Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesse Tree Day 18 - Solomon

Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying, ‘You know that my father David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to my father David, “Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.” -- 1 Kings 5:2-5

David the king had lots of wives. He had lots of concubines too, and, as a result, he had lots and lots of children. Some of them were better than others and some were just plain stinkers. Solomon, though, was the one chosen to be David's successor as king despite the fact that he wasn't the oldest. He grew to be known for his wisdom and his piety but, unfortunately, he too had feet of clay like so many of his ancestors and more than a few of his descendants.

Solomon's biggest achievement was building the temple in Jerusalem, a huge, ornate, spare-no-expense temple for the worship of God and the housing of Judaism's most sacred objects, the tablets (or scrolls) of the commandments in the Ark of the Covenant. His biggest failing was probably being a bit too accommodating to his foreign-born wives and concubines. His strength was his wisdom like that exemplified in the story of the two women each claiming an infant as her own, and his weakness was what I consider his inability to understand how his fiscal and foreign policy decisions wreaked havoc on the people over whom he reigned (and controlled).

What can I learn from Solomon?  Even the wisest person can be stupid about certain things: the opposite sex, money and prestige ( not specific to any particular gender). Devotion to God and giving God the best are great; building a great temple to glorify God gets you a big name in history but the human cost might be a bit too high.  One more thing --- be careful who you step on in the climb up the ladder because you might find yourself getting stepped on by those same people one day.

Use wisdom in all things.

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