Manna for Today

 

Enemies are Gathering (1 Kings 11:14-25)

Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 15 Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. 18 They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking people from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food.

19 Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. 20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh’s own children.

21 While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go, that I may return to my own country.”  22 “What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?” Pharaoh asked.  “Nothing,” Hadad replied, “but do let me go!”  (1 Kings 11:14-22)

Learn it:

            On Wednesday we read about God’s impending judgment on King Solomon and Israel.  Today we get to see the LORD raising up adversaries to use as his tools against Israel.  We get the backstory of Hadad and in my mind, this is like an epic revenge movie.  Hadad witnesses his parents die by the hands of Joab and he flees with his father’s faithful friends to Egypt.  There he works his way up and eventually marries into the royal family.  He has been training his whole life to take revenge on Israel and once he sees that Joab has died he is ready to strike! 

            The author is building this tension in the story of God getting ready to pour out his wrath on Solomon.  As a reader, we should feel this and get worried for Solomon and Israel.  Hadad isn’t the only person that the LORD is preparing we read in verses 23-25 of Rezon, another person that is eager to take revenge on Israel. 

Live it: 

            The application from this story, unfortunately, isn’t one of those warm and fuzzy types.  We see God using all types of people to fulfill his will.  This can be hard for us to understand and, for me, it falls under the idea of God’s wisdom is above our understanding.  God disciplines us because he loves us. 

Let me leave you with Hebrews 12:9-11, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  There is a purpose for hard times and it is to help us depend more on Christ than ourselves.


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Solomon’s Hidden Life (1 Kings 11:1-13)

King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.  (1 Kings 1:1-6)

So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”  (1 Kings 1:11-13)

Learn it:

                Up till now, King Solomon has been a good king and has not had any serious sin issue.  The author now reveals to us all the wives Solomon had.  He had 700 wives and 300 concubines!  That’s a lot of relationships to keep up.  We see these are things that God has specifically forbid his people to do, intermarry with people from other nations.  We read that Solomon married 700 women from “royal birth”.  This is one of the ways that Israel was able to have such good relations with the nations around them.  What kind of father-in-law would attack a nation where the queen was his daughter? 

                We also read in this chapter God’s response to Solomon’s wives and how they lead him astray by worshipping other gods in addition to the LORD Yahweh.  The LORD informs Solomon that he is going to divide Israel under his son’s reign.  We will not take all of Israel away from him but a significant portion of it because of his disobedience.  There are consequences for Solomon’s actions that affect not only him but his descendants and the nation of Israel.

Live it:

                This lifestyle for Solomon has probably been going on his whole reign.  It was probably a slow erosion where he began to worship their gods and he began to break his covenant with God.  In our lives, we have things that Satan just likes to wear us down and slowly lead us astray.  As we grow in our relationship with God we need to pray that he will keep our eyes open to sin in our lives.  This is where having strong Christian friends is important.  People who can point out our blind spots and help us become better followers of Christ. 

 

                We also need to see that there are consequences because of our sins.  Solomon wasn’t going to experience it firsthand.  God was going to make his son pay the price.  I can only imagine that that must be worse for Solomon!  His son was going to go through the dividing of a nation because of what he did.  We need to understand that our sin is going to affect those in our lives.  It may happen in ways we cannot see but it is going to happen.  That should be a motivation for us to avoid sin but the main motivation for us to repent is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We want to become more holy because of the love of Christ in our lives.  


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The Fame of Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-29)

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.  11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)  13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.  (1 Kings 10:1-13)

Learn it:

                The fame of King Solomon has been spreading all over the world.  People heard of his wisdom, the magnificent temple, and palace he had built.  The Queen of Sheba was so curious about the stories she heard she had to come and visit Solomon.  While she was there she tested Solomon and was impressed with his answers.  In response, she praises the LORD and gives Solomon 4.5 tons of gold and a lot of spices.

                The second half of chapter 10 we read about all the wealth that Solomon has collected.  Most of the wealth he accumulated was given to me, he did not seek it out.  Israel is thriving and at the center of commercial trade.  Life would be easy for the king.  With all of the gold, he collects he makes ornate shields, goblets, and other household items.  Solomon’s temple and palace would have been covered in gold.  God has been faithful in blessing Solomon with wealth and wisdom.

Live it: 

                Fame and wealth can be good gifts from God.  They can also lead to less dependence on God and thinking that we can manage our own affairs.  This is what is happening to Solomon.  He has all the wealth he needs, and he has a huge army that he is building up.  We need to make sure we never find our comfort in material things.  God is the one who protects us and guides us in life.  How are we spending our money?  Is it for our own comfort and entertainment or are we using it to build the kingdom of God?


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Stay Focused on God (1 Kings 9:10-28)

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.  (1 Kings 9:10-14)

20 There were still people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites). 21 Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these peoples remaining in the land—whom the Israelites could not exterminate —to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of any of the Israelites; they were his fighting men, his government officials, his officers, his captains, and the commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 23 They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon’s projects—550 officials supervising those who did the work.  (1 Kings 9:20-23)

Learn it:

            We have now reached the halfway point of Solomon’s reign.  It took him around 20 years to complete his projects of building the temple and the palace.  At this point he is still paying other nations for their help.  If you recall back to 1 Kings 5, the original agreement with the king of Tyre was to give them food.  Here we see Solomon changing that and giving him 20 cities.  It turns out that these cities are terrible.  The King of Tyre called the towns “Kabul” which literally means “worthless”.  That is a bold move by Solomon to do to a trusted ally. 

             We also learn in this section that Solomon has several other projects going on where he is building up Israel’s defenses.  He is building walls around the city and fortifying other cities.  He completes these projects by using slave work and the writer says that he does not use Israelites as slave labor.  We learn later on that some Israelites did work on these projects so maybe they weren’t long-term slaves and just temporarily worked on the projects.  We end up finding up that some Israelites become bitter about working on these projects. 

Live it:

            Solomon is in the second half of his reign and in the first half he did complete some really big projects.  He has the Lord God of Israel come to dwell among his nation.  How does he do something bigger than that?  We begin to see Solomon’s integrity slip but for the moment he is still serving God.

                How do we continue to serve God when things are going well?  How do we stay focused on the life of Christ and want to glorify God?  We should not get too comfortable when things are going well, that is when Satan is going to attack us.  


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Pastor’s Corner