Tag Archives: David

Jesus as the Intercessor in David’s census

12 Jan

threshing-floor
“Let your hand be against me…but not against Your people.” 1 Chron. 21:17

Read 2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21

It’s a sad fact of the Christian walk that many of our greatest sins are not committed early in our walk, when we are immature in the faith, but later in life, when we should know better. We can become complacent or over-confident. But we are told in 1 Cor. 10:12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.”

We see David, larger than life in the pages of Scripture, boldly facing a giant when he was only a teen, leading soldiers during his years in the wilderness, and finally becoming not only a righteous king of Israel, but a man after God’s own heart.

David is known for his great moral failure in regard to Bathsheba. That is a sad story and most understand the lessons from that event quite well. But although the causes of that sin could be lust, coveting, abuse of power, and neglect of duty, it also led to other sins like adultery, murder and lying.

In this stage of David’s life, he is nearing the end of his reign. The incident with Bathsheba is long past, Solomon is a grown man, and David’s kingdom is well established. At this point, they have rest from their enemies.

Yet, instead of thankfulness and praise to God, we see both pride and insecurity. David orders a census of the people in his realm. Was he puffed up with hubris, forgetting that the LORD had taken him from shepherding sheep to shepherding His people? Did David think that the kingdom was his because of anything great in himself?

Or was David insecure, fearing that his army wasn’t large enough? Did he forget that God did not need armies to win battles, but that He was able to save “with many, or with few”? Did he need to hear the numbers to assure himself that they would be able to withstand any attacks? He spoke of trusting the LORD, but now he trusted in the arm of man.

We don’t know David’s true motives in this case, but we do know that behind it all, God was judging His people. We see this in verse one of 2 Sam. 24

“Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’”

The reason is not given, but it must have been some kind of sin. The fact that it says, ‘again’ tells us there had been an earlier incident. Most believe this to be Uzzah’s sin in touching the ark, recorded in 2 Sam. 6:6-12. It related to the improper respect for the law of God in handling the things of God. Something similar may have been the case here. In the law of Moses, there is a regulation regarding taking a census. It is found in Exodus 30:12 which says,

“When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.”

The amount is specified in the next few verses. As far as we know, this wasn’t done, so it could be the reason. This would again remind them that they needed to remember they were dealing with a holy God.

We know from Scripture that God is the First Cause of the judgment upon His people.

Yet, 1 Chronicles 21:1 says Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. Which was it? God, Satan, or David? All three, but in this order. God, the Sovereign of the universe is the First Cause, allowing events for His good purposes; Satan, once allowed by God, incites David by putting the thought in David’s mind; and David, as a free moral agent, does what he wants by ordering a census.

What next? David calls a meeting of his generals, tells them what he wants, and silences their protests. They can’t understand why he feels it is necessary to order this make-work project. Even his nephew, General Joab, protests. He seems to understand the wicked intent behind the order, and refuses to count the Levites or Benjamites in the total; possibly because the Levites were excluded from military service and the temple was in Gibeon, with the tribe of Benjamin. The main reason for Joab’s half-hearted obedience was his general disdain towards any of David’s orders with which he disagreed.

David ordered them to count all the men over the age of twenty. This was the age at which they would be eligible for military service.

Was he hoping to conscript more soldiers if he deemed there were not enough, or to increase taxes based on the population? Was David planning an offensive to take even more land than Yahweh had allotted them? We don’t know, but we know that whatever his motives, God was not pleased.

Ten months later, the census is completed and the numbers reported to David. Immediately, his conscience is pricked and he recognizes the wickedness of what he has done. He sees it even before a prophet is dispatched to announce God’s assessment of the situation. He repents, yet judgment still falls.

The prophet Gad is sent by God to address the king the next day. Surprising, and yet, not. This was how God communicated with the patriarchs. David must have known the news would not be good. He must have feared the approach of the prophet, as if he was bringing condemnation, just as the prophet Nathan had. Gad didn’t even explain the problem, but went straight to the punishment.

“Thus says the LORD, ‘I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.’”

Gulp. Would it be worse to choose your own punishment than to merely take whatever the LORD would send?

“Will three years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before you are defeated by your foes, with the sword of your enemies overtaking you? Or will there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

Consider the terrible options brought by the prophet; famine, enemies, or plague. These three things have been the usual punishments for disobedience for their nation from the beginning. What an impossible choice! Any of those would result in so much death, again the result of David’s actions. How many would die as the result of his decisions?

“I am in great distress,” David says to Gad. “Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

So, that would mean David chose the first or last option. He must’ve been so overwhelmingly distressed at the thought of fleeing from his enemies again, after the years in the wilderness, running from Saul, and more recently, on the run from his own son, Absalom. Some commentators speculate that there was possibly some measure of selfishness in David’s choice, since the prophet said with the second option he would fall by the sword. (1 Chron. 21:12) Perhaps this old warrior-king liked the idea of dying in his bed after all.

Are those thoughts too harsh? Hadn’t David learned that the LORD’s mercies were indeed great, as he saw when He forgave his many sins?

The choice was made by God. The plague began that night.

The sound of anguish and loud wailing would have been heard behind almost every door. At first, people wouldn’t understand what was happening, or why. People would suddenly get sick and die. They didn’t know how many would die in this divine judgment. Even if their family members were fine on the first day, would it be a comfort, once they learned it would last three days? They were at the mercy of the LORD, as David had said.

It must have seemed so mystical; the way the LORD was working. They had witnessed God’s supernatural power over events in the life of David so many times, but in his favor. Yet now, to be witnessing God’s judgment, of this magnitude, on His own people… and they knew it would happen just as the prophet said. There would be a plague throughout the whole land. And it would last as long as God decreed. Thankfully, not a moment longer.

A plague. Like the judgments on ancient Egypt in the day of Moses, God was revealing His mighty arm. He would do as He wished in the affairs of men. He was a discerner of men’s hearts. He knew what was in David’s heart; what motivated him to number the people.

Yet they could be equally sure the plague would not extend beyond Israel’s borders, because this time Israel was the object of God’s wrath, just as the Israelites were spared when the LORD judged Egypt. This was a very specific plague; Israel only, three days only.

But why must the people suffer for the king’s folly? When he took Bathsheba and murdered Uriah, God didn’t strike the people. Why now? It must not have seemed fair. In his sin with Bathsheba, which was heinous, and affected many people, he was forgiven. Yet now, in this seemingly harmless incident, the judgment is severe. What’s the difference?

We don’t know for sure, but possibly because the incident with Bathsheba was a private sin, it resulted in private consequences, mostly within the king’s own family. But this was a public sin, therefore the consequences were public. If the king was motivated by pride in the number of his people, as if the strength of Israel was the result of his leadership, rather than the blessing of God, then, perhaps the LORD was taking away from their number to show him that He alone is the cause of blessing or cursing, mercy or judgment.

But what’s so wrong about a census? It’s been done many times without this type of response.

Often the sins we think are small, are more offensive to God because he knows our motives. Or it could have been because of the manner in which it was done, which we mentioned earlier.

But why can’t God just forgive David, if he repents, like before?

He did repent. He recognized his sin. His conscience was bothered. This was before he even knew the prophet would come to him. Perhaps there are times when we are repentant, and God forgives us, yet the consequences still come. David was forgiven for his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah, yet there were still grave consequences. Other soldiers died along with Uriah. Families were bereaved. Who can understand the judgments of God?

Couldn’t he just offer some kind of sacrifice, like the one for wilful sin, and hope that God would relent?

Doubtful. When the prophet announced the judgment, it didn’t come with options to avoid it. This time, the sacrifice would be the lives of his people. How many that would be, they didn’t know.

Imagine yourself in the midst of this divine judgment. You’d wonder if every family would lose someone, like in the plague in Egypt, with the death of the firstborn? Would the judgment be that comprehensive?

These were probably the longest, most dreadful three days of David’s life. He knew he couldn’t stop the judgment of God. He must have feared moment by moment that a messenger would arrive with terrible news about someone in his family.

This was no localized event. News would arrive of thousands of dead throughout all Israel, from Dan in the north, to Beersheba in the south, all beginning on the same day. Yet the greatest number of deaths seemed to be in Jerusalem, itself, the city that bore Yahweh’s name. When it was all over, seventy thousand men of Israel died. If it’s the case that only men died, again it would remind David of his desire to know how many men of fighting age where in the land. It’s also interesting that 1 Chon. 21:14 says not just that they died, but that these men ‘fell’, so the idea is that of falling in battle. The LORD was fighting, not for His people, but against them.

Their only consolation would be that the prophet said the plague would last only three days. Only three days!

All business would been suspended, as it often is in a national crisis. The whole country would be in a panic, probably hoping to flee from the plague; but they were kept in Israel, caring for the dead or dying. David and all the elders of Israel were clothed in the sackcloth of mourning.

On the evening of that third day, David goes up onto the rooftop, this time not as a restless king looking for a distraction, but as a distressed man at the mercy of God. Even from this height, the cries of mourning could be heard in the streets below. David looks out over Jerusalem, the city he loves and his heart must have ached.

1 Chron. 21:16 We don’t know how this angel appeared but it may have been as if the clouds had formed into the shape of a man; with his sword drawn and outstretched over Jerusalem. The elders of Israel seemed to see it as well, and fell on their faces.

David fell to his face and cried out, “I am the one who has done evil indeed,” he confessed. “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? But these sheep,” he stretched his arm out over the city in entreaty to God, interceding for his people, “what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against your people.”

How different this evening walk on a rooftop was from that evening long ago! To be witness to such a prayer! Although the people could rightly be angry at David that this punishment had come upon them, could they imagine that if they were in David’s position, they’d wish curses on their own family in the place of others? David had already seen so much suffering in his own family as a result of his actions, and now he was willing to take on even more, to spare his people. He was truly a shepherd of the people.

Usually, in sacrifice, it was the life of an innocent animal in place of a guilty person; but now David, the guilty man, offered himself in place of his innocent sheep.

As if in a conversation with God, Himself, the prophet Gad arrived behind them on the roof. As was his usual direct approach, the prophet went straight to the message.

In response to David’s prayer, the prophet told him, “The LORD has relented of the disaster and has restrained the hand of the destroying angel. Now go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan, the Jebusite.”

It’s odd that the LORD directed David to a new place of worship, rather than the tabernacle in Gibeon, which was only six miles away from Jerusalem. But David did not question the command. Instead he hurried to observe the word of the LORD, perhaps thinking to spare even one more person if he obeyed quickly. Zadok, the priest and several other guards would have followed David as he entered his chariot and went in the direction of the vision he had seen in the sky over Jerusalem. As some citizens of Jerusalem saw the royal chariot pass by, he may have heard them exclaim, “The king! The king has come down to see our suffering!”

David must have turned away in anguish. Many would not yet know he was the cause of the plague. When they learned of it, they could well curse him instead.

When they arrived at the property of Ornan, the Jebusite, which was near Mount Moriah, the man would have looked up to see the king and his servants approaching. David wasted no time in going directly to the man. Ornan bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

“Are you Ornan, the Jebusite?” David asked.

The man nodded. “Why has my lord, the king, come to his servant?” Ornan must have asked, with trembling in his voice. The man must have feared for his life since the king came to him in person and asked for him by name.

“Grant that I might buy the threshing floor from you at full price, that I might build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

Ornan lifts his head, relief and surprise in his eyes, then he stands. “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him.” He motions to a yoke of oxen nearby. “Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Ornan has given to the king,” then he adds with a bow, “May the LORD your God accept you.”

David must have paused at Ornan’s last comment.

“No, but I will surely buy it from you for full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.”

Isn’t that beautiful? He understood that true worship was costly. This time he would not abuse his power and take what did not belong to him.

David counted out a generous sum and paid Ornan, so it then became royal property. Their haggling was reminiscent of the purchase of Sarah’s burial site by Abraham, done in front of witnesses, to make it legal.

David then set about building the altar himself, brushing away the help offered by his servants. As the king place each rock, one by one, on the growing altar, we wonder if David remembered how he wanted his people counted?

When it was built, David offered burnt offerings; in acknowledgement of the righteous judgment of God, and peace offerings; in recognition of the mercy of God. This was accomplished through Zadok, the priest, whom he had brought with him.

When the oxen had been laid on the altar, David fell to his knees and called out to God. We don’t know what he prayed, but we know his prayer was heard. A moment passes. David instructs Zadok to proceed with lighting the burnt offering, but there is no need, as fire came from heaven, directly onto the altar. The guards standing nearby may have fallen backwards, some would have cried out in fear. What was happening?
David would have recognized what had happened, and it caused him to fall on his face. They would have felt the heat from the fire. When they looked up, the sacrifice had been completely consumed.

The LORD was pleased to answer David’s prayer and accept the sacrifice by fire. If the plague was a supernatural occurrence, this was more so.

As David inhaled the scent of the burnt offering, he must have marvelled that God had accepted the offering. Just as all of God’s judgments were just, so great was His mercy toward His people. Once His sword was sheathed, there would be no further deaths from this plague.

David was truly humbled by this event, perhaps even more so than after his sin with Bathsheba. In many ways, he had abused his power; taking another man’s wife, ordering this census because of his pride, not following God’s commands in how it should be done.

Now, he realized he was not greater than this poor farmer, whose land he purchased. He did not just come and demand the land and all he needed. He bought it for a generous price, and built the altar with his own hands, rather than merely ordering his servants to do it. He finally saw that true worship was costly, as his disobedience had been costly.

In spite of the horrible events of those three days, it must have been hard to feel any bitterness toward David. God’s anger had been spent. The avenging angel had sheathed its sword, near the same place where Abraham’s hand was stayed from killing Isaac, so long ago. It was over.

Some of the Scarlet Threads we find are revealed as contrasts, like the blood of Abel crying out for justice, versus the blood of Christ crying out for forgiveness. How is Christ pictured in this event? He is the One Who intercedes for His sheep and offers to take their punishment. In David’s case, it was the guilty for the innocent; in Christ’s case it is the innocent for the guilty. Jesus stands between the just wrath of God and His people. He absorbs it in Himself as the sacrifice, and even now He intercedes for us based on what He has already accomplished.

“Let your hand be against me…but not against Your people.” 1 Chron. 21:17

His sacrifice was complete and accepted. We know this because God the Father put His stamp of approval on it by raising Jesus from the dead. Romans 4:25 says Jesus… “who was delivered up (to die) because of our offenses, and raised because of our justification.” His resurrection proved that the sacrifice was acceptable to God. Otherwise He would have stayed dead. It corroborated everything Jesus ever said and did.

It’s also interesting to note that even though there was already a set place of worship, in Gibeah, six miles northeast of Jerusalem, God directs David to a new place. He then prophesied that it would be the site of the soon-to-be-built temple. (2 Chron. 22:1)

This place is in the shadow of Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham almost sacrificed his son. It remained the place where David continued to go to worship, 1 Chron. 21:30 says, because of fear. It became the site that Solomon built his temple, (2 Chron. 3:1) and the same area where Christ was sacrificed a thousand years later.

Threshing floor of Ornan

Prayer: “Oh gracious, merciful LORD. This narrative shows us how You are involved in the affairs of men, and overrule them because You are Sovereign. When we read of things like a plague being sent by Your hand to punish Your people, we tremble. Yet with You there is mercy. We also see that You are holy and we could not stand in Your presence, let alone approach You if not for the finished work of Christ on our behalf. He intercedes for us, even now, and we thank You. If we are hidden in Christ, we are safe from Your righteous judgments. Thank You for accepting His sacrifice.”

Questions: How is your take on this narrative different from what you thought previously? Did you ever feel the plague was somehow an over-reaction to the census? Did you ever see Christ in this story before? Did you know about the change in location of worship? Do you ever feel you have to ‘defend’ God to unbelievers who would use this story to demonstrate how He appears harsh and uncaring? Did you notice that David never once complained about the judgment of God? He only ever claimed He was merciful and appealed to Him to transfer His judgment to Himself. Do you agree with the statement that many sins are committed when believers are more mature, than when they are less mature in the faith? Why do you think that is?

In 2 Samuel, Jesus is: The One Who Demonstrates Covenant Faithfulness to Mephibosheth

3 Oct

Mephibosheth

“…like one of the king’s sons” 2 Samuel 9:11b

Read 2 Samuel 9

One of the most beautiful examples of the gospel, as well as adoption and covenant faithfulness is found in the account of King David’s grace extended to Mephibosheth, the disabled son of Jonathan. Here we see a strong and powerful king stoop down to reach out to someone who is everything he is not.

Adoption is something we understand in our society. A family decides to take in a child either because they have no children of their own, or because they want to add to their family. It may be an infant or an older child. The normal process is that the parent searches for the child. The child doesn’t take the initiative and demand entrance into the family.

Likewise, adoption as a theological term is focused on the personal relationships salvation brings. Grudem says, “Adoption is an act of God whereby He makes us members of His family.”

In this account in 2 Samuel, we see King David takes the initiative to search out relatives of Jonathan. He is under no obligation. He is pondering his love for Jonathan and remembering his covenant. He seeks out a descendant of Jonathan merely because he wants to show him favour. David had promised both Saul and Jonathan that he wouldn’t destroy their descendants, as was the custom of kings to put away rivals to the throne. (1 Sam. 20:16, 17, 1 Sam. 24:20-22, 2 Sam. 21:7).

He wonders, “Is there anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” This word kindness can also be translated covenant-faithfulness or grace. A covenant is a contract between two parties.

Grace, according to Chuck Swindoll, “…can mean unmerited favour—extending special favour to someone who doesn’t deserve it, who hasn’t earned it, and can never repay it.”

Notice David doesn’t qualify the request, is there anyone worthy, or qualified? Just, “Is there anyone?” It is enough that he has promised, and he means to keep his promise. David finds a former servant of Saul and inquires again. Ziba knows of a son of Jonathan, but warns David about Mephibosheth’s disability. He may be trying to subtly warn David that Mephibosheth wouldn’t look good in the court of the king. David doesn’t care. He just asks, “Where is he?”

Mephibosheth was the only surviving relative of Jonathan, King Saul’s son. In 2 Sam. 4:4 we read about his crippling accident when he was only five years old. When news came of the death of his father and grandfather, Mephibosheth’s nurse took him and fled. He fell and became lame in his feet. He was now living with a friend, in a barren place. He had no home or property of his own, even though he was the grandson of the king.

Mephibosheth receives a summons. What must he have thought when he heard King David’s servants say, “The king wants to see you.”? Did he feel fear, or merely resignation, knowing this day would come? A summons is not like an invitation to a party, which can be declined. It is a request that comes with authority and if he would not come willingly, it carried the means to bring it about.

Mephibosheth tosses aside his cane and falls at David’s feet, probably expecting a sword to the back of his neck. Instead, what does he receive? The King calls him by name, and says,

“Do not fear.” Comfort

“For I will surely show you kindness…” Grace

“And will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather.” Inheritance

“…and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” Communion

Mephibosheth goes from a place of barrenness to a place of honour. He knows he doesn’t deserve this favour. He refers to himself as a dead dog.

David further instructs Ziba and his sons and servants to farm the former property of Saul, which he has now bequeathed to Mephibosheth. This was probably extensive property. He now has an inheritance to pass on to his own sons. David does this, and yet does not send Mephibosheth away.

He insists on giving him a home in the palace. Mephibosheth will “eat at my table like one of the king’s sons.” This is where we see adoption, with all the privileges we mentioned.

He may be heard coming to dinner, his cane clop clopping on the floors, but once he is seated, the tablecloth of grace covers his crooked feet.

Likewise, we are estranged from our Father because of our sin, lame in our “walk”, our lifestyle. We are in the wilderness with no home of our own, no inheritance, no comfort and no fellowship. Just as Adam and Eve hid from God, we are in hiding because of our sin. Sin causes shame. Then we hear the summons of the King, the effectual call of the gospel. We hear it, recognize its truth, and believe it. We agree with the Word of God. We know we are deserving of judgment, not mercy.

God the Father searched us out, not because we were loveable, but because of the love He has for His Son. He has promised to give His son the nations for His inheritance. That’s us! So He decides to take us into His family. He is under no obligation to do so. He adopts us.

He gives us the family name: Christian, which means, “little Christs”. There is to be a family resemblance in character to our Heavenly Father, who is holy, and our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. We love those who are now our brothers and sisters. We know that our conduct matters. If, in a human family the actions of one cause either shame or honour to the whole family, how can we live as if we were not bearing the family name, Christian?

We can now have comfort with no fear of condemnation. He shows us grace that we don’t deserve, haven’t earned, and can never repay. He takes care of our needs. He leads us. He disciplines us as children. He makes us heirs with Christ.
Think of that! Such an inheritance! What can the world possibly offer us? And we have communion with this One through prayer, through His word, and we will one day see Him face to face.

We also have the privilege of suffering with Him. “…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Rom. 8:17

For those of us without fathers, He is the Father of the fatherless. What a privilege to be adopted into THIS family!

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

“Jesus doesn’t invite us to the table because we are an outcast, forgotten or limping, he asks us to sit with him because of who our Father is, simply because we are a part of his family.”Wendy van Eyck

Solomon’s Life as a Type of Christ in 1 Kings

17 Nov

Read 1 Kings 1-11

In the glory days of Israel, King Solomon stood out. Although his father, David was revered as the best king, unlike David’s reign, Solomon’s reign knew mostly peace. He was also the wealthiest king, and the wisest man who ever lived, apart from Christ. We will look at the ways that the whole life of Solomon pre-figured Christ, both by similarities and contrasts.

Solomon was the King of Israel. Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.” 1 Kings 2:12

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:16

Solomon’s kingdom knew a time of unprecedented peace. This peaceful reign foreshadowed the time of peace that will never end.1 Kings 4:24,25

This time of peace eventually ended. See 1 Kings 11:14,23,26 but Christ’s reign will know no end. Christ is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6,7

Solomon was rich, with yearly tax revenue equalling 39,960 pounds of gold. 1 Kings 10:14 (See all of 1 Kings 10 ) He had an opulent palace and many building projects, the pinnacle of which was Solomon’s temple. Read 1 Kings 6:14-22

But Jesus Christ is rich, without taxing His people. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:9-11 Psalm 50:11-13

He is the maker and owner of all things. Thus says the LORD: Isa. 66:1-3 And He owns the gold and silver in every mine.Hagg.2:8

Yet, Jesus laid aside His glory and riches for our sake. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:8-10 In what sense did He become poor? On earth, He was homeless, had only one piece of clothing worth anything, and had no possessions. He owned no property and carried no cash. He even paid His taxes in an unusual way.  “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”Matthew 17:27

When the Queen of Sheba came to investigate the rumours about Solomon’s wisdom and wealth, she exclaimed,   “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard! 1 Kings 10:6,7” We cannot begin to imagine how amazing Heaven will be.

She said his servants were blessed to see his face and hear his righteous judgments. “Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:8,9

Even more so, the servants of Christ are blessed to read His words and serve Him. God is praised because He delighted in His Son and was pleased to set Him on the throne of the universe, to do justice and righteousness. One day, we will see Him face to face, hear His voice, and serve Him without weariness or sin.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Rev.22:3.4

Solomon received wisdom from God so that he could lead Israel. One case in particular stands out. Read 1 Kings 3:16-28 Two women and one live baby that they both claimed was theirs. Solomon’s decision revealed the true mother.  And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” 1 Kings 3:28

Jesus teaching was unlike any other. He spoke with authorityAnd so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”Matt.7:28,29 He forgave sin. He passed judgment. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,’Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’She said, ‘No one, Lord.’And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” Matt. 8:10,11

When questioned about paying taxes, And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at Him.” Mark 12:17

When Solomon ascended to the throne, he destroyed his enemies; Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab and Shimei.

Adonijah, his brother, for his attempted coup. 1 Kings 1:5 The King would not tolerate rivals.

Abiathar, the priest, was exiled, because he supported Adonijah’s grab for the throne. 1 Kings 1:7  1 Kings 2:26,27

Joab was executed for his support of Adonijah  (1 Kings 1:7) and for his peacetime murder of two generals.1 Kings 2:5,6 1 Kings 2:31-33

Shimei was exiled, and later executed for breaking the terms of his exile. His crime is found in 2 Samuel 16:5-131 Kings 2:44-46

In relation to Shimei, Solomon showed mercy by not destroying him right away and by warning him. Christ, in relation to sinners does not always punish right away, and shows mercy by warning them of coming punishment.

Thus Solomon’s kingdom was established when he put away his mortal enemies. Likewise, when we acknowledge the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we put him first. There is nothing we want more. We seek His kingdom first.But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Christ also ascended to Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Majesty on high, having destroyed the power of the grave and hell forever.

 “ ‘O Death, where is your sting?]O Hades, where is your victory?’[The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:55-57

For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:25,26

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Rev. 1:18

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:14,15

By destroying his enemies, Solomon did not tolerate threats to his reign or false claims to his throne. Likewise, Our God is a jealous God and He will not give His glory to another. He is the Only One worthy to sit on the throne and judge the nations.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ’Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’” Rev.5:12,13

Solomon built a magnificent temple, seven years in the making, with many objects made of marble and overlaid with gold. It was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Jesus Christ has been preparing a place for us in Heaven for 2,000 years! How awesome will that be? We will walk through gates of pearl, stroll on streets of gold, and live in a city whose foundations are made of precious stones.  Rev.21 and 22

In My Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2,3

After Solomon finished building the temple, during the dedication, God Himself came to dwell in it. “And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,  so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:10,11

Likewise, God ‘tabernacled’, or pitched His tent among us, when Christ took on flesh and lived among us. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

But even more glorious, will be the day when we will be in the presence of God in Heaven, seeing His face, enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him.“”And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” Rev. 21:3, 4

In the book of Song of Solomon, the king is a lover. Christ is the lover of our souls. The king is the fairest of ten thousand. Jesus is the name above every name.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

The lover sees his bride as perfect and beautiful. “You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7 Christ sees His bride that way as well. “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27

Solomon had a legitimate claim to the throne as the son of David. Also, it is significant that he was a child conceived after David married Bathsheba, so no one could say Solomon was illegitimate. Adonijah was the eldest, so he assumed  he was next in line for the throne. However, God had promised that David’s son, Solomon would sit on the throne. “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon,for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.  He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’” 1 Chronicles 22:9,10

Jesus Christ also has a legitimate claim to the throne of David and the throne of the universe. If you look at the genealogies you’ll see He is in the family line of David. But as the Son of God He has the right to sit on the throne of Heaven.“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:‘The Lord said to my Lord,‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Acts 2:34,35

Solomon did not remain true to the end. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David.Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”1 Kings 11:4-8 A true tragedy. It started early with his political marriages to unbelievers. Spiritual change always happens little by little. Mark Dever says, “A small difference in trajectory can make a big difference in destination.”

Yet Christ is called “Faithful and True” Rev.19:11 He is also, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6 He finished the work the Father gave him to do and did not shrink back from it.

Solomon’s house and temple were magnificent, but they were eventually ransacked, rebuilt and eventually destroyed. His glory was temporary. He reigned only 40 years, then went the way of all the earth. 1 Kings 11:42,43

But Christ’s glory is eternal and His reign will know no end. “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’”
Rev.5:13

Epitaph

So what happened to Solomon? Can we expect to see him in Heaven one day?

I believe there is reason to be hopeful for several reasons.

First, God showed mercy in the midst of judgment. Divine judgement was deferred.“Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.” 1 Kings 11:34

God promised that He would discipline David’s son but not cast him off forever, as he did Saul.

 “’When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.’”2 Sam 7:12-16

If the book of Ecclesiastes is any indication of his mindset, he seemed to “get it” in the end.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
Ecc. 12:13,14

In the book, King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex and Power, Phillip Graham Ryken concludes, “Solomon was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He came from noble birth, heir to the world’s most famous dynasty. He was the king of Israel. He had a powerful army and cavalry, but never needed to use it as he ruled during a golden age of peace. During Solomon’s reign the kingdom grew to its widest expanse.  He had riches beyond compare. He was a famous builder. His temple in Jerusalem was one of the wonders of the ancient world. He was an accomplished naturalist and a learned scholar, a brilliant poet and philosopher. He was a man of prayer. (See his prayer at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:22-53). Above all he was a man of wisdom. His kingdom reveals a pattern for the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. Luke 11:31

Prayer: “Thank  you, Lord, for the life of King Solomon. You blessed him beyond measure and gave us a glimpse of the future glory of your kingdom. You are wiser, more glorious, richer, more merciful than he was. We are blessed as your servants to hear Your words and learn from You. One day we will see you face to face in the home You’ve been preparing for two thousand years. We will serve and worship You forever.”

Questions: Solomon took seven years to build the temple of God and thirteen years to build his own house? What does that reveal about his heart? What is the ratio of time/money spent on kingdom work vs. our own homes? What does that reveal about the state of our hearts? What were some of the small choices that Solomon made that ended in tragedy? Do you feel more hopeful that we will see Solomon in Heaven, after this study?

Response: The Queen of Sheba gave full honour to Solomon, and he wasn’t half the king Jesus is. Do we honour Him as we ought?

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