1 Kings 12
November 12, 2022Day 317
Israel united as one kingdom lasted for just two reigns—David’s and Solomon’s. As soon as Solomon died, his son Rehoboam missed a chance to make friends of his people, keeping their loyalty and faith. He chose to be arrogant and cruel instead, and in so doing, lost all ten northern tribes to Jeroboam, the son of one of Solomon’s officials. Then Jeroboam made a foolish decision, too. Afraid that if the people went to Jerusalem to worship he would lose their loyalty, he not only created a new place to worship, he made two golden calves for them to bow down to! Didn’t he know his own history? From this moment, the people whom God had chosen to show His love to the world went farther and farther down the wrong path.
1 Kings 11
November 11, 2022Day 316
What a tragic ending to a story of faith and wisdom! Like his father before him, Solomon’s downfall is in seeing women as objects he wants for his own collection, rather than persons in their own right. But he takes it to extremes—one thousand women kept in his harems! It would take nearly three years just to spend one day with each one. Worse than this, many were pagans who worshiped idols, even terrible, demonic gods like Chemosh and Molech, to whom children were sacrificed, and Solomon weakly went along with this false worship. If we only had this chapter, we might fear that Solomon ended his life without God, but we know from Ecclesiastes that he did turn back when he was old, thank God.
1 Kings 10
November 10, 2022Day 315
Solomon’s fame as the wisest king ever continues to grow throughout the world. Now the Queen of Sheba comes in a train of royal array to find out if he really is so. She not only is impressed by his wisdom, she is much more impressed by his God. This has been God’s plan from the beginning—that people will see Him in His people, and turn to Him. Matt. 12:42 implies that perhaps the queen was truly converted and will be in heaven. We don’t know for sure where Sheba was, but probably either Arabia or Ethiopia. She was almost certainly a woman of color. She was definitely a woman of spirit and grace, recognizing the hand of the Creator when she saw it!
1 Kings 9
November 9, 2022Day 314
God responds personally to Solomon’s prayer, as He did when the king was young. He repeats the same promises and warnings He has sent to the people of earth for thousands of years already: “Follow Me and be blessed; turn away, and it will cause you great sorrow and trouble.” The first twenty years of Solomon’s reign have been dedicated to the great task of building the temple—and also a kingly palace. Now we learn of some more building and rebuilding projects. The promises and warnings God gave then are still the same today. Do you live your life by them?
1 Kings 8
November 8, 2022Day 313
This is such a beautiful chapter that it’s hard to choose one verse! (If you like another better, learn that.) At long last, the glorious temple is complete, and the king waits for the next time the month of the great Day of Atonement comes around. The people of all the land are called to Jerusalem, and they install the ark in its new home. Then Solomon prays a prayer that has inspired all humanity for all the centuries from then till now. And God declares His joy in His children by showing a thrilling sign of His presence and His delight in all their hard work and dedication. Don’t you wish you could have been there? Don’t you wish God’s people would always stay this dedicated to peaceful and holy pursuits?
1 Kings 7
November 7, 2022Day 312
Now we learn the details of Solomon’s palace, which he built after the temple. Then he brings a craftsman named Hiram to make two special pillars and all the furniture for the temple. This is not the same as King Hiram; in fact, in 1 Chronicles he is called Huram. He is an Israelite, of the tribe of Naphtali. The details about him can encourage us all. Even if we are orphans, and perhaps living in a foreign city, the gifts God gives us can be given back, for the glory of God and the joy of all people.
1 Kings 6
November 6, 2022Day 311
Solomon’s temple must have been so beautiful! It was destroyed long ago, and all we have now are artists’ representations, based on the details given in this chapter. You can find pictures online, if you have access. Seven years they labored, and all cutting was done with great precision at the quarry, so that the great stones fit together at the building site like a massive, perfect puzzle. What a thing it would have been to see!
1 Kings 5
November 5, 2022Day 310
For once, we are not reading of battles and wars. These two great kings made a covenant together for a high purpose: to build a temple for the Lord. Solomon had peace on every side and was now free to fulfill his father’s dream. Even though the words “forced labor” are used, and even though it meant the individuals didn’t have a choice of whether to work or not, no doubt there were many of those laborers who were honored to be a part of this great project.
1 Kings 4
November 4, 2022Day 309
Most of this chapter is interesting only for its historic value. The scribes kept very good records—imagine, to this day, 3,000 years later, we still know who Solomon’s officials were! The rest of the chapter shows how astonishing Solomon’s wisdom was to the whole known world of that time. People came from Africa, from the near east, perhaps even from the edges of Europe to hear Solomon. He wrote three books that we still have, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, and likely more that we don’t have anymore. Don’t you wish you could visit the court of Solomon and listen in on one of those visits?