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5th April

1 Kings 4-7; Psalm 95

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
5th April

1 Kings 4-7; Psalm 95

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Kings we've read through the start of Solomon's reign. David was old and dying. His son Adonijah seized on this weakness and set himself up as king. In response, David declared Solomon as king, thwarting Adonijah's attempt at the throne. David encouraged Solomon to be faithful and loyal to God, but then told him to kill all of his enemies.

Solomon then killed his brother Adonijah, as well as Joab and others. He married an Egyptian woman, despite the fact that Deuteronomy 7 warns that intermarrying with other nations would lead them to worshipping, foreign gods. It was looking bad for Solomon's reign. But then Solomon asked God for wisdom to rule well, and God blessed him with wisdom and wealth. We read the first example of Solomon using this wisdom as he judged rightly between two women claiming the same baby as their own.

1 Kings 4-7

Now that Solomon has received his wisdom, he needs to appoint his government. A great king is nothing if he can't get good men in place to lead his country for him. He put officers in charge of various areas of his kingdom, and then picked 12 officers, presumably one over each tribe, who would provide for the king's house 1 month a year.

As we see Solomon begin to bring structure to his kingdom, we see it begin to flourish. While David led well, there was always some battle to fight and some uprising to squash. Now, with Solomon, there is plenty of food around for everyone to enjoy and Israel is at peace.

Solomon's wisdom becomes famous. He writes a lot and studies a lot, having understanding on various different topics from trees, to plants, bird, reptiles and fish. He was a renaissance man thousands of years before the renaissance. People from all over travel to Israel to hear him speak. Everything is looking good.

But if you look closely, you can see the cracks begin to show. We read in 1 Kings 4:6 how one of the offices was over the 'forced labour', so there's clearly a group of people he's forcing to work as slaves.

We also read in 1 Kings 4:26 of all the horses that Solomon had. This may not seem all that important, but way back in Deuteronomy 17, we read rules for future kings. There were three instructions for these kings; do not accumulate for yourself lots of wives, gold, or horses. Solomon is already breaking one of those rules. We'll see if he breaks anymore.

Next, Solomon focuses on building God a temple. It was something his father David had planned to do, but God stopped him, saying the time wasn't right. Well now, the time was right. The first thing Solomon does is organise a trade deal with his friend and neighbour, Hiram.

Hiram promises to send over cedar and cypress wood so Solomon can build the temple, and in return, Solomon provides abundant food for Hiram's household. This trade agreement shows how Israel was flourishing with its neighbouring nations as well as internally. If Israel were to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3) then they would need good relationships with these other nations to do so.

Solomon then turns his focus to his own kingdom, and conscripts 30,000 men into forced labour, working one month in three, mining out stone and then preparing that stone and the wood for work.

The next two chapters go on to describe in detail how Solomon built the temple. In many ways, this is similar to the instructions for when Moses built the tabernacle back in Exodus 25-31. This temple is to be a house for God, and like the tabernacle, everything needs to be perfect. In the holy of holies, everything is gold and there is a lot of garden imagery. Read closely and you'll see flowers, trees, and fruit carved into the walls (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 7:20). During this time, Solomon also builds a huge house for himself.

Then, as they move to the entrance of the temple where people would gather, the gold turns to bronze, but everything is still perfectly designed and detailed. Once the building is all finished, Solomon brings all the important items into the temple. Finally, Israel had a permanent place of worship. No longer was God meeting them in a tent that moved. This was now the set place to worship God.

Psalm 95

This psalm is not attributed to anyone, and falls into the category of praise psalm. Is part of a small collection of psalm (Psalm 93-99) that focus on God as king.

Psalm 95:1-5 - A call to praise God for his might

Psalm 95:6-7 - A call to worship God as shepherd

Psalm 95:8-11 - A warning not to harden your heart

The psalmist starts with a call to praise. Let there be thanksgiving and joyful noises because he is the rock of our salvation. He is a great God. King above all other gods. In his hands are the deepest depths and the tallest mountains. Both the sea and the dry land belong to him.

Next comes a call to bow and worship God as our maker. He is a shepherd and we are his sheep. He guides and sustains us.

The psalmist then turns to warn the people, drawing on the story of the pool at Meribah in Exodus 17. There the people had just been brought of Egypt by God’s miraculous power and started to get thirsty. Rather than trust that God would provide and complained that at least in Egypt they had water.

At this point in the psalm, God takes over. He warns them to not be like their ancestors at Meribah. To not test God or demand proof when they’ve seen him provide for them time and time again. The consequences of their actions was that they wondered forty years in the wilderness, never truly understanding God’s ways and never experiencing his rest.

If we want to experience God’s goodness and rest, then that involves celebrating him as king over our lives, and trust that he will be a good shepherd and provide for us.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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