Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 21, 2013

And Another Thing (1 Kings 3)

And Another Thing
(1 Kings 3)

You will often hear preachers praise GOD because His love is unconditional. And that’s true. But they make a mistake, as we see from Scripture, when they say that since GOD loves us unconditionally He will keep us from all harm. Scripture never says that. In fact, Scripture says just the opposite. Scripture says sin always has consequences. Always. For everyone, no matter what your relationship with Him. Salvation is not a guarantee against stupidity. If you do something stupid you will pay for it. In fact, Scripture says that if your sin harms another person you should literally pay for it and make things right with them. Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, GOD the Son, frees you from eternal damnation because of sin. But you will still feel the effects of sin’s stupidity in the quality and perhaps length of life here and, possibly, the quality of your life in the life to come.

We see that in today’s passage. This is a very difficult chapter to interpret. On the face of it, it seems as if Solomon is sinning yet the LORD doesn’t punish but rewards him for it. Jewish scholars solve this by saying the events in the chapter are not in consecutive order. And, remember, too, that there were no chapter or verse divisions originally. Those were added much later. So when what we call Chapter 2 ended with Solomon’s kingdom being established it really carries through until Chapter 3 verse 2. Part of the establishment of Solomon’s kingdom was marrying the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt and doing renovations to make Jerusalem more secure. And though his kingdom was secure even from Egypt Solomon still allowed worship on the mountains of Gibeon and even worshipped there himself.

Jewish scholars would tell you this was all shameful and wrong for Solomon to do but he did it after verse 5. He was 12 years old in verse 5 by the Jewish scholar’s calculations. He didn’t sin for four years until he began to build the temple, they’d say. That’s when he married Pharoah’s daughter and the sand hit the fan, so to speak. And they’d say his sacrificing in the high places was wrong, too, because he delayed in building the temple.

But there are several problems with this. The biggest problem is that Scripture specifically says it was while Solomon was at Gibeon to sacrifice that GOD appears to him in a dream. GOD (possibly JESUS in a pre-flesh state) doesn’t say “Solomon! You sinned by being here!” It is clearly saying GOD was pleased with him.

GOD had never told Solomon to build a temple. It was understood, as we’ll see later. But it was not a command. GOD had even told David there was no rush. If anything the issue is that he’s not sacrificing at the Tabernacle tent in Jerusalem. But that was for specific sacrifices. Many sacrifices were offered by the people when they were away from the Tabernacle. (See Deuteronomy 12:21).

And just because Solomon had the daughter of Pharoah in a contract of marriage was not sin. In the cultures, heads of state made that kind of agreement when their children were infants. We have nothing to say the 12-year-old Solomon did anything wrong. Yet. We will see later these foreign women and their foreign gods will be his downfall. But my point is, even if read on face value the Scripture can stand.

When GOD does appear to Solomon in the dream He tells Solomon he may have whatever he wishes. Solomon resonds that since he’s only a child (which supports his being 12) he’s afraid of doing something wrong as king. All he wants is wisdom.

GOD is very pleased with this reply and says that since Solomon has answered so well, GOD will make him the wisest man that ever lived or would live. (Technically the only exception would be JESUS Himself Who is GOD and may have been speaking to him). And another thing. Besides wisdom, because Solomon wasn’t selfish and only asked for what could bless others, GOD would give Solomon riches beyond imagination and no one would be wealthier than him until he died. And another thing, in addition to all that, IF Solomon continued to act wisely and obey GOD Solomon would have other blessings beside.

Some of the blessings were unconditional. In fact, it seems strange when Solomon is talking to GOD about David being so righteous when we know the rest of the story until we learn the literal meaning is that David told Solomon GOD would keep the covenant for them. GOD already told David, unconditionally, that his kingdom would be established through and far beyobd Solomon. But there were quality of life blessings that depended on Solomon’s obedience to the Law. David loved the LORD. And he sinned in spite of it. He and his children suffered greatly for that for generations. We may love the LORD but will still occasionally sin and our quality of life may suffer for it as we will see happens with Solomon.

But for now, we only need remember that some things are unconditional blessings from GOD: We can have eternal security from hell after death and the knowledge that when we sin we can always ask for help from GOD. And there’s another thing sin also has consequences. We may suffer in this life and though we have eternal life we may come into it with nothing but our robes, or smelling like smoke, as Paul will later say.

Finally, the chapter ends with the classic example of Solomon’s wisdom even non-Believers like to quote. Two whores come before the king to resolve their problem. (Talk about “chutzpah!”). One had given birth and three days later the other did also but accidentally rolled over on her infant, who died. This woman stole the three-day-old from the other woman while the woman slept, and left the dead baby with her but when she woke up to nurse the baby she realized what the other woman had done. No one else was there to settle the matter.

King Solomon orders a sword be brought. No one says anything until the sword is brought or seems upset until Solomon And another thing, chop the baby in half so both women have an equal half!

Then the real mother jumps up screaming, “No! Let the baby live and give him to her rather than killing him!”
While the cold-hearted whore founder of Planned Parenthood said, “Kill it! That’s fair!” Solomon orders the baby be given to his rightful mother.

And another thing. All of Israel heard of Solomon’s wisdom in this case and feared being deceitful because they realized his wisdom was from GOD.

Sin gives birth to heartache we wouldn’t have had without it. We can count on GOD Who keeps His covenant to give us eternal Life through JESUS when we believe Him for it. And another thing, we can count on Him to discipline us, even to death, with sin’s consequences until then.

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