Wednesday, January 19, 2022

2022.01.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 4

Read 1 Kings 4

Questions from the Scripture text: Over whom was Solomon King (1 Kings 4:1)? Whom do 1 Kings 4:2-6 describe? What kinds of officials did he have? Whom else did Solomon have (1 Kings 4:7a)? What did they do (verse 7b)? Who were they and from where (1 Kings 4:8-19)? What unique things are said about Ben-Abinadab (1 Kings 4:11)? Ahimaaz (1 Kings 4:15)? Geber (1 Kings 4:19)? How are the people described in 1 Kings 4:20? What is their number? What is their condition? Over what lands/area did Solomon rule (1 Kings 4:211 Kings 4:24)? What did they do (end of 1 Kings 4:21)? What do 1 Kings 4:22-23 describe? What’s the point? What was the condition of his own people (1 Kings 4:25)? What do 1 Kings 4:26-28 describe? What did God give Solomon (1 Kings 4:29)? Even more than whom (1 Kings 4:30-31a)? With what result (verse 31b)? What did he speak/write (1 Kings 4:32)? About what sorts of things (1 Kings 4:33)? And who did what (1 Kings 4:34)? 

Chapter three ended with all Israel hearing of Solomon’s wisdom and fearing him. Chapter four now concludes with all of the nations paying tribute, hearing of Solomon’s wisdom, and coming to hear him (perhaps as they bring the tribute). With those as bookends, we have a pretty good clue about what to see in the passage: God’s giving Solomon wisdom, and exalting him among and above the other nations. We see this wisdom and exaltation in several things:

Orderly, effective administration1 Kings 4:1-19. Wherever you’re from, whenever you read this, “government efficiency” is probably a laughable contradiction in terms to you. In a sinful world, that’s what you would expect. But the point of 1 Kings 4:1-19 is how well-organized and effectively planned and executed Solomon’s government was.

Great prosperity1 Kings 4:20-23. It’s one thing for a king to be prosperous. That can (sometimes, temporarily at least) be obtained by ruthlessness. It is a much greater commendation to a king that his people would be prosperous. That’s the point being made about Solomon in 1 Kings 4:20: “Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” Not only did they have a population boom, but the economic boom kept up with and outpaced it. 

And what was true of the people generally became more intense the closer you were to him. The household and retinue of the king had a daily provision that is difficult to fathom (1 Kings 4:22-23). What a great king! 

We mustn’t miss two important nuggets here: this particular turn of phrase first appeared in the Messianic promise of Genesis 22:17. It highlights Solomon’s greatness as a little picture of the coming kingship of Christ. Even if believers seem always to be a minority, there is a strong biblical emphasis upon the greatness of the multitude as a display of the greatness of our Redeemer King. When we see them eating and drinking and rejoicing, we have a taste of the real-life enjoyment that Christ’s subjects will have with Him forever and ever.

The second nugget is to see how “Judah and Israel” is still being used to summarize the people. This is a division that we could see forming all the way back to the beginning of David’s reign, and even now in Solomon’s height of wisdom and prosperity, it continues. What we are ultimately looking for in a king can be found in no one but Jesus!

Dominating power1 Kings 4:24-28. Part of the Messianic promise from Genesis 22:17 was that Abraham’s seed would possess the gate of their enemies. Now, 1 Kings 4:24 especially emphasizes the subjugation of all other kingdoms, while 1 Kings 4:25 emphasizes the contrasting liberty and security that all Judah and Israel enjoyed. There was more than enough for everyone, including a rapidly expanding government (1 Kings 4:26-28). 

Those last three words can be cautionary, and even more so when it sets of the Deuteronomy 17:16 alarm in the back of our minds (and don’t forget 1 Kings 3:1 with regard to that!). But there is One Whose reign will ever increase, yet always to the benefit of all of His subjects (cf. Isaiah 9:7).

The marvel of his wisdom itself1 Kings 4:29-34. Solomon’s wisdom outclassed all who were best known for wisdom up to his day (1 Kings 4:29-31). The sheer volume of the production (1 Kings 4:32), with the variety of composition (verse 32a, b) and the variety of subject (1 Kings 4:33) was beyond anything such other men had ever produced. Truly, the Lord had kept His promise to Solomon!

How does it benefit you that Christ’s wisdom is the perfection of which Solomon’s was just a hint? How does it encourage you in your own pursuit of wisdom? How does it inform the way you use it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your faithfulness to give Solomon the promised wisdom and for Your own perfect wisdom, which we see pictured in him. We thank You that You have made the wisdom of man as nothing and have given to us, first and foremost, Christ Himself as the wisdom of God for us. Forgive us for when we are uncurious about Your Word or works, or when we fail to aim at Your glory and Your people’s good in how we use whatever knowledge You give us. Make us to love You with all of our wisdom, and to use it for the good of our neighbor, which we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

No comments:

Post a Comment