The Only Way Is Down?
My dear Jesus, keep my heart humble and help me to serve You with pure motives that glorify You.
Read 1 Kings 9:1-19
 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do,  the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.  The LORD said to him: “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 my heart will always be there.  “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws,  I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’  “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,  then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.  This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’  People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them-that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.'”  At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings-the temple of the LORD and the royal palace-  King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted.  But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them.  “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul, a name they have to this day.  Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents of gold.  Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.  (Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.  And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon,  Baalath, and Tadmor in the desert, within his land,  as well as all his store cities and the towns for his chariots and for his horses-whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you tend to be aware of the motives behind your actions?
What are we to make of the events at the end of this passage? Solomon seems to be in debt to his ally Hiram (10-13), so he gives Hiram some towns as collateral, although Hiram himself doesn’t seem too impressed by the bargain (13). There’s nothing terribly wrong here, except that it does seem to be a bit of a questionable deal.Likewise, there’s nothing strictly wrong, according to the Law, with organizing the forced labor program (15-19). It does, however, point forward to his son Rehoboam’s disastrous oppression of his own people, which led to the break-up of the kingdom (cf. 1 Kings 12). There is a hint in these verses that Solomon’s ambition has gotten the better of him. Compare verse 19 with Deuteronomy 17:16! In that light, we can see the reaffirmation of the covenant (1-9) not as a confirmation but as a warning. If things carry on as they are, the dreadful events threatened there will become an awful reality.
Carefully guard against building your own kingdom. Instead, purpose to keep God in his rightful place in the center of all.
God, who knows my heart, I pray You would find a heart in me that values what You value.
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