Study in 2 Chronicles. Presentation 01. Guidance, Wealth And Glory Chap 1v1-20. Presentation 01. Introduction.
Both books of Chronicles, being much later writings than both 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings, are more spiritually and religiously interpretative than these other historical books. With this in mind the authorship is thought to have a priestly or temple origin.
While there are numerous references to
Solomon in the closing chapters of
1 Chronicles, it is only now that Solomon
comes into his own. The close of
1 Chronicles records the death of David,
and now in the first verse of
2 Chronicles the author is intent upon
focusing upon and magnifying the
reign of Solomon.
If it is true, and we believe it is, that Christ is to be found in all the scriptures then we glimpse in both books of Chronicles and in the lives of both David and Solomon the dual aspects of Christ’s suffering and triumph. Both kings typify respectively our Lord in battle and in glory.
Notice here how theologically correct the account of Solomon's enthronement is. It is the Lord his God who does it! So too with the King of Peace – God the Father
is behind his enthronement. Note the use of 'The Lord' in Ps.110 v.1,2,4,5. This is a truth of significant instruction. “Except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it”.
Are believers, as they contemplate their future life’s service, merely to fold their arms and leave all to God? No, we are to seek to know the Lord's will. Most of the time we work within the narrow spot-light of our immediate past, present, and future, trying to squeeze what has been described as “an eternity of present safety and satisfaction into a domineering now”.
Can we renounce this tiny empire building, and attempt to
look at ourselves from heaven's perspective? Only then
can we hope to trace God’s will, at least in
barest outline, and instead of trying to force
our whole world into our preconceived mould,
let the Lord tell us or show us in unfolding
circumstances and events, what he is
What a tragedy it would be to find that we have been working largely at cross purposes with our heavenly Father. His will for us in unlikely to be similar to that of Solomon, who became a type of Christ reigning in glory.
This wasn’t God’s will for his father, David, either
[although David's sin added greatly to his suffering].
But God’s will is right, and he will have it whether
we will or not. Therefore, our highest happiness
is found lying low at his feet, learning his will
and doing it in whatever circumstance we
may find ourselves in. It is always glory in
the end, whether that glory is here or in
the hereafter. It will be glory for God,
and it will be glory for us, too.
Now even in the highest days of Israel's prosperity there were glaring irregularities in her religious life. The
idea of the ark of God being in one place, and the tabernacle and brazen altar in another, would have been repugnant to the Israel of Moses' day.
But these sacred things had had a chequered
history since then. The tent was about to be
dispensed with and replaced by a temple on a permanent site in Jerusalem. The only material
link with the old pilgrim order was the ark
itself, which contained the tables of the commandments, and which was brought
into the magnificent temple with
due reverence and ceremony.[Ch.5]
But the life of Israel progressed towards its climax of glory in spite of the implements of her religious life being dispersed in different parts of the country. Israel is not commended for this disorder, it is simply a fact of the
state of her national life. Indeed, over against the whole structure of her God-given laws, and the established ideals for national life, there is a picture of perpetual disorder.
Israel’s standing between the reigns of David and
Solomon, the supreme kings of war and peace, would reach its peak, spiritually, politically, materially and in
every other way. This ascent of Israel's glory was but
a type for that which is to come under Christ’s rule.
And yet her life is religiously in disarray.
For the norm is disorder; not that disorder is right, but it is a constant, and must be reckoned with and allowed for as we strive, realistically towards the ideal whose possibility God places in our hands. The rigid perfectionist who sees only the blue print and refuses to reckon with human fallennessis not like God. God never deviates from his ideals by a hairsbreadth, but brings them down to the
level of sinful men and begins to make them work
there. At first there is chaos, but he knows what he is doing, and is not deterred by the sarcastic comments
of those who watch his operation cynically from their
glass houses. We need not fear evil, or think it can
really thwart the good. It only sharpens and purifies
it as it passes through the filter of God’s creativity.
How readily can we distinguish between gifts of nature and gifts of grace? Did the makers of the tabernacle have these gifts of practical wisdom naturally or were they added by God as and when required. From Ex.31.6 it would appear that an existing embryo was stimulated by God who provided for a full exercise of their power.
The relationship between the natural and super-added nature of God’s gifts comes into focus with reference to Solomon's wisdom. Solomon recognises that it is one thing to inherit a kingdom established by his father and quite another to maintain and extend it.
The wisdom of the conqueror David is obvious, but the wisdom of Solomon the peacemaker has still to be proved. It certainly appears that man's highest wisdom is to know his lack of it and seek it from God. This is perhaps another facet of the 'fear of the Lord' which is 'the beginning of wisdom.'
There therefore seems to be a link between the perception of needful qualities and the endowment of them. But it does not follow that God always purposes to make the potential actual, and although sin can interfere, the ultimate criterion of God's selective choice is hidden in his heart.
But surely there is a link with what God has made
us, even in our most rudimentary composition,
and the destiny he purposes we should fulfil? We must wait on his will to see what he will make of us. Notice that Solomon did not ask, but was asked
what he would have from God. This is important -Solomon was not guilty of presumption!
It is only polite to wait until we are asked! It may be that the Lord is waiting for this patient submission, before he asks us to do anything. Some people
spend their lives trying to edge themselves into the Lord's service, apparently without ever having asked the Lord if he wants them there.
God calls some to serve and some to sacrifice. How can we know which route is ours?
By waiting upon God to see what he would ask of us. This waiting time can be the most valuable of our lives not least because it helps prepare us to ask for the right thing.
Because Solomon asked for the right thing for himself, then, God gave him all of the other things he might have been tempted to ask for.
Solomon was not only given all these additional things, but also given the wisdom to keep them in place. He may not always have done so subsequently, but he was given the wisdom to do so. The right thing for us may include the thing we wanted and longed for, which can only bring any real satisfaction and pleasure when it is given with divine grace.
That said we must want the right thing for itself and not for any ulterior motives. Let us seek transparency of heart at this point even if we think the pain of self-discovery will kill us. It won't. Think of Jacob’s wrestling match at Jabbok.
Solomon came to Jerusalem, which in the recent past had been captured by his father David and his army. This fortress city had been the last place in the land to resist Israel, and yet it was destined to become the most important plot of ground in the world!
It is thought to have been built on Mt. Moriah, which had been that all important meeting place between God and Abraham, where Abraham’s obedience was put to the test.
There follows the first description of Solomon's great wealth and glory. We must keep two facts in mind even if our prudent souls tend to react against this apparent extravagance.
First, beyond itself, the wealth typifies the glory of the kingdom of the Prince of Peace. As thrift, there, would be the greatest sin, so here we must adopt the right attitude, and not be critical of Solomon where we would not be critical of God.
2. Secondly, no man may be more trusted with such wealth than the one who passed it by in favour of the gift of wisdom. This is an important point to remember. All material things are relative to their owners. If the owner has a right attitude to them he cannot have too much. If he has not, the least he has is too much.
God has and needs his wealthy men, men of great ability and honour, and by his grace they must learn to keep material things in their proper place. Material things must ever remain means to ends higher than themselves, and so become tools of grace and glory.
With good reason Jesus said, “Seek ye first, the kingdom... and all these things will be added unto you". This is a promise so vast that we do not know its remarkable potential and the doors of blessing that it unlocks.
Of course the enemy of our souls will try with all his might to keep us from seeking the kingdom as our great priority. And too often he succeeds, so that we never discover more than a small portion of the 'all these things.' Wisdom first, then wealth of all kinds. O Lord, may we know our true priority and follow it! James 1v5