1 Kings 6-7: A Tale of Two Houses
June 4, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
These two chapters describe the building of two houses. The first is the house of the Lord. We are given very precise dates for when the building of this house began (6:1). This is a significant moment in the life of Israel. Plus, the dates are specifically marked by the Exodus. This house is the fulfillment of a long promise to God’s people that they are to come out and worship God. Now Solomon is building this house of God.
Lots of details are given regarding the shape and material of the house, depicted visually in many a study Bible or commentary so you can imagine what it would have been like. For our purposes, the most significant stipulation is in verses 11-13. The blessing that the building of the house seems to represent is, Solomon must remember, conditional upon his obedience.
Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel. (6:12-13)
If Solomon continues to walk with God, then God will establish his promises to him. In point of fact, Solomon will later not continue to walk with God in single-minded devotion, but give his heart to the allegiances he forges with other nations and in particular with their pagan gods. It is well to remember that God’s blessing on us must be evidenced in our faithfulness to walk with him. A good tree bears good fruit (Matt. 7:17, Luke 6:43).
Paul puts it like this in 2 Timothy 2:11-13:
The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
God will be faithful to us even when we make mistakes, but if in the end we do not “walk with God,” if in the end we “deny him,” then it is a sign that we were never really his, and the consequences of abandoning God will be just.
The house of God takes seven years to build (6:38). Solomon’s own royal official residence, however, takes thirteen years to build (7:1). Is the author of the text suggesting that Solomon was beginning to get a bit too big for his own boots? It would be like the new Capitol Building in Washington D.C. taking seven years to build, but the White House taking thirteen years to build! Where is the emphasis and energy? Is Solomon beginning to think too much of himself and his royal house as opposed to God and his house?
Still, if this is a hint, it is nothing more than a hint—otherwise, for the moment, the sun continues to shine on everything that Solomon does, with wisdom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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