Now Is The Time To Be Careful.
“All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s day!” – 1 Kings 10:21 NLT
What a time to be alive in the land of Israel. This nation had seen a lot of change take place in a very short period of time. No longer the poor, raggamuffin former slaves who had left Egypt, Israel had become a great nation with a powerful king and a growing reputation. They were a force to be reckoned with in the region. Their king was wise and extremely wealthy. They had a strong army. They sat at a strategic crossroads when it came to trade and commerce, occupying the land bridge that connected three continents. Money and goods flowed through their land and, as a result, the wealth of the Israelites increased greatly. So much so that silver was considered of little value! The abundance of gold made silver virtually commonplace and worthless. These were heady times in the life of Israel.
On her royal visit to Jerusalem, the Queen of Sheba recognized the hand of God in all that she saw. “The LORD your God is great indeed! He delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because the LORD loves Israel with an eternal love, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness” (1 Kings 10:9 NLT). She was impressed with Solomon and his God. So much so that she made Solomon even wealthier by sending him nine thousand pounds of gold, and great quantities of spices and precious jewels. Solomon and the people of Israel had been blessed by God. They enjoyed peace, prosperity and, more importantly the presence of God. But all this reminds me of the words of Jesus recorded in Luke 12:48: “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” Was Solomon becoming distracted by his own celebrity and wealth? Were the people of Israel beginning to think that they were indestructible and untouchable? Was there a level of complacency and cockiness settling into the people and their wise king? The answer is yes. Chapter 10 is a set-up to chapter 11 of 1 Kings. We’re going to see that all was not well in Solomon’s Camelot. On the surface all looked well. But like a cancer that spreads unseen and undetected in the body, there was a subtle spirit of rebellion slowly infiltrating the people of Israel, and it began at the top. Success was breeding complacency. The abundant blessings of God were resulting in a loss of the fear of God. Solomon and his people were becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant. They were losing their sense of dependence on God. Years later, after Solomon’s kingdom split in two, the prophet Hosea would end up giving the people of Israel a warning from the lips of God, “I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from your slavery in Egypt. You have no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me” (Hosea 13:4-6 NLT). Prosperity was breeding pride. Ease and comfort was resulting in short-term memory loss and an inability to remember all that God had done. God had warned them that this might happen.
“When you have eaten your fill, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and laws. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, that is the time to be careful. Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 8:10-14 NLT
That is the time to be careful! Could the same be said to us today? Are we enjoying the abundant blessings of God, but subtly turning away from our dependence upon God? Are we just as guilty as Solomon of accepting the gifts of God, while disobeying the Word of God? That is the time to be careful.
Father, I am so abundantly blessed. You have been so good to me and yet I can so easily forget You and just bask in the blessings. I almost come to expect it, even demand it. Never let me forget that I am what I am because of You. I would be nothing without You. I deserve nothing on my own. I don’t merit any of the good things you shower on me every day. Don’t let me become proud, arrogant and complacent in my walk with You. Remind me daily that now is the time to be careful. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men