August 28th I Kings chapter 9 & II Chronicles chapter 8

Good morning!  Today we see that Solomon has finished building the house of God in Jerusalem.  There are a couple things that we can glean from these passages that apply to our lives today.  First, we see that Solomon, who was in line with the will of God and the wisest man to have ever lived, had a specific order of things in his life.  Solomon did not begin working on his house or his wives house until the house of God was completed.  The things of God came before the things of the flesh.  There is a priority in life that is set as an example here.  Many say that God is number one in their lives, but the proof is in the pudding, if you will.  Our actions reflect our heart; in fact the term “heart” is defined as the seat of the will, not a passing emotion.  Solomon’s heart was set on the things of God.  He was concerned for those around him and pointing them to the Father for worship.  We need to remember that the temple, in the most holy place, was the mercy seat, which is the representation of Jesus Christ. Solomon had a mission, as we talked about a couple of days ago, to bring the foreigner to know the true God.  His mission was obvious due to his actions.  Is our mission obvious due to our actions?  Does God come first in life?  I have noticed, while being in vocational ministry for eighteen years, that God needs to fit into most peoples lives.  My meaning is this:  We plan everything that we want to do, accomplish and enjoy in life.  After we have set up all of our wants, we see what may be left and divvy it up so that we can “give” some of it to God.  These small portions of time, energy and money seem to cause most to swell up with pride and think “what would God do without me?”  We find the dream home, the right car (or cars) and get all the payment plans set up then we set our children up in every secular activity and sport under the sun.  Now we have to work between two and three jobs just make the bills which begins taking our time and money away only to find that the little time that we have left will be spent on getting our kids to practice, games, recitals and the like.  We look at our lives that are full of duties and bills and become irritated that God would expect so much from us because there is nothing left to give.  We set up our finances before our tithes and offerings, we have set up our calendars with little to no regards to Kingdom work and we become, as the good Baptist would say, “burned out.”  My friend, if the priorities are set up like Solomon’s were in these chapters; we would not be burned out, but instead, we would be fired up!  I have spent a lot of time in guilt feeling like I have been such a poor leader.  The saying goes: “good leadership is getting people to do what they ought to do because they want to do it.”  Just recently I came to the realization that even Jesus could not get most folks to do this.  We are fallen creatures with a free will given by Him.  A leader can give all the encouragement in the world along with all the resources to boot but if the “want to do” is absent in the equation, leadership is worthless.  People make time and resources to do what they want to do.  Solomon wanted desperately to make a place of worship and it was number one in his life.  Oh if the people who claim His name put Him as their number one priority; imagine what could be done!

The other thing in this text that stands out today is the beginning of Solomon’s downfall.  If you noticed, he picked up a wife from Egypt.  God did not allow this to be done and Solomon did not do it out of ignorance.  Knowing that she was outside of God’s will for his life he “hid her” from God, so to speak.  Solomon would not let her live in the palace because the Ark of the Covenant was once there.  He began to act one way when he found himself in the presence of God, but yet in another way when he felt like he was not in His presence.  Solomon’s hypocrisy begins to show in his life.  Hypocrisy in the life of a leader is a terrible thing; and this small infraction grows, as we will see, into quite a mess.  This is the beginning of the divided kingdom that we have been talking about.  

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