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Bible Pathways 04/25/2002

April 25

Read 1 Kings 9 -- 11

In Today's Reading:

A solemn warning to Solomon: If [you will] walk before Me, as David [your] father walked (1 Kings 9:4) · Alliance with King Hiram of Tyre brings ships and sailors · King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom (10:23) · The corrupting influence of wealth, power, and notoriety caused Solomon to forsake God and to face His condemnation.

Verses for Today:

He said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee . . . Because . . . they have forsaken Me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:31).

When Solomon began his reign we have high hopes, for we read: Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father (1 Kings 3:3).

To keep the king from breaking his covenant relationship with the Lord, God gave four guidelines which every king must observe. (1) The king was to be a diligent student of God's Word. He was to read it all the days of his life (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

Did Solomon think that, because of his position, he was just too busy building his empire to take time to write a copy of this Law [from the book kept by] the priests the Levites (17:18)? Perhaps he thought that sometime in the future he would have more time. It should be no surprise to us that not one prophet of God was prominent during Solomon's ambitious reign.

Reading God's Word has a twofold effect. One, it is a reminder of what the will of God is. Two, it has the power to impart strength to overcome the temptations of the devil, even as his father King David had recorded: Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee (Psalms 119:11). When we are not faithfully reading God's Word, sin doesn't seem so sinful and we begin to live like the world.

(2) The king was not to multiply to himself silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:17). Sadly we read that: The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold. . . . So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches. . . . And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones (1 Kings 10:14). Did Solomon assume that building the most sacred Temple in history, praying the longest prayer at its dedication, and offering the most sacrifices meant that he didn't need to read God's Word or get counsel from the prophets?

(3) He was not to multiply horses to himself (Deuteronomy 17:16). But, Solomon had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen (1 Kings 10:26), a reminder to the world of his powerful military strength. But, God wanted to impress the world with His ability to protect His people.

(4) The king was not to multiply wives to himself (Deuteronomy 17:17). Solomon loved many [foreign] women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites. . . . [Eventually] His wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father (1 Kings 11:1). Solomon had 700 official wives and 300 concubines (11:3). He not only chose daughters of pagan kings for his wives, rather than the godly daughters of the priests of God, he even set up idols for his heathen wives to worship their gods. This also had been expressly forbidden in the Law (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). Even more pathetic, there is no indication that Solomon made an effort to encourage any of his wives to worship the One True God. To do this would have interfered with his political agenda. Marrying daughters of foreign kings insured peace between their countries.

But, we are shocked to read that Solomon went after (worshiped) Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. . . . Solomon [built a] high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab . . . and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon (1 Kings 11:5).

Eventually we read: The Lord was angry with Solomon. . . . [because] He kept not . . . the [Lord's commandment]. Wherefore the Lord said to Solomon . . . I will surely rend the kingdom from [you], and will give it to [your] servant (11:9-11).

Surely Solomon did not begin his reign thinking that he would ever worship idols, plan to destroy his life as well as the kingdom. How tragic that many today are following in the footsteps of Solomon: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).

Christ Portrayed:

By David who walked before the Lord in integrity of heart (1 Kings 9:4). Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in [favor] with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Word Studies:

9:8 hiss = scoff, ridicule; 9:13 Cabul = unproductive wasteland; 9:15 levy = forced labor; 9:22 bondmen = forced laborers; 9:24 Millo = a mound of earth raised as a fortress; 10:2 train = royal attendants; 10:5 there was no more spirit in her = she was overwhelmed, amazed; 10:19 stays = armrests; 10:21 nothing accounted of = not considered of value; 10:24 sought = consulted; 10:26 bestowed = stationed; 11:1 strange = foreign; 11:5 abomination = horrible, detestable idol; 11:31 rend = tear.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ) · Pray for your Church · Country: Canada (31 million) in North America · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 47% Roman Catholic; 37% Protestant; 3% Eastern Orthodox; 2% cults; 1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Diligently seek the guidance of the Lord (Proverbs 8:17).

Optional Reading: Acts 26

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:165

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