Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for June 20, 1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chron 9

Today's readings are 1 Kings 10-11 and 2 Chron 9. Tomorrow's are Prov 30-31.

1 Kings 10 introduces the Queen of Sheba. Sheba is usually associated with Southern Arabia, a region that controlled the shipping lanes between the Far east and the West. Sheba's importance is that fame in Sheba would mean fame throughout the world. The Queen pays high honor to Solomon, spreading his fame and fortune throughout the world. Solomon's wealth and power make him the most powerful king on earth. He has 666 talents, about 22 tons, of gold, not counting the gold used to build the Temple. We don't want to make too much of the "666". It most likely represents an annual income based on Solomon's various enterprises and would carry no ominous overtones to the Jews. In support of this idea, Solomon attributes all he has to the wisdom God gave him. 

In 1 Kings 11, Solomon falls away from God to pursue other gods. His world-wide fame led him to wed foreign wives for diplomatic reasons. His love for ungodly women became greater than his love for obeying God's commandments. Unlike David, who sinned as well, Solomon fell into idolatry and the worship of other gods, defeated by his own success and wealth. Solomon does evil in the sight of the Lord and dies after forty years of reigning. 

The results of Solomon's reign are a total reversal of the peace and prosperity Israel has been enjoying. The kingdom begins to divide, Jereboam leading the ten northern tribes with Rehoboam, Solomon's son, ruling over the two remaining. 

2 Chronicles 9 looks back on all these events showing us that one of the great success moments in Solomon's life, the visit of the Queen of Sheba, actually leads to his downfall. The worldwide fame and wealth her visit brings goes to Solomon's head and he departs from what he knows as right. 

Even the best and brightest of us needs to be cautious. The seduction of the world can make wrong things look right, lead us to compromise and take our eyes off the Lord. 

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