Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beyond Measure

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore – 1 Kings 4:29  (ESV)

As we read the New Testament, we must do so with a mind towards the story of Israel.  As we read about Jesus with a mind towards the story of Israel, it seems that we are asked to do so with a mind towards the kings of Israel.  With this understanding, we are able to see an interesting connection between Solomon and Jesus.

Where do we find that connection?  We find in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.  There, we find John the Baptist speaking, as “a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification” (3:25).  It is pointed out to John that the One “to Whom you bore witness” (3:26b), is increasing in popularity.  It is said that “all are going to Him” (3:26c).  John finds himself unconcerned about this turn of events, reminding his hearers of his own position and saying “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him” (3:28b).  By saying this, John is implicitly declaring that it is Jesus that is the Christ.  John speaks of Jesus and says things like “He Who comes from above is above all” and “He Who comes from heaven is above all” (3:31).  John refers to Jesus as “He Whom God has sent,” and as the One who “utters the words of God” (3:34a).  Then, John adds “for He gives the Spirit without measure” (3:34b).  It is here that we find the link between Jesus and Solomon, in this reference to the measure of the Spirit.  As it was said that Solomon was given wisdom and understanding beyond measure, so it is said here of Christ that He has been given the Spirit without measure, with both receiving these things from God the Father.

Together with that, John continues speaking about Jesus and says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand” (3:35).  Do we find this in the life of Solomon?  In a sense, the answer to that question is yes.  When Solomon ascends to the throne of Israel, God comes to Solomon in a dream and says to him “Ask what I shall give you” (1 Kings 3:5b).  Solomon responds by saying, “Give your servant…an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (3:9a).  Essentially, by asking for understanding, Solomon asks for a measure of God’s Spirit.  How does God respond to this request?  God says, “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.  I give you…both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days” (3:12-13).  The words of John the Baptist are an echo of this, as we can basically hear God telling Solomon that He has given all things into his hand.

The comparison does not end there, as we are also able to see the kingship of Jesus reflected in the kingship of Solomon.  It must be said of Jesus, as it was said of Solomon, that “none like You has been before You and none like You shall arise after You.”  Is this not true?  It must also be said “that no other king shall compare with You, all Your days.”  Is this not also true?  As it will later be said of Solomon, in connection with his receipt of wisdom and understanding beyond measure, that “people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom” (4:34), so too will such be said of Jesus, the One that is called the wisdom of God, in that He will be highly exalted with a name above all names, that every knee would bow to Him, and that every tongue would confess to His Lordship (Philippians 2:9-11).     

Finally, we find it said that “Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt.  They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life” (4:21).  If this bringing of tribute and service was Solomon’s experience, as he ruled over a portion of this world, how much more must it be said of those who call Jesus Lord, in their bringing of tribute and service to Him, as He reigns over all.

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