Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for June 15, 1 Kings 9, 2 Chron 8

Today's readings are 1 Kings 9, 2 Chron 8. Tomorrow's are Prov 25-26. 

In 1 Kings 9, we see vast extent of Solomon's empire. It is huge and impressive but sits under a cloud of oppression. One that may not be apparent at first, but is there nonetheless and will become more obvious as time passes. The evidence is there at these early stages.

First, we see that Solomon has formed an alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre. This is a highly questionable decision. God's people are to depend solely upon Him, not those around them. Of what benefit is an alliance with an ungodly people? Can they protect Israel better than God? Can they provide Israel with something that God cannot?

Second, Solomon gives cities in Galilee to Hiram. God had given those areas to Israel. Israel was to keep them in perpetuity as the fulfillment of God's promise to them. Solomon was actually violating the commandments God gave concerning the land. 

Third, Solomon uses "forced labor" for many of his building projects, putting some of the northern tribes into compulsory service, not as slaves but as leaders and taskmasters. This will prove to be a problem when the northern tribes begin to rebel and separate themselves from Judah in 1 Kings 12 over the "yoke" Solomon placed upon them. Rehoboam makes a huge mistake in increasing the yoke rather than lightening it.  

Perhaps for these reasons, God appears to Solomon in the opening verses of 1 Kings, promising to bless Solomon's reign. But the blessings are conditioned upon how Solomon conducts himself and his affairs.

This is a good thing for us to remember. God's promises are predicated upon a heart that longs after Him and longs to please Him. They are not guarantees but hinge upon our heart attitudes toward Him and His holiness. Taking Him for granted and assuming He will shed His grace will not go well for us. We will soon see it doesn't go well for Solomon.

2 Chron 8 provides some additional detail. Solomon foolishly thinks the impact of his marriage to Pharaoh's daughter, which was prohibited by God's command, can be mitigated by making sure she does not live in the house of David. Sin cannot be separated from our life of faith nor compartmentalized. It must be dealt with through repentance, not compromise.

It is ironic that Solomon does such a great job of completing the house of the Lord then immediately joins with Hiram, a gentile, in a money making venture. 

It is so easy to be swayed into compromise by the lure of easy money or by the reluctance to deal with sinful behavior. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, falls into it pretty easily.  This should cause us to be extra vigilant to avoid making the same mistake. 

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