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Sunday, May 22, 2016

How Much is Enough? (1 Kings 6:38; 7:1)

 "In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He spent seven years building it . . . . It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace."

Seven years to build the temple. Thirteen years to build the palace. Seems disproportionate.

A friend recently showed me a 23,000 square foot home built by an older couple in her neighborhood. And, another friend told me about a 10,000 square foot house built by another older couple here in town. Recently I saw a study about how the average size of homes in America has more than doubled since 1970 while the size of the average family has decreased. Which leads us to ask, "How much is enough?"

Jesus warned of covetousness by declaring, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). He then tells the parable about the rich man whose fields 'yielded plentifully'. So, instead of sharing out of the overflow he tears down his barns and builds bigger barns to store his overflow. Sadly, he did not reckon on eternity, for that night Jesus said that the very riches in which he trusted required his soul from him. Then he summarizes his parable with the words, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (verse 21).

This was the beginning of Solomon's spiritual demise. His palace and his kingdom building became the focus of his life and it cost his people dearly. I Kings 12 tells the rest of the story. At his death the people of Israel approach his son, Rehoboam, and ask for relief from some of the tax and work burden experienced under Solomon. Instead, his son increased their load and it cost him dearly, for the people rebelled. And the kingdom divided.

Solomon proves the truth that man becomes enslaved to those things which he treasures.

Questions for today;'s Chronological Bible reading:
1 Kings 5:13-18; 9:15-16, 20-23; 6:1-38; 7:1-12; 2 Chronicles 2:2, 17-18; 3:1-17; 8:7-10
  • Who does Solomon use to construct the temple and his palace?
  • What stipulation does the Lord place upon his blessing the temple?
  • What is the significance of the temple's location on the threshing floor of Araunah?
  • Who does Solomon marry?
  • How closely does Solomon follow the regulations recorded in Deuteronomy 17:14ff which are to guide the behavior of future kings?
Psalm 127
  • What does Solomon understand about the temple, Jerusalem, and the people of Israel?
  • How does Solomon view the sons born to Israel?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you where you are caught up in "building greater barns". Ask Him to reveal and break down the stronghold of covetousness from your life.