Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Material Blessings. NOT gods.

People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. (1 Kings 10:24-27 NLT)

Solomon was given all the wisdom that he needed…and much more.  As The LORD promised, Solomon was also given riches and honor because he did not ask for them.  This was so Solomon could teach us about riches with the wisdom God had given him.

These are the words of the Teacher, King David's son, who ruled in Jerusalem. "Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher, "completely meaningless!" (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 NLT)

It seems strange that the wealthiest, wisest man would proclaim that everything in life is meaningless.  I guess it’s true that money isn’t important if you have plenty of it.  Solomon, however, was living out a role in God’s plan that would give him a voice into the rest of our lives.  Solomon had all the wealth that anyone could want or ask for.  Then Solomon proclaimed that all of it was meaningless.  You see, God had already warned against the king becoming personally rich off the people.

"The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses…And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17 NLT)

Yet God gave wealth and fame to Solomon as a gift.  Why?  Because then Solomon would have our attention when he warned against the pursuit of wealth.  Who, better than Solomon, could communicate the problems with making money more important than God?

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:24-33 ESV)

Jesus was able to teach the same lesson many, many years after Solomon had lived.  Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as the birds of the air of the lilies of the field.  God cares for them.  God will care for us much more.  We shouldn’t pursue money.  We should pursue God.  When we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, we are given all the money we need.  Material blessings are gifts from God.  They are not gods.

Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor Him in your youth before you grow old... (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NLT)

How about you?  Do you pursue money?  Do you pursue it more than God?  Are material blessings in your life a gift from God, or do you pursue them as gods?