May 21

Read 2 Chronicles 1 -- 3

In Today's Reading:

Solomon's sacrifices; his dream of praying for wisdom; his accumulation of chariots and horsemen; dimensions of and materials for the Temple; Solomon builds the Temple.

Verse for Today:

So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the Tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness (2 Chronicles 1:3).

King Solomon, who eventually was responsible for the division of the Kingdom, began his reign in submission to the Lord. The Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. . . . Solomon, and all the congrega tion with him, went to . . . Gibeon (about six miles northwest of Jerusalem). . . . And Solomon went up . . . to the Brasen Altar before the Lord, which was at the Tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it. In that night (while he was sleeping) . . . God [appeared to him] (in a dream) (2 Chronicles 1:1-7). In I Kings we have additional details of this event. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream . . . and God said, Ask what I shall give [you]. . . . And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream (1 Kings 3:5).

In this dream, Solomon said unto God. . . . Give me . . . wisdom and knowledge . . . for who can judge this Thy people, that is so great? (2 Chronicles 1:8-10). Through this dream the Lord was revealing to Solomon that his greatest need was the wisdom and knowledge of God available through obedience to His Word.

Our dreams are beyond our conscious control, but God often uses them to reveal His will for us as He did with Joseph. Joseph's dreams concerning his future rule over his brothers were in the mind of God and not in the plans of Joseph (Genesis 37:5-11). Thankfully, through his dreams, Joseph recognized the utmost importance of remaining faithful to the Lord. In contrast, Solomon did not let his dream stand in the way of his personal ambitions.

Following the sacrifices at Gibeon, Solomon began accumulating massive numbers of horses, chariots and horsemen (2 Chronicles 1:14; 9:25; 1 Kings 4:26). They surely impressed the caravans traveling to and from Syria, Assyria, and Mesopotamia in the North and East; Egypt in the Southwest; Moab in the East; and Philistia in the West.

But, God had commanded that the king shall not multiply horses to himself. . . . Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:16-17). Solomon ignored all three of these commandments. But his most serious neglect was the fourth commandment to Israel's kings: He shall write him a copy of this Law in a book. . . . and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law . . . to do them (17:18-19).

Solomon amassed wealth to the extent that he made silver and gold at Jerusalem as [plentiful] as stones (2 Chronicles 1:15). He was also warned not to cause the people to return to Egypt. But his first wife was the daughter of Pharaoh. Solomon loved many [foreign] women (1 Kings 11:1), who worshiped false, pagan gods, and Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt (10:28; 1 Chronicles 1:16).

In our few short years on earth, it makes little difference whether or not we become famous, powerful, or wealthy. What is most important is that we recognize that God has first claim on our abilities and on our use of them. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4).

Christ Revealed:

By the thousand burnt offerings of Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:6). We can be thankful that the one perfect offering of Christ on the cross did away with the need for many and continual individual offerings. He . . . offered one sacrifice for sins for ever (Romans 6:10-11; Hebrews 10:10-12).

Word Studies:

2:2 told out = assigned; hew = to cut stones; 2:7 cunning = skillful; skill to grave = skillful in engraving; that can skill = has skill to; 2:14 find out every device = skillful to execute any design; 2:16 floats = rafts; 3:5 ceiled = paneled; 3:10 of image work = fashioned by carving; 3:16 oracle = inner sanctuary.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Fiji (813,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: English and Fijian · Religious freedom · 41% Hindu; 40% Protestant; 9% Roman Catholic; 8% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Call unto the Lord and He will give you strength to overcome (Jeremiah 33:3).

Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 8

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 6:17