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Wednesday, February 09, 2022

2022.02.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 7:1–12

Read 1 Kings 7:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: How long did Solomon take to build what (1 Kings 7:1)? What else did he build in 1 Kings 7:2? What were its dimensions/structure? What was one primary material feature (1 Kings 7:3)? And what were some other design features (1 Kings 7:4-5)? What great room does 1 Kings 7:6 describe? What are its features? What was the central item in this room (1 Kings 7:7)? What would Solomon do there? What other house does 1 Kings 7:8a describe? For whom else does he make a similar one (verse 8b)? What was the main structural material under all that wood (1 Kings 7:9-12a)? What else had similar construction/materials (1 Kings 7:12b)?

It seems significant that Solomon prioritized the building of the temple to his own house. Though the temple was the greater project, it took just over half as long (1 Kings 7:1). However, the Lord had so richly blessed him that the cedar and stones for the temple were more than enough not only for an additional palace for himself, but also the magnificent “House of the Forest of Lebanon” and then yet a fourth great house—this one for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken as a wife.

Even from the repetition of the words, we can see that the thrust of the passage is the sheer quantity and quality of the wood and stone that the Lord had provided to His servant for His temple. But together with this, there seems to be a lesson about what Solomon did with the abundance that the Lord gave him. 

Certainly, Solomon built a house worthy of a king and a judgment house with two great halls and one great throne worthy of his kingly rule. We should be careful not to condemn extravagance, when God has identified Solomon with Himself and has provided extravagantly for him. But when Pharaoh’s daughter’s house is included in a joint-description of the construction of all of them, we are to catch the hint of a problem: Solomon has joined himself to Pharaoh, “gone back to Egypt,” married a foreign woman who worshiped other gods. 

This was to become a catastrophic folly, as his one thousand wives and concubines would include many such foreign women, who would turn his heart away from the Lord. Because of this, the kingdom would be divided under his son Rehoboam, and eventually lost altogether—north and south.

And here in 1 Kings 7, you can see it beginning just in what Solomon does with the “leftovers” of the abundance that God gives him. It’s not wrong to receive much from the Lord. Abraham, David, and even Solomon show that—as do the many promises about the greatness of the material inheritance that is ultimately ours in Christ (though the inheritance of all creation does pale in comparison to inheriting the Creator!). No, it’s not wrong to receive much from the Lord. But what we do with that abundance can show us what is wrong with us. 

What do you do when you have extra material resources? Extra time? What might this warn about?

Sample prayer:  Lord, truly You have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And You have given us much materially as well. Forgive us for when our expenditures show self-indulgence, self-praise, trust in earthly influence, or friendliness unto Your enemies. Grant instead that the chief end of our resources would be to glorify You and enjoy You forever, loving You with all that we have, and loving our neighbor as ourself. For we ask it through Him Who became poor for our sakes, even Jesus, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP15 “Within Your Tent Who Will Reside?” or TPH538 “Take My Life and Let it Be”

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