1 Kings 8 & 9 must have been exciting chapters for Jesus growing up. They tell of Solomon building the temple and give some intricate details of what all he put in the Temple. I can see Jesus' ears perked up as he listened to each word and detail. What an exciting time in Israels history. The long talked about Temple finally being completed. Years of gathering items for it by David, rumors of its grand design, finally opened up for all to see.
Solomon dedicates the temple with a well spoken prayer in 8:28-29
". . . Give attention to your servants prayer and plea for mercy o Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ' My Name shall be there. . ."
And then Jesus would have read on till he saw the answer of God to Solomon in 9:3
"I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me. I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting My Name there forever. My eyes and heart will always be there."
What glorious words to Jesus as he grew in his wisdom and understanding and favor with God and Man. As Jesus began to realize he was the sent Messiah, God in the flesh. Jesus would have joined Solomons prayer of asking his Father to put His Name on him and to set His eyes on him to always give attention to the prayers of Jesus. Jesus consecrated himself to His Father to love and obey him and to offer himself as a living sacrifice before his Father.
And God, just like he answered Solomon, answered the burning desire of Jesus' heart and verified His commitment to Jesus when He said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Effectively saying to Jesus, "I have heard your prayer and plea you have set before me Son, I have consecrated you by putting My Name on you forever, and My eyes and heart will always be upon you!"
What strength this gave Jesus as he pressed on toward his goal of the high calling of God on his life! To be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! To be the embodiment of God almighty in the flesh! To be the living temple of God.
I am so glad these historical writings were written to Impact Jesus so his life could impact me!
The stories written for Jesus to learn from are a constant balance of encouragement in the right path and warning of the pitfalls of turning away from God.
Solomon is the greatest king to have ever lived. His wisdom and wealth have been raved about around the world. In 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba comes to see all this for herself, in her heart thinking all the stories were making a mountain out of a mole hill. However, once she lays eyes on Solomons kingdom and ask him tough questions for which he had an answer for all, she states: "Indeed, not even half was told me: in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I have heard!" 10:7
Solomon had it all plus more!!!
Then we run into the warning. Solomon loved many women and especially those from other nations. He took wives from nations that God had told Israel to never intermarry with. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Chapter 11 tells us that these women turned Solomons heart away from serving God alone. Solomon began to add worship of false gods to his daily practices in order to please his wives. Because of this, Solomon's family would live in a constant state of disunity and fighting. Had Solomon stayed true to his worship of God alone, his family would have continued to reign in Jerusalem forever. But now the house of Israel would divide and constant friction between the two would follow.
All his wisdom and wealth did not keep Solomon from falling prey to the enchantments of this world. Solomon chose to disobey God, using his own wisdom and logic and desire as justification.
In Solomon, Jesus saw both sides of human nature again. He saw a man ask God for discernment and receive wisdom beyond any man living before. He saw a man who's heart desired to build God a temple, and he was allowed to complete it and amass wealth beyond measure. He saw a man who was twice offered a presence with God himself. But he also saw a man who chose to pursue his own wisdom and own desires despite the fact they were in opposition to God. He saw a man place his own wisdom and knowledge above the commands of God, and Jesus saw the result of that choice.
Jesus too longed to live with discernment. He longed to have his temple filled with the presence of God himself. Jesus longed to please the Lord and have his life blessed. He also was faced with the temptations of this world. He was offered wealth, fame, power, and prestige. He was faced with the temptation of the love of women who might pull his heart away. Jesus faced everything that I do each day, that Solomon did, but because he was able to read and learn from the mistakes of the wisest man who ever lived, Jesus knew he could not rely on his own wisdom, logic, or desires to make his choices. He would have to remain obedient to the decrees and commands of God and 100% rely on the power of the Spirit to keep him from falling prey to the desires of pleasing others over pleasing God.
David fell prey to his laziness, lust of the eyes, and lies to protect his reputation.
Solomon was overtaken by the list of his flesh which gave way to serving other gods in order to please his many wives. (700 wives and 300 concubines)
Rehoboam, the chosen son of Solomon the Wise, fell prey to his pride and the foolish council of his peers.
Jeroboam, son of Nebat, chosen to lead the 10 tribes of Israel, gave way to idolatry because he feared losing his position of prominence with the people.
All these men were placed in their position by God, and told He would sustain them. However, some powerful words began to disappear from the text as time went by. Those words are "inquired of the Lord."
David, a man after Gods own heart, known as the friend of God, lost his way because he stopped inquiring of the Lord. What was his common practice as a young man waned as he grew older and obtained more power.
Solomon, the wisest man ever to live, given discernment to lead Israel by God himself, as well as, wealth and power beyond imagination, failed to continue asking God to lead once he was known as a wise king. This led to poor choices and idol worship.
Jeroboam was promised by God to lead 10 tribes of Israel, but his fear of people returning to Jerusalem to worship in the temple might cause them to again serve Rehoboam, led Jeroboam to set up two golden calves and declare, "Behold Israel, the gods who led you out of Egypt."
Rehoboam, the proud descendent of Solomon the wise, abandoned wise council from his father's advisers in favor of young "punks" and it cost him 5/6 of his kingdom.
What is missing from all this is that these men started leaning on their own understanding, and stop inquiring of God for His wisdom. Thus begins the "descent into madness" for both Israel and Judah as they continually turned their backs on the Lord.
As Jesus reads this, it is clear that he picked up on this detail in the history books as well. How do I know it is clear? Because Jesus continued his practice of "inquiring of the Lord." Even after his rise in popularity with the people, he would go to be alone and pray (inquire of the Lord). Even when all men were amazed by his wisdom, he continued to draw away to quiet places to be with his Father (inquiring of the Lord). No matter the wealth offered him (all the kingdoms of the world) Jesus counted it all as garbage compared to the unsurpassable glory of inquiring of His Dad!
Although Jesus cherished and respected David, Solomon, and others in the OT. Jesus noticed that true power, true wisdom, and true wealth was found only in inquiring of the Lord.
I pray today that although my heart longs to be known as a man after Gods own heart like David, and I desire to be wise, wealthy, and powerful in the eyes of men like Solomon, I pray I will be like Jesus and allow the impact of these stories to take hold in my life and I would forever cling to the heavenly riches and wisdom found only in "inquiring of the Lord."
Ahh. And the madness has begun. 1 Kings 14 and 15 start the deep dive into a history of deeper and deeper sin for the kings of Israel. One king after the other doing even more wicked sins than the one before. Betrayals. Murders. What a history to read as a young Jewish boy.
However, in 1 Kings 14:21, one name really jumped out at me. Naamah. This is the name of Rehoboams mother. The one wife out of 700 whose name is mentioned because she was the mother of the next king after Solomon. That means she is also directly a part of the family tree of Jesus. Why did her name jump out? Because she was an Ammonite.
Off all the women who Solomon married, Naamah is chosen to be the bearer of the family line of Jesus. Even though her son was not a righteous king, still her place in Jesus' family stands out. In Deuteronomy 23:3, the Moabite and Ammonite people are forbidden from entering the dwelling place of the Lord. They were a despised people. Yet here she is, now a part of Jesus' family heritage.
As Jesus reflects on this woman and also thinking of Ruth the Moabitess, how he must have seen the immense mercy of God. Two women, two forbidden nations, both directly a part of his lineage. Those who had been cast out, now redeemed and part of his family.
These acts of mercy deeply impacted Jesus as he lived his life. The mercy and compassion he showed all whom he met was learned by seeing the overwhelming love and grace of His Father.
May my heart be merciful and kind, always looking to redeem those who seemingly are cast aside. May my heart be like that of my Father's, like that of my Savior's, who looked at me, one forbidden to enter his dwelling place, now forever in His presence in His son, Jesus Christ.