Robbing God of Glory.
2 Chronicles 9-10, 1 Timothy 1
To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Timothy 1:17 ESV
Solomon had been given his wisdom and knowledge from God. His kingdom had been handed to him on a silver platter by God. He enjoyed immense wealth and unsurpassed peace as a result of God’s good graces. Solomon had it all. In fact, he described his situation in great detail in the book of Ecclesiastes. “I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10 ESV). It seems that Solomon knew nothing of simplicity. His life was marked by ostentatiousness and overindulgence.
Solomon was not only wise and wealthy, he was famous. His reputation spread throughout the known world and attracted other dignitaries and royalty from other nations, including the Queen of Sheba. And Solomon was not shy about showing off his great wealth and impressing his guests with his wisdom. He seemed to enjoy it. But what is interesting is that the Queen of Sheba ended up worshiping Solomon, not God. She was more impressed with the creation than she was the Creator. She seemed to believe that God was blessed for having made Solomon king over His people. She even gave offerings to Solomon, but not to God. Somewhere along the way, Solomon had lost focus and wrongly assumed that he was the center of the universe, not God. Not once in this account does he attempt to deflect any of the praise, glory and honor given to him to God.
What does this passage reveal about God?
God had made it clear that He was a jealous God. “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8 ESV). He was not in the habit of sharing His glory with anyone or anything. Man existed for His glory. Creation was a testament to His glory. Solomon’s wealth, wisdom, and kingdom, were intended to reflect God’s glory. The nation of Israel existed because God had ordained it. Solomon’s reign was a direct result of God’s will and in keeping with His promise to David. Solomon should have used his great wisdom and wealth as a platform for declaring the glory and the greatness of God. Like his father, David, Solomon should have used his unique station in life as an opportunity to lift up the name and reputation of God. David had written, “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3 ESV). But 2 Chronicles 9 begins with these telling words: “Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon…” (2 Chronicles 9:1 ESV). She came seeking Solomon, but he could have used the opportunity to introduce her to his God. God would give Solomon ample opportunity to spread the glory of His name among the nations. But it seems that they were more impressed with Solomon than they were with his God. “Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind” (2 Chronicles 9:22-23 ESV). Solomon existed for God’s glory, but somehow he had turned that truth around. He had become the center of his own universe.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Because Solomon ended up glorifying himself and worshiping false gods, he would find all his great wealth and wisdom meaningless and unfulfilling. “For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:16-17 ESV). His own self-confessed vanity would lead him to disobey God’s commands, surrounding himself with great wealth, so much so that “silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon” (2 Chronicles 9:20 ESV). He even made himself a great throne made of ivory and overlaid with gold. He amassed thousands of horses and chariots. In fact, he imported horses from Egypt and all the lands – all in violation of God’s commands. “Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold” (Deuteronomy 17:16-17 ESV).
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Solomon had lost sight of the fact that his fame and fabulous wealth were God’s doing, not his own. He existed for God’s glory, not his own. As his fame spread, he began to believe his own press releases, somehow thinking himself special. But Solomon’s greatness was all a result of God’s graciousness and goodness. Solomon’s wisdom and wealth were to be a testimony to God’s blessing. Had Solomon remained grounded and remembered that he was totally undeserving of all that he had inherited, he would have been able to recognize the unbelievable grace of God in his life. Paul reminds me that I too must never forget just how blessed I am by God. Speaking of his own life, Paul writes, “formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:13-14 ESV). He fully understood that God had redeemed him in order that through his life, “Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16 ESV). Paul’s life was a testimony to God’s amazing grace. And Paul was more than willing to give God all the praise, glory and honor. Like Paul, I must learn to recognize God’s greatness and grace in my own life. I am what I am because of Him, not me. I owe all that I have and all that I am to Him. When I lose sight of that fact, I can end up robbing God of glory. I can find myself making much of me, instead of making much of Him. But when I make myself my own god, I will reach the same sad conclusion Solomon did. “This also is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:26 ESV).
Father, forgive me for the many times I rob You of glory. Forgive me for making it all about me so much of the time. Help me to understand just how much I owe to You. I owe You not only my salvation, but my very existence. Never let me forget that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV). Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men