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wheelbarrow of riches May 24 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Kings 9:10-14; 2Chronicles 8:1-3; 1Kings 9:24-25; 2Chronicles 8:11-18; 1Kings 9:17-19; 2Chronicles 8:4-6; 1Kings 9:26-28; 1Kings 10:22; 2Chronicles 9:21; 1Kings 10:1-13; 2Chronicles 9:1-12; 1Kings 4:1-19

Wealth and Wisdom

Is it a sin to be wealthy? No, money is not evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow [or trouble] with it,” (NIV). In the early reign of King Solomon, God made him incredibly wealthy. Solomon had asked the LORD for discernment and wisdom to lead the nation of Israel. God was pleased with his request and gave him wisdom plus the things he did not ask for - riches, honor, and, if he would be obedient to the LORD, long life (1Kings 3:9-14). When we ask for the things that please God, he is often pleased to give it to us, and even exceed our requests (Matthew 7:7-11; John 14:13; Ephesians 3:20).

King Solomon undertook many building projects. And, because of his obedience to God, his wisdom and wealth were greatly increased.

The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents [that is, about 25 tons (about 23 metric tons)], not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the land.

King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred bekas [that is, about 7 1/2 pounds (about 3.5 kilograms)] of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas [that is, about 3 3/4 pounds (about 1.7 kilograms)] of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.

All King Solomon's goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon's days.

The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.

Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift-- articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

Solomon accumulated chariots and horses [something that would cause him trouble later on]; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.

The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. (1Kings 10:14-27, NIV)

Ecclesiastes 2:4-9 describes even more building projects than listed in today's readings. Solomon became more famous than any king before him. In addition, Solomon “ruled over all the kings from the [Euphrates] River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt,” (2Chronicles 9:26, NIV).

Even though people were impressed by his wealth and power, they were more impressed with his wisdom. The Queen of Sheba came to visit and witness what she had been told about him, and this was her conclusion:

When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness." (1Kings 10:4-9, NIV)

As was said earlier, to be rich is not a sin. God has given many people the ability to become wealthy. It is the use of that wealth and what or whom a person is trusting in that is important. In the first century A.D. the Apostle Paul would instruct a young pastor named Timothy,

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1Timothy 6:17-19, NIV)

This verse does not mean that we can gain eternal life through our money, but that we should use money for good and eternal purposes, and keep in mind the true source of meaning in life, which is spiritual life found in Christ (more...).

Solomon began well, asking for wisdom to lead Israel as their new king, and God granted that request.

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite-- wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. (1Kings 4:29-34, NIV)

Proverbs are life principles written in poetic form. In our next week of lessons we will look at many proverbs that Solomon wrote.

Lessons to live by:

•  When we ask for the things that please God, he is often pleased to give it to us, and even exceed our requests

•  To be rich is not a sin. God has given many people the ability to become wealthy. It is the use of that wealth and what or whom a person is trusting in that is important.

•  If God blesses us materially, we should use money for good and eternal purposes, and keep in mind the true source of meaning in life, which is spiritual life found in Christ. (more...)

Today’s Bible memory verse: (A proverb found in Ecclesiastes) Ecclesiastes 2:26ab “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” (NIV)

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