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2 CHRONICLES 8:11-10:19 | ROMANS 8:9-25 | PSALM 18:16-36 | PROVERBS 19:26
The Temple is completed, and Solomon becomes well-established as a good and wise king, endowed with all the wealth and wisdom promised to him by the Lord. His fame spreads far and wide, and we learn of the Queen of Sheba, presumably modern day Ethiopia, who comes to pay him a state visit.
She is much impressed by her host and her visit, and says this to Solomon: “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 6 But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. 7 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”
The text also tells us this: 22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
This is a summarized account of Solomon’s life and times. Like his father David, Solomon also ruled for forty years as king of Israel, and when he died, his son Rehoboam was appointed king.
And so begins the life and times of Rehoboam, a man who unfortunately does not start out his reign in a wise way; rather, he starts it out with by antagonizing Jeroboam and his followers, a group in the northern part of the kingdom who consider this the final straw on the camel’s back, and openly revolt against Rehoboam, appoint Jeroboam as king of Israel (as opposed to Rehoboam who will from now on be known as king of Judah), and secede from the union in the northern territories.
This is the defining event that sets the course of history for the grave split between Israel and Judah. As we have already learned from the book of Kings and other sources, it is Jeroboam who has the distinct infamy of being the one to introduce the golden calves as symbols of God, enjoining the people to worship these idols and not to go down to the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is the man who introduces and ingrains idol worship so deeply into the people’s minds, that for many hundreds of years to come, we see how the kings of Israel remain steeped in their practices of idolatry with a variety of gods, including the more well-known one called Baal.
Turning now to our continued reading in the book of Romans, we find Paul offering a simple cause-and-effect type of logic in comparing and contrasting the life of the flesh and the spirit. Paul says, 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
So great is this concept of the Spirit residing within us, that we ought rejoice in this wondrous gift that we are endowed with. Paul explains: 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Next, Paul speaks to the matter of present suffering as juxtaposed with the hope of future glory that awaits each one of us that believes. And as for the matter of hope itself, he puts it in so beautiful a way, when he says, 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we continue with Psalm 18, and find David, the poet-warrior-king, waxing eloquent on the great love, mercies, and provision of God Almighty. David says, referring to God:
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
He goes on to offer praise and thanksgiving by way of these beautiful confidence-building words that would behoove us to repeat even today:
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
Like David, I also wish to speak these words with the same level of confidence and courage as they read here:
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs that is undoubtedly true, as penned by Solomon, the wise king:
26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother
is a child who brings shame and disgrace.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.