More Wealth; Less Wisdom
May 7 - Nº 127 1 Kings 10:26-11:12; 2 Chronicles 9:25-28
Unfortunately, Solomon did not remain faithful to God—the One who had made him so wise and so prosperous. The first indication that his heart was not in the right place was the way he treated King Hiram of Phoenicia. Solomon had promised to give the king 20 cities as payment for all the cedar, juniper, and gold he had provided during the construction of the Temple and the palace (not to mention all the labor and transportation he had supplied). But when Hiram visited the cities that Solomon had allotted as payment, he was very unhappy! He called the cities “Kabul”—meaning “useless” or “good for nothing.” Instead of being generous, as God had been with him, Solomon chose to be stingy. He gave King Hiram leftovers and kept the best for himself. Meanwhile Solomon built several more beautiful cities that he designated as “chariot cities.” He used these to store the 12,000 horses and 1400 chariots he was so proud of. Not only was this a slap in King Hiram’s face, but it was also a direct violation of God’s command. God had instructed the kings of Israel not to accumulate horses for themselves. Even more specifically, he commanded them never to return to Egypt to acquire them (see Deuteronomy 17:16). Sadly, most of the horses Solomon owned were purchased and brought to Israel from Egypt (see 1 Kings 10:28). Solomon violated another of God’s commands. God told Israel’s kings not to marry many wives (see Deuteronomy 17:17). Yet Solomon married 700 wives and added 300 concubines (women who worked for him and were part of his household). God also instructed the Israelite men not to marry foreign women from the Canaanite nations that surrounded them. This command had nothing to do with ethnicity; it had everything to do with idolatry. God said, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2). And that’s exactly what happened to King Solomon! He loved foreign women, and most of his wives were daughters of Canaanite kings. They worshiped foreign gods. To keep them happy, Solomon built shrines so they could burn incense and worship their gods. Soon there were shrines all over the hills of Jerusalem. Eventually Solomon joined his wives. He began worshiping and offering sacrifices to their gods. God noticed Solomon’s choices—and He was not happy. He had already appeared to the king twice and warned him not to disobey His commands. But Solomon refused to listen. God was forced to pronounce discipline on the king that He had blessed so greatly. When Solomon died his kingdom would be divided. One tribe would remain loyal to Solomon’s son, but someone else would rule the other tribes. Although he had no big wars to fight, the last few years of Solomon’s reign were filled with conflict and controversy. He ruled Israel for 40 years before he died.
Do you generously share the things God has shared with you? Or does your heart cling tightly to the possessions and people in your life—as if they were your own? When we are willing to be generous with others, God promises to be generous with us. It is impossible to “out-give” God.