Rules Have Reasons

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:1-8.

God had told ALL his people not to marry foreign women. Then He had Samuel write it down in the Kings’ Instruction Manual, so the king would not think he was exempt. He had warned them because these women, steeped in the idolotry of their people, would continue to practice it, and draw their husbands into it.

Solomon, because of his great wisdom, and how all the other rulers fawned over him, must have thought he could overcome that temptation. He presumed so much as to take 700 wives. and if that’s not enough, he had 300 concubines. What an ego!

Being smart does not make you godly. It makes you second guess the creator of the universe, and turn away from Him. This is why you put your devotion to God first, and not use Him as an accessory. No matter how much smarter you, who are dust, are, you are only smarter than the other dust. One day you will die and stand before the Creator of the universe with your term paper on the death if God, and it will not go well

The Queen of Sheba

Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.

And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 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.” Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. 1 Kings 10:1-10.

God not only blessed Solomon, but caused others to bless him. It boggles the mind that so many rulers bestowed so much gold on Solomon. Unfortunately, this wealth would make them an irresistible target someday.

I also could not help but look up the Queen of Sheba. Not only is she rich and powerful, for how else can you travel with such riches, but she came to test Solomon’s wisdom. This sounds like someone who is quite intelligent herself, and not used to hearing about someone smarter than she. History gives us a blurred image. She may have been from Yemin, or Somalia. This gives our imaginations at least two very different pictures. I will link the article I read here.

The Lord Appears to Solomon

As soon as Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the Lord has brought all this disaster on them.’” 1 Kings 9:1-9.

Warnings against falling away from your God are a staple of both the old and new testaments. It is not yet another thing that has “passed away,” or been “put under the blood.”

Here in America, too many people believe in a dead Jesus: a God who no longer speaks to us, demonstrates his power, or blesses us with godly leaders. It is no wonder the world does not take us seriously, waving our book of rules, that we no longer follow ourselves. We are more motivated by our political causes than the kingdom of God. Meanwhile, thousands of Americans die every day and enter an eternity of separation from God. May God have mercy on us! May we have time to turn from our worldly passions!

Solomon’s Prayer

Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61.

This day Solomon prayed for the people of Israel. Even though this was a day of great celebration, he prayed in a way that foretold all of the bad times that would come. And he did so because he ain’t gotta lie to everyone sins and that sin would separate them from God’s goodness. Why would Solomon, on this great day, bring up all of these negative things? It is because it is the reality of human living. people sin. Even when God has been kind to them beyond measure and fulfilled all his promises to them. People do forget him and walk in their own ways. So even though this was a day when the glory of God filled the temple and people have a hard time standing up under it, it was still a time to warn people about the realities of what would happen if they did forsake following God’s ways.

Today we need to hear the same warnings. Jesus can and warned us about the persecution we would suffer when we are obedient, but also the suffering we would go through when we are disobedient. In the book of Revelation there were messages sent to the seven churches of Asia. most of those churches were given stern warnings because they were walking and ways that were against the Lord. We need to hear those things again. because much of what we are suffering today in America is not because we are obedient. It is because we have been self-satisfied and have sought things instead of the kingdom of God.

Time to Build the Temple

Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” 1 Kings 5:1-6.

Conquest comes before temple building. The Lord had dwelled in tents among His people for generations. It would be this way until the land was cleansed of idolatry and His people had taken possession of the promised land.

What about us? Do we put our time and resources to work on doing ministry or raising up buildings? The early church met in homes, public places, and when necessary, hiding places. There were no church buildings for hundreds of years, until Christianity became Rome’s religion.

If we build church buildings but do not make disciples, we are not honoring God. He wants obedience, not sacrifice.