2 Sept. 1 Kings 9:1-9

2 Sept.  Solomon is warned about worshipping other gods

“Solomon finished building the Temple of the LORD and his royal palace and everything he wanted to build. Then the LORD appeared to him again just as he had done before, in Gibeon.”

“The LORD said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and what you have asked me to do. You built this Temple, and I have made it a holy place. I will be worshipped there for ever and will watch over it and protect it always.’”

“’But you must serve me as your father David did; he was fair and sincere. You must obey all I have commanded and keep my laws and rules. If you do, I will make your kingdom strong. This is the promise I made to your father David – that someone from his family would always rule Israel.’”

“But you and your children must follow me and obey the laws and commands I have given you. You must not serve or worship other gods. If you do, I will force Israel to leave the land I have given them, and I will leave this Temple that I have made holy. All the nations will make fun of Israel and speak evil about them.’”

“’If the Temple is destroyed, everyone who passes by will be shocked. They will make fun of you and ask, “Why did the LORD do this terrible thing to this land and this Temple?” People will answer, “This happened because they left the LORD their God.”’”

“’”This was the God who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, but they decided to follow other gods. They worshipped and served those gods, so the LORD brought all this disaster on them.”’”

          (1 Kings 9:1-9)

 

 

In many respects the building and dedication of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (see 1 Kings 6-8) marks the high point of the Old Testament narrative.

So far, in our journey through the Old Testament, we’ve observed how the LORD led Abraham to leave Mesopotamia and travel to the land God would show him: “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.” (Genesis 12:1-2)

We’ve seen how God made a covenant agreement with Abraham: “You live in the land of Canaan now as a stranger, but I will give you and your descendants all this land for ever.” (Genesis 17:8) This promise took many generations to be fulfilled. While Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in Canaan for only three generations, famine forced the descendants of Abraham to settle in Egypt, where they were looked after by Jacob’s son Joseph, who had become a high ranking official (see Genesis 45:4-11).

Not until many more generations had lived did God call Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt into “a good land with lots of room – a fertile land.” (Exodus 3:7-8) On their way to the ‘promised land’, God appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, and gave him the laws and commandments that the people of Israel were to keep if they were to be blessed by God (see Exodus 20:1-20).

Under the leadership of Joshua, the people of Israel crossed the River Jordan and entered the land of Canaan, conquering much of it within a lifetime (see Joshua 1:1-5). During the leadership of the ‘judges’, including Deborah and Gideon, neighbouring countries such as the Midianites often dominated the Israelites (see Judges 6:1-6); but under King David, the Israelites’ enemies – the Philistines, Amalekites and Ammonites – were defeated, and the land under the domination of the Israelites came to stretch from the boundary of Egypt to the River Euphrates (see 1 Kings 4:21).

And then, as the leaders of the world come to listen to the wisdom of David’s son Solomon, a magnificent Temple was built in Jerusalem to worship the LORD, and the Ark of the Covenant Agreement was carried into the Temple, which was dedicated by Solomon (see 1 Kings 8:22-26).

But while the dedication of Solomon’s Temple marked the high point in the Old Testament narrative, today’s passage reminds us of the fragile foundations on which this extensive kingdom had been built. The LORD reminded Solomon, “But you and your children must follow me and obey the laws and commands I have given you. You must not serve or worship other gods. If you do, I will force Israel to leave the land I have given them, and I will leave this Temple that I have made holy.” (1 Kings 9:6-7)

So we’re reminded that all the splendour of this magnificent kingdom would come to nothing if the people of Israel turned away from the LORD. And despite Solomon’s splendid words at the dedication of the Temple, it wasn't long before he began to accommodate the worship of other gods in Israel, and the downward spiral towards the destruction of the nation began.

The photo (from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906) shows an artist's impression of the ‘Brazen Sea’, the huge bronze washbasin for ritual cleansing in Solomon’s Temple (see 1 Kings 7:23-26).

You can read more about this bronze basin or ‘laver’ @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/31-the-golden-age-of-israel-under-king-solomon/solomon-builds-a-palace-and-furnishes-the-temple/


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