What does it say?
God speaks once again to Solomon (1Ki 9:1-9). He promises to establish his throne as long as he obeys, but also warns him of the consequences of disobedience. Solomon’s building projects are so ambitious that he has balance of trade problems with king Hiram of Tyre. To resolve this he gives Hiram 20 cities as security against the loan (9:10-28).
When Solomon concluded his building projects, the loans are paid off and Hiram returns the cities that had been used a security (1Chr 8). Solomon’s kingdom continues to expand. Though his heart is growing away from God, this chapter records that Solomon is faithful to follow the instructions of the Law God gave to Moses. Solomon takes Pharaoh’s daughter as a wife, builds her a special house and brings her to Jerusalem.
What does it mean?
There is no question that Solomon’s reign is the highpoint of Israel’s monarchy. His building projects are nothing less than spectacular and under his leadership the economy continues to grow. However, we will soon see that the more growth and prosperity continue in his reign, the more distant from God Solomon becomes. He began so well, asking God for wisdom and displaying that wisdom on multiple occasions.
Those of us who live in the United States are tempted to trust in our abundance and take God for granted. There is nothing inherently wrong with prosperity or abundance. God does make poverty a position of greater spirituality. The problem is when we grow careless in our walk with God. With increased blessing comes increased responsibility. Solomon did not have to grow distant from God. That was a choice. We do not have to grow distant from God even though we live in freedom and prosperity. But this, too, is a choice that each of us has to make.
How will I respond?
Do I allow myself to grow cold in my walk with God? Do I have so much that I rarely have to depend upon God? What practical step can I take to demonstrate growth and responsibility in my walk with God so as to continue my growth and not go backward?