From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/29:

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is saying that Jesus is the wisdom of the Lord. Jesus is the wisdom of God because Jesus is the word of God, as John will later say – “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).

When Solomon talks about wisdom today, he too says that wisdom has existed from the beginning. Since Jesus is the wisdom of the Lord who is coming to earth in the flesh as the word of God, Jesus has existed from the beginning as the Trinity, God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

  • “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth… I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:22-31).

Solomon says, “For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:35). So if Jesus is the wisdom of God, who is coming to earth later in the story in the flesh to deliver the word of God, a person obtains wisdom by studying and obeying the word of God. Therefore, Solomon instructs us not to be lazy in this pursuit:

  • “Wise people store up knowledge” (Proverbs 10:14)
  • “The labor of the righteous leads to life” (Proverbs 10:16)
  • “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life” (Proverbs 10:17)

Christ followers are active in their quest to know the Lord. They work diligently to receive His commands and store up knowledge so that they are walking in the way of life. Solomon, and later Peter and the author of Hebrews, will all agree that we must be diligent when following the Lord:

  • “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4).
  • “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
  • “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Being diligent means showing care or conscientiousness in one’s actions — nothing lazy about it! So let’s be diligent in seeking the Lord and His ways by continuing to keep reading! (Proverbs 8:1-10:32)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/28:

Soon in the story, we will discover that even the wisest man can make foolish decisions when it comes to women. In an effort for political gain, Solomon “loves many foreign women” across the nations (1 Kings 11:1-2). Solomon eventually acquires seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 1:3). This is in direct disobedience to the Lord’s instructions on not intermarrying with the nations around you, and His instruction for kings not to have multiple wives. In Solomon’s later years, he will regret his foolish pursuits of seeking fulfillment in worldly possessions and conclude that life is empty and meaningless apart from the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Today Solomon warns of the pain and emptiness found in immoral and adulterous relationships: 

  • “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life— her ways are unstable; you do not know them” (Proverbs 5:3-6).
  • “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:15-18).
  • “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life” (Proverbs 6:23-26).
  • “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul” (Proverbs 6:32).

Today’s reading ends with these wise words from Solomon – “Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth: do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:24-27).

Now Solomon is a male, so his writing is from a male perspective, but the same truths apply to females seeking affirmation, comfort, love, affection, or whatever else from anyone outside of the Lord and their own husband. Adultery, although it may feel satisfying for a moment, ultimately equates to hell. The Lord knows the havoc that an adulterous relationship can cause in the life of the person committing the adultery as well as in the lives of those around them. We just saw the disastrous impacts when King David stepped into the immoral act of adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).

Therefore, Solomon tells us to keep his commandments, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). The light of God’s word gives us life. This is why Solomon is going to warn us over and over again to obey the Lord – “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin, he shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:21-23). 

Solomon knows that ignoring God’s word leads to a life full of pain, misery, and eventually death. Therefore, Solomon is urging us to choose life! And how do we do that as broken sinners who are unable to perfectly obey the Lord’s commandments as we see illustrated in the lives of the mighty King David and King Solomon? The answer is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is coming to do for us what no one can do for themselves. He will live a perfect life and die as our substitutionary atonement so that we may have life! We are saved by grace through faith, and there is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation. If we accept the Lord’s gift that He is providing through His Son, we will be permanently restored to the Father and nothing can separate us from Him – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

However, we can rob ourselves of peace and joy when we choose to live in disobedience to the Lord’s good instructions. We are all going to disobey the Lord at some point or another because we are all sinners, but there is peace awaiting in Christ. Jesus is coming to die for our sins, and he will rise from the grave and ascend to heaven from where He will pour the Holy Spirit upon His people. Jesus will later say to His disciples – “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you… But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:15-17, 26-27).

The Holy Spirit gives us the understanding to interpret the word of God and leads us in the ways of all things spiritual so that we are empowered to overcome sin and the lusts of this world. However, our spiritual life is a work in progress and will be until the day we ascend to heaven with Jesus. So when we do stumble, and we all do, the Spirit will convict us so that we may run to Jesus with a truly repentant heart and receive forgiveness and peace that can only be found in Christ.

Keep reading. (Proverbs 5:1-7:27)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/27:

“To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion— A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2-7).

Solomon tells us that the purpose of Proverbs is “To know wisdom and instruction”, and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. Knowledge is the understanding or skill that you get from experience or education, and wisdom is what you do with the knowledge you have obtained. Solomon says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge – what makes a person wise is what they do with that knowledge.

So we first must ask the question, what is the fear of the Lord? Solomon explains — “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path” (Proverbs 2:1-9).

God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His word. To know the Lord you must know the word. If you receive His word and obey His commands, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. We can‘t create our own god and what we think our own god tolerates and doesn’t tolerate. True fear of the Lord comes through the revelation in Scriptures that God is the Creator of all, He knows all things past and present, He knows the heart and thoughts of every person, and He will one day judge us all. Christians, ones who put their trust in Jesus Christ, do not have to fear this judgment because our salvation is secure in Christ. Christian fear of the Lord is a reverence of God – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).

With fear of the Lord comes obedience and a desire to serve God. Solomon says “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands” (Proverbs 3:1). This is the same command the Lord gave His people in wilderness – “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good” (Deuteronomy 10:11-12). 

The Lord is the one who will guide our ways for our good if we submit to Him— “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths… My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3, 5-6, 11-12).

Fear of the Lord is the knowledge that the Lord loves His children and hates sin. Out of love for us, the Lord will discipline His children when we veer off the path of righteousness – “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11).

JI Packer also defines the fear of the Lord as reverence and explains how it leads to wisdom in his book “Knowing God”:

“Where can we find wisdom? What steps must a person take to lay hold of this gift? There are two prerequisites, according to Scripture.

1.) We must learn to reverence God. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10; compare Job 28:28; Prov. 1:7; 15:33). Not till we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty (‘the great and awesome God’, Neh. 1:5; compare 4:14; 9:32; Deut. 7:21; 10:17; Ps. 99:3; Jer. 20:11), acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours.

It is to be feared that many Christians spend all their lives in too unhumbled and conceited a frame of mind ever to gain wisdom from God at all. Not for nothing does Scripture say, ‘with the lowly is wisdom’ (Prov. 11:2 KJV).

2.) We must learn to receive God’s word. Wisdom is divinely wrought in those, and those only, who apply themselves to God’s revelation. ‘Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,’ declares the psalmist; ‘I have more insight than all my teachers:’ why? – ‘for I meditate on your statutes’ (Ps. 119:98 f.).”

Then Packer asks this question – “How long is it that you read right through the Bible? Do you spend as much time with the Bible each day as you do even with the newspaper? What fools some of us are! – and we remain fools all our lives, simply because we will not take the trouble to do what has to be done to receive the wisdom which is God’s free gift.”

Thank you Lord for the gift of your word which gives us sweet intimacy with You and wisdom to navigate this messy world. Keep reading. (Proverbs 1:1-4:27)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/26:

“Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.” 

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”

Solomon is the wisest man alive because his wisdom comes from the Lord. In order to execute justice, we must seek the Lord as Solomon says in Psalm 72. Solomon speaks of his current reign as king, as well as the future reign of the coming King, Jesus Christ— “Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice. The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor” (Psalm 72:1-4).

Solomon desires a heart that seeks justice and cares for the oppressed. This is the heart of the Lord. When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will stand in the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth and read from the book of the prophet Isaiah — “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

After reading the word of God, Jesus will be rejected by the people in His hometown. Eventually Jesus will be betrayed and killed by His own people, but this is all part of the Lord’s plan for salvation for the world. Jesus is going to defeat death by rising from the grave three days later. Then after forty days on earth, Jesus will ascend to His Father in heaven, where He is currently sitting at the right hand of the Lord. But one day Jesus is going to return as the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16), and every knee will bow down to Jesus and every tongue will confess to God (Romans 14:11). David’s son Solomon is currently experiencing a peaceful and successful reign as king, but an even greater reign is coming through the future Son of David, Jesus Christ — “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust… Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight” (Psalm 72:8-14). 

We are all needy. That is, we are all in need of a Savior. Our blood is so precious in the sight of Jesus that He is going to shed His own blood on our behalf so that we may have the abundant life; a life filled with fellowship with the Lord, until He takes us home where we will praise Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords for eternity — “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 72:17-20).

Tomorrow we start day one of eight days reading Proverbs. Solomon is going to share with us how to live wisely, so keep reading! (1 Kings 4:1-34, Psalm 72, Psalm 127)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/25:

Twenty years later, after the completion of the temple and Solomon’s palace, Solomon continues to build “and all the chariot cities and the cities of the cavalry, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion” he built! Solomon building up his cavalry goes against the Lord’s instructions for kings (Deuteronomy 17:16). The Lord desires for His people to trust Him and not in horses and chariots – “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

“Now Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh up from the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, ‘My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places to which the ark of the Lord has come are holy.’” Several commentators concluded that Solomon knew that his pagan wife was unholy and that his marriage to her was not pleasing to the Lord. However, at this time, Solomon is still worshiping the Lord and has not turned to foreign gods. Eventually Solomon will marry many more pagan women, which will lead to his downfall. But for now, Solomon is faithful to the religious practices of the Lord at the temple – “Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of the Lord that he had built before the vestibule, as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths.”

Solomon raises up a labor force from the people who were left in the land. He doesn’t make the Israelites forced laborers, but he uses them to oversee the labor force. However, at some point Solomon puts his people under heavy labor because when his son, Rehoboam, becomes the next king, the people are going to ask him to lighten the heavy burden that his father put on them (1 Kings 12:3-5).

“Now when the queen of Sheba heard the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions… So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.” When she sees his wealth and wisdom with her own eyes, she professes “Blessed be the Lord your God!” The Lord pours out His blessings upon His people to not only bless them, but so those around them will take notice and praise Him! When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will rebuke religious leaders with this story of the queen of Sheba when they ask Him to perform a sign to prove Himself. In response, Jesus will say “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign… The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:38-42).

The Lord is the One who made Solomon great —“So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.” However, Jesus is declaring in His statement to the religious leaders that He is greater than Solomon because He is! He is God! The religious leaders will not believe that Jesus is Lord, even after He performs numerous miracles. Their request for a sign will just be another attempt to find something on Jesus to bring Him down, and Jesus knows this. The story of the queen of Sheba points out the fact that a pagan queen traveled from far away to see the splendor of the Lord. However, Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, will stand right in front of these religious leaders’ faces, yet they will not believe, and they will be condemned for it. 

We end the reading with a description of all the silver and gold Solomon acquired for himself, as well as the horses, some of which he imported from Egypt for trade. Solomon is disobeying several rules laid out by God for His kings – “But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself” (Deuteronomy 17:16-17). In Solomon’s later years, he will write the Book of Ecclesiastes, which we will soon read, where he will conclude that there is no meaning to be found in worldly pursuits and possessions —it is all meaningless apart from the Lord.

Solomon is just a man, like his father David. Although the Lord anointed them as kings of Israel, the people are still in need of a better King, the perfect sinless King Jesus Christ. Solomon is going to suffer consequences for his own disobedience, but Jesus is going to suffer, not for his own disobedience, but for the sins of the world. Soon we will read about the consequences as a result of Solomon’s rebellion against the Lord, but before we get to that part of the story, tomorrow we begin reading some of Solomon’s writings. So keep reading. (2 Chronicles 8:1-18, 1 Kings 9:15-10:13, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12, 1 Kings 10:14-29, 2 Chronicles 9:13-28, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/24:

The temple was completed in the eighth month of the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign as king, and the dedication was eleven months later during the Feasts of Booths (also called the Feast of Tabernacle, Feast of Ingathering, Feast of the Lord and Sukkot). During this annual feast, the Israelites live in shelters or booths for seven days as the Lord instructed in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:33-43). This was a great celebration for the Israelites where they gave thanks to God for his current provisions as they remembered His deliverance from Egypt and His provisions during the forty year wilderness journey. The Lord wants His people to remember that He is the One who provides for them. He provided their salvation from Egypt, and He is providing eternal salvation for the world through the coming Messiah. 

Solomon says today “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.” 

Solomon requests that the Lord’s favor be upon them so that “all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God.” The Lord’s plans are much bigger than just blessing Israel. He is working His plan through the Israelites to bless all the families of the earth, just as God promised their forefather Abraham- “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This blessing will ultimately be fulfilled through Abraham’s coming descendant, Jesus Christ the Messiah.

After the extended and elaborate celebration, the completion of the house of the Lord, and the completion of his own house, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time. The Lord responds that He has heard Solomon’s prayer, and if the people “humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” And the same is true today! 

Then the Lord says directly to Solomon, “As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’ But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.”

Now we know that David was not a perfect man by any means. However, David loved the Lord, and he always desired closeness between him and God. And when his own sin got in the way of their relationship, David would confess, repent, and turn to the Lord for mercy and grace. So the Lord isn’t asking Solomon to do something that is impossible. The Lord is asking Solomon to trust Him, to walk with Him, to obey Him, to repent when he stumbles, and to guard his heart from that which will harm him.  

God has poured His blessings upon Solomon. He has given him wisdom, riches, and honor, and now Solomon’s fame is known throughout the world. When the Queen of Sheba hears of Solomon’s fame, she comes to test him with some hard questions. That’s up tomorrow, so keep reading! (1 Kings 8:54-66, 2 Chronicles 7:1-10, 1 Kings 9:1-9, 2 Chronicles 7:11-22, 1 Kings 9:10-14)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/23:

Today the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord and all of the furnishings of the tabernacle to the temple – “Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim… Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.” There is no mention of the pot of manna and Aaron’s budding rod which were set before the ark in the wilderness. Some commentaries say that they were placed elsewhere in the temple, and others say that the Philistines probably took them when they captured the ark in battle. However, the final destination of the pot of manna and the budding rod is unclear. 

When the priests came out of the Most Holy Place, the Levites who were singers began praising the Lord – “indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: ‘For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,’ that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” 

Then Solomon blesses the assembly of Israel – “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David.” The Lord chose Jerusalem as the place to put His name, David and his descendants to rule over His people, and Solomon to build the temple. All that the Lord had spoken is being fulfilled. So Solomon says a prayer dedicating the temple to the Lord:

  • “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.”

Although the Lord has a distinct presence in the temple, Solomon knows that God can not be limited by a place. The Lord’s presence fills the heavens and the earth. Then Solomon prays specifically on behalf of the people. He says if anyone sins, because we all sin, may they repent and turn to the Lord for forgiveness and restoration. Solomon cites examples of when the people will need God’s grace and mercy:

  • “If anyone sins against his neighbor.”
  • “Or if Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You.”
  • “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You.” Soon in the story, during the Divided Kingdom Era, the Lord will stop the rain for three and a half years in an effort to get Northern Israel to repent and turn to Him just as Solomon prayed – “that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.”
  • “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is.” 
  • “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple.”
  • “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them.”

Solomon says after each, if the people turn from their sins, repent, confess His name, and pray toward the temple, may He forgive their sins and restore them. Solomon concludes his prayer saying, “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, and have committed wickedness’; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been carried captive, and pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and toward the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.” 

Later in the story, during the Captivity Era, when the Israelites are taken into captivity by the Babylonians, Daniel will risk his life believing this is true. King Darius will approve an ordinance that says anyone worshiping any god or man besides him for thirty days will be thrown into the den of lions. “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Daniel 6:11). Daniel believes that the Lord will hear the prayers of those who pray toward His temple and that He will deliver them, and Daniel is correct! When he is thrown in the lion’s den — “no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in God” (Daniel 6:23). 

However, much more unfolds in this story before we get to the story of Daniel. Tomorrow the Lord responds to Solomon’s prayer and supplication, so keep reading. (1 Kings 8:1-11, 2 Chronicles 5:1-14, 1 Kings 8:12-21, 2 Chronicles 6:1-11, 1 Kings 8:22-53, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/22:

Solomon is a man who loves to build. It took him seven years building the temple for the Lord, and then he took thirteen years to build an elaborate palace for himself. Included in Solomon’s luxurious palace is the House of the Forest of Lebanon, which serves as an armory, the Hall of Pillars, the Hall of Judgment where Solomon sits to judge, and two palaces, one for Solomon and one for “Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken as wife.” 

For the furnishings of the temple, Solomon hires a bronze expert, Huram. “He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.” 

“So Huram finished doing all the work that he was to do for King Solomon for the house of the Lord: the two pillars, the two bowl-shaped capitals that were on top of the two pillars; the two networks covering the two bowl-shaped capitals which were on top of the pillars; four hundred pomegranates for the two networks (two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowl-shaped capitals that were on top of the pillars); the ten carts, and ten lavers on the carts; one Sea, and twelve oxen under the Sea; the pots, the shovels, and the bowls.”

The two bronze pillars at the entrance of the temple are named Jachin and Boaz. Jachin means “He will establish” and Boaz means “in Him is strength”, which is a reminder to all that the Lord is sovereign and we are dependent upon Him. The Sea of cast bronze, which Huram built, is a massive and decorative basin for the priest to use for ceremonial washings. 

Huram made the articles for the temple of burnished bronze, and Solomon made the furnishings out of gold – “Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold on which was the showbread; the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold; the basins, the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner room (the Most Holy Place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple.” And once the work of the temple was complete, Solomon brought in all the things his father, King David, dedicated to the house of the Lord.

Tomorrow, the glory of the Lord fills the temple, so keep reading. (1 Kings 7:1-51, 2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/21:

Today Solomon’s gift of wisdom shines when two harlots come to him with a dispute. One rolled over on her baby during the night, killing her son. Then she switched her dead child with the other harlot’s baby. Now both women are standing before Solomon claiming to be the mother of the live child. 

Solomon uses his wisdom to flush out the liar as he orders the baby to be cut in half, and half given to each woman. The real mom is identified as she is the one who pleads for her baby’s life. Solomon returns the child to her. “And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” 

So God uses a dispute between two harlots to bring all of Israel together in agreement over their new king. God could have chosen any way to show the world Solomon’s wisdom, but He chose to use these two harlots in His story. Isn’t that something?! The Lord wastes nothing and uses the unlikely to accomplish His purposes! 

Solomon then builds a relationship with Hiram, king of Tyre, as his father, King David, had done. Solomon says to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’” 

Solomon arranges a business deal with Hiram for cedar and cypress logs from Lebanon. And the Lord says to Solomon, “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 forsake my people Israel.”

“Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign.” And seven years later, the temple is complete! 

Tomorrow, Solomon builds his own house and furnishes the temple. Keep reading. (1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 5:1-18, 2 Chronicles 2:1-18, 1 Kings 6:1-13, 2 Chronicles 3:1-14, 1 Kings 6:14-38)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 5/20:

Solomon is now on the throne, “So the Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.” One of Solomon’s first acts as king is that he serves justice to the wicked: 1) his brother, Adonijah, for attempting to take the throne, 2) the priest, Abiathar, for supporting Adonijah as the next king instead of the Lord’s chosen king, 3) Joab, for his ruthless murders of Abner and Amasa, and 4) Shimei, for cursing David as he fled from his son Absalom.

  1. Adonijah, Solomon’s older brother, attempted to take the throne for himself so David quickly gave it to Solomon. Adonijah then feared Solomon, but Solomon said nothing would happen to him if he proved to be a worthy man (1 Kings 1:52). Today Adonijah proves not to be a worthy man as he asks to marry Abishag, the lovely woman who cared for King David in his old age. This was another shot at the kingdom because back then men would make claims to the throne by sleeping with the king’s concubines like Absalom did with his father, King David’s, ten concubines on the rooftop (2 Samuel 16). However, Solomon sees right through to Adonijah’s true wicked motives and has him killed.
  2. Solomon removes Abiathar as priest for supporting Adonijah, “that he might fulfill the word of the Lord which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh” (1 Samuel 2:27-36, 1 Samuel 3:11-14). Abiathar is the last descendant of Eli’s to be High Priest of Israel.
  3. Solomon has Joab killed per David’s final instructions to him (1 Kings 2). Solomon instructs his servant Benaiah to “strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. So the Lord will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword—Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the Lord.”
  4. Shimei, from the clan of Saul, cursed David while on the run from Absalom, so David instructed Solomon not to allow Shimei to die in peace (1 Kings 2). Solomon first shows mercy to Shimei by telling him he would live if he didn’t leave Jerusalem. However, Shimei breaks their agreement, and Solomon has him killed.

Solomon places Benaiah over the army in place of Joab and Zadok as the priest in place of Abiathar. Once “the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon,” Solomon makes a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and marries his daughter; “then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall all around Jerusalem. Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days. And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.”

Remember, the Lord has given Israel five rules for kings (Deuteronomy 17:14-20):

  1. Shall not be a foreigner 
  2. Shall not multiply horses for himself or return to Egypt to multiply horses
  3. Shall not have multiple wives, lest his heart turn from God
  4. Shall not multiply silver and gold for himself 
  5. Shall write his own copy of the Book of the Law and read it all the days of his life so that he does not elevate himself above his brethren. 

Solomon is on a slippery slope by making a treaty with Egypt and acquiring more wives, foreign wives who worship false gods. However, at this time Solomon is worshiping the Lord extravagantly by offering a thousand burnt offerings to Him at Gibeon. The Lord tolerates the worship on the high place at Gibeon because this is where the tent of the tabernacle of meeting with God is currently located. After the temple is built and Solomon moves the tabernacle to the temple, along with the ark of the covenant which is currently in Jerusalem, the worship at Gibeon will not be acceptable. The temple will be the one place that the Lord chose for His people to worship Him (Deuteronomy 12). 

After the corporate worship, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and says, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon humbly responds, “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 

Solomon knows the responsibilities of a king are too much for him to handle on his own — he needs help from a higher power! This request pleases the Lord so much that He not only gives him wisdom but also riches and honor. Then He says to Solomon, “There shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 

How will Solomon steward the gifts and promises he has received from the Lord? Keep reading to find out. ( Psalm 83, 1 Chronicles 29:23-25, 2 Chronicles 1:1, 1 Kings 2:13-3:4, 2 Chronicles 1:2-6, 1 Kings 3:5-15, 2 Chronicles 1:7-13)