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King Solomon and the American Dream

Upon the death of King David, his and Bathsheba’s 20-year-old son, Solomon, finds himself appointed by God as Israel’s new king without a clue as to the duties of kingship.

Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah, heir apparent to the throne, was in the way. The obvious option – dispose of Adonijah in defiance of Bathsheba’s wishes, and follow that with the execution of Joab, commander of David’s army, but loyal to Adonijah. Now that that’s done, where do we go from here?

God meeting us in the high (or low) places:

1 Kings 3:3 gives us a clue: “Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, EXCEPT he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.” Where we might go when we feel insecure, then, is to the high places, or in my case to the low places! How about you?

God apparently meets us where we ought not to be, in Solomon’s case at Gibeon, one of those high places, where he sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar (v. 5). Despite all that, God appears to him in a dream there and invites him to ask what he wished Him to give him.

“…You have made your servant king in place of my father, David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in” (v. 7). “So, give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people to discern between good and evil” (v. 9). God is so pleased that He not only grants Solomon his wish but throws in riches in abundance. Livin the dream!

Wisdom without self-discipline:

We find in Solomon something that ought to have been self-evident: Wisdom and self-discipline are separate and distinct virtues. We may know what we should be doing but do we intend to do it? We can go to the altar, but do we really intend to follow Jesus? Where does all this take us?

Well; for us Americans, they say we gravitate toward “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll”. For Solomon, he appears not to have gotten far beyond the sex part. He is reported to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines, all of which may have led him to write, “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Prov. 21:9). That went well!

So how did Solomon measure up to Elon Musk in the billionaire department? Eccl. 2 offers us a clue: “…I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me, because everything is futility and striving after the wind” (v. 17). “…I hated all the fruits of my labor, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool” (vv.18, 19). On point, on Solomon’s death, Israel divided into 2 kingdoms.

Here we are, then, the Confessing Church in America building empires to God, leaving most of them to fools who can’t seem to get beyond sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, and politics”. In the words of Solomon, “That which has been is that which will be…so, there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). (Except, that is, maybe an invitation to the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C.?)

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