for a whole lot of celebrating will take place in Heaven. Heaven is the future home for all who believe. How real is Heaven to you? Are we preparing now for that final move? If you knew you were going to move from the US to Germany, studying German as soon as you could would be a great investment. When our family was relocated to London, England I learned about linguistic differences between US English and British English in a little phrase book Russell gave me. Another book, Watching the English, clued me in on many cultural distinctions that helped me relate more effectively with our new neighbors.
I smile when I hear a flight attendant say, “If such-and-such city is your final destination, weather upon landing is so-and-so.” My final destination is Heaven. Long ago Jesus not only paid for my ticket with His life on a cross, he bought my permanent citizenship. There is no need to worry about turbulence or missing a connection, and it thrills me that I will travel light; I won’t even need a carry-on! Only God knows when that flight will take place, but I love preparing for life in the home He is preparing for me by celebrating life and fully living it now.
1 Kings 8:66b MSG
The dedication and blessing of the Temple continued, and the glory of the Lord began filling the Temple. Pause here for just a minute to take that in. What exactly was it like to experience the Lord’s glory filling the Temple? Then Solomon, the king, turned around and blessed the entire congregation of Israel while they were standing… When Solomon finished praying this entire prayer and petition to the Lord, he got up from kneeling before the altar of the Lord, with his hands spread out toward heaven, and he stood and blessed the whole congregation of Israel with a loud voice: “May the Lord be praised! He has given rest to His people Israel according to all He has said. Not one of all the good promises He made through His servant Moses has failed.”
This great day was full of celebration and dedication and it reminded everyone that God keeps His promises. Life in the time of Solomon and life now has a lot of layers of differences. It helps us to better understand life then if we can try and put ourselves into the Story. Can you picture yourself as a builder who helped to construct the Temple, or as one who offered needed materials or special skills? Would you have been leading up the singing, or maybe joining in with the thankful ones who had been given a rest from war? Those present that day saw God’s glory with their own eyes! What would that have been like? The outcome was certainly joyful and both their king and their God blessed all who were assembled.
1 Kings 8:14, 54-56 HCSB (also in 2 Chronicles 6:3)
Not only was Solomon a prolific writer of wisdom literature, he also built a Temple. King David, Solomon’s influential father, was a big help to Solomon as he worked on this monumental building project. When Hiram, a friend of the late King David, heard that Solomon was the new king, he was really happy about the situation and said, “Blessed be the Lord this day, for He has given David a wise son over this great people!” Hiram also agreed to Solomon’s request for shipments of much-needed cedar and cypress timber. It was a win-win situation. With Hiram’s help and support, many men throughout the land were employed and the required supplies were gathered to build the Temple. God blessed the Temple building process from start to finish.
I can’t help but think that David would have been proud of his son Solomon like parents are when their children’s wise choices make the world a better place to live. Living an upright life is a blessing for us now and for our children who come after us.
P.S. The heat of Dubai, even in the cool season, can be oppressive. As I watched laborers, many from poor countries, operate yellow cranes, lifting heavy beams to support modern skyscrapers, I thought back to the Temple being built and all the work and wisdom it takes to make a dream a reality. Hiram blessed God for giving Solomon wisdom. Please pray with me for bosses to bless present-day laborers by generously providing for their needs.
1 Kings 5:7b NKJV
It is not clear who authored Psalm 115, but I like to think that David wrote it at the very end of his life. It begins by saying that glory does not belong to people, but to God alone. I envision David looking back on his life and thinking about history, all the way back to the creation of the world. I imagine that David breathed in and out the assurance of God’s goodness and trustworthiness.
The song rings of hope for generations yet to come – including us, and calls all to trust in God’s love and faithfulness. The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the Lord, both great and lowly. May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
God, who originated the whole blessing concept by creating all things good, will continue to bestow blessings on those who live to honor Him. David reigned over Israel for forty years, then Solomon became the king. God’s Story records in 1 Kings 2:45,“…King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain established before the Lord forever.”
Psalm 115:12-15 NLT; 1 Kings 2:45 HCSB
Could it be that David would have eliminated a whole lot of family strife if he had had fewer wives? Now another of his sons, Adonijah, positioned himself to be the new king and he had quite a committed following. Adonijah and his men were huddled for a pow-wow when they heard a noise so great that the earth split open from the sound. A messenger arrived to give them the news that Adonijah’s father, King David, had just made Solomon the new king.
“And moreover the king’s servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed himself on the bed. Also the king said thus, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!’”
David lived a full life, and one of the consistent things about him was his thankfulness to God. He did not have a trouble-free life, but David did live to bless the Lord. Maybe that is what it means to have a heart after God.
1 Kings 1:47-48 NKJV