Monday 06 June 2016

Bible Book:
1 Kings

“... and his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel.” (v. 9)

1 Kings 11:4-13 Monday 6 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm97


When David's reign came to an end in around 970BCSolomon inherited the foundation of a kingdom that was united. Thepolitical and religious climates were at first helpful, enablingSolomon to build the temple at Jerusalem, as well as establishingIsrael's financial prosperity. The agricultural-based nation ofDavid was transformed into a mixed economy that included copper andother minerals being traded across the Mediterranean and the MiddleEast. Solomon's four characteristics - Worship, Wealth, Wives andWisdom - seemed to have assured him of a stable kingdom. However,Solomon's wisdom in trading did not extend to other aspects ofkingship. His vast harem was probably as much a result of tradingalliances as of sexual appetite; but his crippling levying of taxesand forced labour, notably on the northern provinces of Israel,caused real resentment. Clearly Solomon liked living in luxury, aswell as needing to pay for the vast temple venture, but the strainson his people were clear. Unity was being severely tested.

Verse 9 makes it clear that Solomon "had turnedaway from the Lord, the God of Israel". The final straw for Godseems to have been not just that his wives and concubines followedother gods, but that Solomon willingly built shrines for these godsin prominent places. Verse 11 makes God's displeasure plain.Solomon's attitude and disobedience resulted in a disunitedkingdom. The northern states of Israel would be separated from thesouthern tribe of Judah - although this would not happen inSolomon's lifetime. Rebellion had consequences.

Anywhere in the world, at any time, nation-buildingis not easy. Enabling different groups of people to feel uniteddepends on such things as sound values clearly expressed, a senseof justice for all, seeking the common good. For the people ofIsrael, these were enshrined in the Ten Commandments (Exodus20).

For Christians, wherever they are found, the twofoundation stones of community living are "Love God with all yourheart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and withall your mind; and [love] your neighbour as yourself" (Luke10:27).

To Ponder

  • What values would you like to see expressed in public life inthe country where you live?
  • How will you demonstrate 'love your neighbour as yourself'today in a practical way?
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