1 Kings 9:1-2 (NIV)
1 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do,
2 the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.
On verses 1-9: Earlier in 1 Kings 3:5, when Solomon was just starting his reign, God appeared to Solomon in a dream at the city of Gibeon. At that time God told Solomon to walk in His ways and obey His statutes as David his father had (1 Kings 3:14). Now, fast forward to today’s passage in 1 Kings 9. Here we see that Solomon has completed building the temple, his own palace and “achieved all he had desired to do” (v1). God appears to Solomon again in a dream (v2) like He did over a decade earlier in 1 Kings 3:5 and His message for Solomon is the same: “walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws.” (v4).
God’s promise is that if Solomon would walk faithfully before Him and obey His commands, God would ensure that a descendant of David would always sit on the throne of Israel (v4-5). But if Solomon or his descendants turn away from God and do not observe His commands, Israel will be cut off from the land and the temple will be destroyed (v6-9). This was God’s covenant with Solomon.
What can we learn from this?
1. God is more concerned about your character than your accomplishments. Notice that God’s heart for Solomon before Solomon completed such great projects and after was always the same: God’s main concern was not what Solomon would accomplish, but that Solomon would stay close to God and walk in His ways.
No matter how old you get or how much you accomplish, always remember that what is by far most important is that you maintain a soft heart toward God and that you walk in His ways. Don’t ever think that your age or your accomplishments mean that you’ve graduated from God’s character and intimacy school. Through every decade of your life hereon out, may you seek closeness and obedience to God as your number one priority. For God is more concerned about the quality of your character than the quantity of your accomplishments.
2. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Solomon. Eventually Solomon and many of the kings that succeeded him would turn away from God and embrace idols. This resulted in the negative part of God’s promise coming true: Israel would be taken over by their enemies and brought into exile while the temple would be destroyed. However, in Jesus Christ, we find the fulfillment of the positive part of God’s promise. As the Son of God and also as the Son of David, Jesus did what no one else could do: He fully walked in God’s ways and fully obeyed God’s commands. Now this Son of David reigns as king forever over all of God’s people.
1 Kings 9:11-13 (NIV)
11 King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and pine and gold he wanted.
12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them.
13 “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Cabul, a name they have to this day.
On verses 10-14: In return for all the gold that Hiram King of Tyre gave Solomon to build the temple and the royal palace, Solomon gave Hiram 20 towns in Galilee. Hiram was unhappy, felt he had been scammed and called those towns in Galilee “Kabul”, which means “worthless”. This region would thus become known for centuries as a worthless region. (For example, see John 1:49 where Nathaniel hears that Jesus is from Nazareth in Galilee and skeptically says: “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”). Little did Hiram King of Tyre realize that from this “worthless” region would arise the greatest, most valuable and most worthy king of all: Jesus Christ.
What can we learn from this? God loves to take that which others call worthless, that which others despise, and make some beautiful out of it. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, God loves to chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world to shame the strong. So if you’re tempted to think that you’re small, worthless, weak or foolish, remember that God specializes in using small, weak, foolish and “worthless” things for His glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that where Solomon and so many of his descendants failed, Your Son Jesus succeeded, and now He reigns as our king forever. Thank You that what the Hirams of this world might call small, weak, foolish or “worthless”, You can use to do things that the big, strong, wise and “worthy” cannot do. Thank You for being willing to use us in that way. Lord, build Your church and let Your kingdom come through us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!