I find it significant that the conditional nature of God’s promise to David is once again emphasized in chapter 9. We saw it in Psalm 132, again in 1 Kings 2 in David’s charge to Solomon, and now here in God’s own words. Today’s reading takes us through chapter 11 and as each chapter unfolds, like an attorney building his case, evidence builds that Solomon did not meet God’s conditions. In Deuteronomy 17:16-17, the Lord’s requirements for the king were as follows: “The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
The horses are mentioned in chapter 9, the gold in chapter 10, and the wives in chapter 11.
We’ve seen it before and we will see it repeatedly: God’s promises are conditional. He makes them to His people without any obligation on His part, their existence is always a matter of grace. But God is not duty bound to carry out His part if His people do not carry out theirs.
This has always been one of the most difficult things for God’s people to understand. God grants us salvation solely by faith because of Grace. But the ultimate end of that salvation, a home in the presence of God, is conditional. We cannot earn it, it’s already ours by virtue of our relationship with God. But we can lose what we have received by grace through faithless living.