The Only Way Is Down?
My dear Jesus, keep my heart humble and help me to serve You with pure motives that glorify You.
1 Kings 9:1-19
Do you tend to be aware of the motives behind your actions?
What are we to make of the events at the end of this passage? Solomon seems to be in debt to his ally Hiram (10-13), so he gives Hiram some towns as collateral, although Hiram himself doesn't seem too impressed by the bargain (13). There's nothing terribly wrong here, except that it does seem to be a bit of a questionable deal.
Likewise, there's nothing strictly wrong, according to the Law, with organizing the forced labor program (15-19). It does, however, point forward to his son Rehoboam's disastrous oppression of his own people, which led to the break-up of the kingdom (cf. 1 Kings 12). There is a hint in these verses that Solomon's ambition has gotten the better of him. Compare verse 19 with Deuteronomy 17:16!
In that light, we can see the reaffirmation of the covenant (1-9) not as a confirmation but as a warning. If things carry on as they are, the dreadful events threatened there will become an awful reality.
Carefully guard against building your own kingdom. Instead, purpose to keep God in his rightful place in the center of all.
God, who knows my heart, I pray You would find a heart in me that values what You value.
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