TERMS OF FRIENDSHIP
Lord, teach me that I am responsible for the light that I have been given.
Read 1 KINGS 9:1–19
The Lord Appears to Solomon
9 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 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.
4 “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, 5 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.’
6 “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, 7 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. 8 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?’ 9 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.’”
Solomon’s Other Activities
10 At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings—the temple of the Lord and the royal palace— 11 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. 12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 “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. 14 Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents of gold.
15 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. 16 (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. 17 And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, and Tadmor in the desert, within his land, 19 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).
Solomon is privileged to have another vision of God, which assures him that his prayer has been heard. More promises are given and the special relationship between God and David’s heirs is reaffirmed. However, there are also solemn warnings of what will happen if Solomon or his successors depart from the Lord to follow other gods. Then the temple will be left a heap of rubble, and the people will be exiled from the land. Instead of being a witness to the nations as the people who know their God, they will become a sign of a people under judgment. Impressive buildings do not guarantee relationships.
Hiram, King of Tyre, and Solomon are friends. His relationship originated with David, but we have no explanation of how a commercial arrangement turned into a strong friendship. There are advantages for both sides, but in today’s reading we see an unexpected problem. Solomon has given certain towns to Hiram, but when Hiram inspects them, he declares that he is not impressed. We would expect the account to continue describing a broken relationship, but instead Hiram sends experienced sailors to operate the ships that Solomon has built (27). Apparently, the relationship is restored.
Relationships are delicate. Loyalty is highly regarded. We should not take our friends for granted. Solomon thinks he can dump inferior cities on Hiram in return for Hiram’s generosity. But Hiram is magnanimous. Solomon’s successors will insult God similarly, forgetting his generosity, forgiveness and covenant faithfulness by chasing other gods. They will forfeit everything that they value when God’s judgment arrives and they are marched into exile. God would be rejected again by his people when rejecting Jesus, but forgiveness will become available by his death and resurrection: they will one day be restored not just to friendship, but also to a re-grafting into the olive tree.
Consider your relationship with God and your friends.
Lord, give me the presence of mind to take careful heed when You issue a solemn warning, as You did with Solomon.
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