Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Material Blessings from God

King Hiram helped Solomon build the temple of The LORD.  He provided all the lumber that Solomon wanted for the project.  Solomon gave Hiram food for his nation in return.  In the end, “Hiram had sent the king 9,000 pounds of gold” (1 Kings 9:14 [HCSB]).

This kind of expression of appreciation became common with Solomon.  The queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon to find out if he was as wise as everyone had said.  When she completed her trip, she “gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (In addition, Hiram's ships brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought rich cargoes of red sandalwood and precious jewels” (1 Kings 10:10-11 [NLT]).

Solomon used these early riches to build the temple of The LORD.  After the temple, though, he built himself a palace.   The palace took twice as long to build as The LORD’s temple took.  Maybe this was because he had less workers on the project, but it was probably something else.  His house was bigger than The LORD’s.  Not only that, he built a special palace for his wife: pharaoh’s daughter.

King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon's men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons of gold. (1 Kings 9:26-28 NLT)

Solomon also rebuilt cities.  One was for pharaoh’s daughter.  Some of the cities were just to keep all his stuff in.  He built cities just to hold the thousands of horses and chariots that he had for his army.

Each year Solomon received about 25 tons of gold. This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land. (1 Kings 10:14-15 NLT)

In the beginning, the material blessings were used to give honor to The LORD.  Over time, though, the material blessings became a symbol of Solomon’s wealth and personal power.  The money stopped being a blessing from God and started being all about Solomon.

All of King Solomon's drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon's day! The king had a fleet of trading ships that sailed with Hiram's fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. (1 Kings 10:21-23 NLT)

How about you?  Have you received material blessings from God?  How have you put them to use?  What are your material blessings about?