Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

Presented by Mike Tune, Pulpit Minister for the Church of Christ in Falls Church and Amazing Grace International

Saturday, June 16. 1 Kings 12 – 15

      While Solomon was filled with the wisdom of God, he didn’t use it very well.

    David succeeded in uniting all Israel under his kingship.  Early in his reign he appointed a High Priest (Abiathar) from the northern part of Israel, and a co-High Priest (Zadok) from the South.  The first readers of Samuel and Kings, familiar with the turf wars among the tribes during the days of the Judges, would recognize the wisdom of such a political move.

    With Solomon, however, it all comes undone.  Solomon removes Abiathar (though not without good reason).  Then, he divides Israel into twelve districts whose taxes supply the empire with operating capital.  They are overseen by twelve district officers appointed by Solomon.  You might think the districts corresponded to the tribal boundaries, but they do not and in fact, do not include Judah (thus apparently making her tax-exempt).  Solomon fundamentally took away the ability of the northern tribes to select their own leaders and put the burden of paying for his grandiose projects squarely on the north.

    The money from those taxes went primarily for building projects and fortifications in the south, leaving the north more vulnerable.  When it came time to pay Hiram, king of Tyre for all the building products he had furnished, Solomon gave him twenty towns in the north.

    No wonder then when Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, became king in 1 Kings 12 and promised to continue the policies of his father, the north rebelled and seceded from the kingdom.

    Two things stand out to me: First, it is possible to be blessed of God and not live up to your potential.

    When Solomon undertook to bring God glory, he did it in the most human of ways, overlooking a vital interest of God: the unity of His people.  The most beautiful temple in the world would not make up for that failing which brings me to the second point: when God blesses your life, be sure when you thank God for the blessing, you do it in a way God will appreciate, not just a way you believe will bring Him honor.