2 Chronicles 1

II Chronicles 1
by Pastor Mark Hudson

There are so many people in the Bible that are hard to understand. Literary experts call these round characters. The easy to understand characters are flat. Some people that I know in real life are round characters; I don’t understand them. What I also find difficult to understand is the relationship God has with some characters in the Bible. Don’t ask me to give a detailed, Biblically accurate description of God’s relationship with both David and Solomon. If you think your church has problems with sin, read the Bible.

I can say confidently that if I was writing the Bible, I would be tempted to leave some of the sex, violence, hatred, and idolatry out. But not Ezra or whomever wrote Chronicles. Nor did any Biblical author leave sin out of their narrative. Maybe that is because our sin makes God’s grace that much more amazing.

Solomon grew up with wealth and position. His father, David, was a godly king but Solomon grew up in a home that was anything but normal. His mom, Bathsheba, is brought into David’s life in a less than positive fashion. But Solomon, by the grace and choice of God, is David’s successor.

While it may seem challenging to comprehend the sacrificial system in the Old Testament for Christians, these sacrifices were commanded by God. So as we see Solomon sacrificing in verse 6, this is a great start for his reign and for the nation. Then in verse 7, Solomon’s story gets even better. God appears to Solomon in the night and simply says to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you.”

Just imagine if Someone who owns everything, can do anything, and can give you whatever you wanted asked you that question. What would you be tempted to say? Solomon responds with a unexpected answer. Solomon, though young, knows what God wants him to do. Solomon reflects on the “great and steadfast love” God showed to his father. Solomon asked that the word David spoke saying Solomon would be the king would be fulfilled. And all Solomon wants is to “Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?”

God’s response almost suggests that God is amazed. Well, we know nothing surprises God yet God seems to love Solomon’s response. God knows mankind. He knows that most kings would want, “possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and (you) have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you a king.” (repeated twice for emphasis – one time from Solomon’s mouth and one time from God’s. Solomon is given what he asked for and in addition, “riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”

On one hand we marvel at Solomon’s wisdom which he is known for. His proverbs that he both collected and wrote are insightful, practical, enduring, and reflect truth about God and human beings. Yet, as indebted as we are to Solomon’s wisdom, we are also flummoxed by his tragic mistakes. With this great start, one would think Solomon would soon eclipse his father in spirituality and honor. Alas, that did not happen. Where his father had too many concubines, Solomon went further. Sometimes an alcoholic’s child become either an alcoholic too or totally abstains. The gifts that God gave Solomon tripped him up. His life, apart from his wealth and kingship, is not one to emulate.

For many of us to be “blessed” is to have ease in terms of more than enough nice things, good health, stability, and harmony with others. Solomon seemed be given all (in one sense) God could supply to him. It did not yield good fruit. Those material things that we crave, that God gave him, “riches, possessions, and honor” didn’t work out well for him. For a modern counterpart, read stories of lottery winners. Winning the lottery is a kiss of a ruined life for many, if not most, of the winners.

Reflect on the Apostle Paul’s life. In Acts 9:16, part Paul’s call from God is “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” If you read II Corinthians 11 you will find Paul’s “blessed” life, as he compares his life to the so-called servants of Christ the Corinthians admire. “Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,2 in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

If we were given a choice between Solomon’s outward life and Paul’s most of us would choice Solomon over Paul’s. But if we were asked to choose who we most wanted to be like spiritually, I think I know which person we would choose.

Dear heavenly Father, who loves us so deeply. Lord, You are a Giver. You need nothing and share generously with Your people things that we value so highly and You really don’t. We crave the cars, homes, clothes, and wealth that is not enduring. You value what is eternal, enduring, and glorifies You. Help us not to be as the hymn writer described, “Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, Cling to gilded toys of dust;” (All for Jesus by Mary D. James). May You fill us with Your Spirit so we long for Your daily, majestic, eternal, and loving presence. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.