“The Lord has given me rest on every side.” (5:4)
“There is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” (5:6)
“And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.” (5:12)
This is a great moment in history. War is over and instead of oppressing each other, Israel and Tyre and working together, employing their God-given talents. There is so much potential of good and for Israel to walk in their purpose: being a blessing to the nations.
(As the story continues, be mindful of God’s specific instructions. We often times glorify David and Solomon because David was “a man after God’s own heart” and Solomon was God’s chosen successor, plus the wisest man who ever lived. However, both these kings lives were riddled with mistakes and sin. We need to be careful not to glorify God’s people and use them as a standard or right and wrong. Pay close attention to God’s decrees, not the decree of the kings. Just because Solomon does it, doesn’t mean God condones it, i.e. creating a slave force. Ultimately these two lives are marked by whether or not they humbled themselves and repented or not. David yes, Solomon no.)
The temple is coming along swimmingly. Not only is it beautifully crafted, but they’re not even making noise on site (6:7)! God takes this opportunity to remind Solomon that His favor is, has always and will continue to be, contingent on obedience (6:12-13), not extravagance.
“Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not for sake my people Israel.”
It doesn’t matter what we do, or sacrifice, for the Lord if we forget to obey Him. In fact, this sentiment is repeated throughout the Bible:
“To obey is better than to sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
It’s easy to get distracted by the things we think we’re doing “for God”. How can I be better at focusing on Him, loving Him above all else, trusting Him and loving others?