Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for May 10, 1 Chr 28-29, 2 Chr 1

Today's readings are 1 Chr 28-29, 2 Chr 1

In chapters 28-29, David charges Israel to be loyal to God. He graciously hands the building of the temple to Solomon, who will be the last king anointed and proclaimed king by God. The temple will be a permanent testimony to the presence of God ("footstool" in 1 Chr 28:2) and the peace and rest of His people. 

1 Chronicles began with a set of genealogies and the stark contrast between David and Saul. It ends with David’s death and the throne occupied by Solomon.  Israel is at rest and prosperous. With a shared vision and a focus on God, they move in unity. David reminds them that this is not yet their home. They are still aliens in a strange land. God has something better for them. 1 Chron 29:18 is a beautiful reminder of where the focus of Israel's heart should be. It's also a poignant reminder to us. 

While 2 Chronicles picks up in Israel’s history where 1 Chronicles leaves off by taking a close look at Solomon, it also takes an even closer look at Judah’s fall and the development, good and bad, of temple worship in the period leading up to the end of the Old Testament. Like 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles was written some time after the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity back to Jerusalem, around 530-540 BC. It is actually the last book in the way the Hebrew Bible is ordered. As much as 1 Chronicles evidenced the blessings of Israel, 2 Chronicles wants to make sure future generations are aware of her stumbles as well. We can learn much from both.

In 2 Chr 1:1-6, Solomon has the ark moved from Kiriath- jearim, about 20 miles due west of Jerusalem, to Gibeon, about 15 miles northwest of Jerusalem. 
Now the ark and tabernacle are together in Gibeon. Solomon is beginning to assemble all the elements of worship before building the temple.

Above, Kiriath-jearim today, a suburb of Jerusalem

Above, the site of ancient Gibeon

Solomon has a vision and asks God for wisdom above all other things (1 Chr 1:7-12). His request is not self-centered, though. He asks for wisdom so he can lead God's people wisely.  In spite of his faults, Solomon's heart is right.

God grants him wisdom but also promises to bless him with riches, possessions, and honor. We see this promise fulfilled by the end of the chapter. 

Solomon's request seems to be at odds with many facets of our culture today.  In a time when many celebrities are fond of voicing their opinions on anything from politics to moral issues, the general public seems to afford them a type of wisdom whose only qualification appears to be fame. Actors, musicians, and people who are "famous for being famous" gain credibility and influence based on nothing more than their fame. Some folks in the general population think those celebrities are wise because they're famous. Scripture tells us the only wisdom of any value comes from God and always points toward Him (Pro 2:6; Rom 11:33-36). 
In heaven, no one will be a celebrity. Anything a man can achieve here on earth will pale in comparison to the glory of God and as such there will be no celebrities in heaven. Solomon sought God’s wisdom and was blessed for it.

God gives Solomon true, godly wisdom first, then grants fame. Solomon is famous because he is wise. His godly wisdom comes first, then his fame. This is a godly attribute we would do well to remember before we allow anyone to influence out lives merely because they are popular.  

We see the faintest of cracks in Solomon’s faithfulness in 1 Chr 1:16-17. Solomon is amassing wealth, military might, a healthy import/export business - and is buying horses from Egypt. This should be a huge “Caution!” sign. Mosaic law strictly forbade this (Dt 17:16).

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