Obedience and Blessing.
“But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.” – 1 Kings 9:6-7 NLT
After Solomon dedicated the Temple God appeared to him and renewed His covenant that He had made with David, Solomon’s father. “As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'” (1 Kings 9:4-5 NLT). God uses a conditional if-then statement. If Solomon walked in integrity or wholeness of heart and with uprightness, obeying all of God’s commands, then he could expect certain blessings from God, including a kingdom that would never end. But there is a second part to this covenant. If Solomon or any of his sons failed to hold up their end of the covenant, then God warned that three things would happen. He would remove the people from the very land He had promised. He would remove His presence from the Temple. And He would remove His power and protection from the people of Israel so that rather than being feared by the nations, they would be mocked and ridiculed.
You see this warning used time and time again by the Old Testament prophets as they attempted to warn the people about God’s demand for obedience and faithfulness. It did not take long for things to take a turn for the worse in regards to Israel’s ability to obey. Solomon himself would end up compromising his faith in Yahweh by allowing his foreign-born wives to keep the idols of other gods in his homes. We see in this chapter a little of Solomon’s lack of integrity when he gives King Hiram of Tyre 20 cities in exchange for all the lumber and 9,000 pounds of gold that Hiram had contributed to the building of the Temple and Solomon’s palace. King Hiram was not impressed and even named the region Cabul, which means “good for nothing.” We see a little of Solomon’s conniving side as he rewards King Hiram with worthless land in exchange for his help and generosity. Lack of integrity or wholeness of characters was to be a distinguishing characteristic of the people of Israel. It had been that way since they had left the land of Egypt. It can be seen during the period of the judges. They were a whining, complaining, stubborn and stiff-necked people who constantly proved themselves unfaithful to God – in spite of His ongoing faithfulness. They were constantly turning their backs on God, but He has never turned His back on them. Yes, He has allowed them to suffer defeat, humiliation, even annihilation at the hands of their enemies, but He continues to preserve both the people and the land. He has also kept His promise to preserve the throne of David by sending His own Son as a human baby, born in to the royal lineage of David. Jesus is the king who will one day sit on David’s throne, ruling from the city of Jerusalem.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.’ And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making all things new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’ And he also said, ‘It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega — the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.'” (Revelation 21:1-7 NLT).
Father, Your faithfulness to us is amazing. We have let you down time and time again, just like the people of Israel. But You never give up on us. You have never given up on them. You always keep Your covenant with Your people. And some day Your Son will sit on David’s throne and rule from a renewed, revitalized Jerusalem. All things will be made new – including us. We will have new bodies and will worship You free from sin. Father, I can’t thank You enough for Your covenant faithfulness. Forgive me for my weak faith, infidelity, and ungratefulness. You deserve my obedience and wholehearted commitment to You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men