Monday, November 18, 2013

In This Is Love (part 9)

Because of his wealth and fame, Solomon is said to have drawn admirers from many lands.  They are said to have come to him to seek his wisdom.  Like Abraham and the patriarchs before him, Solomon would have been in a position to answer the altogether pressing questions in regards to how he came to have what it was that he possessed---that being wealth, power, and fame.  Because of this, Solomon would have had many opportunities to share the knowledge of covenant-making Creator God with the representatives of the nations of the world, and in the tradition of the Abrahamic covenant, bring glory to the Creator God by means of showing forth his God’s blessings. 

Ideally, this would cause previously unknowing men and nations to turn from their various forms of idolatry (one item in a presumed list of the works of the devil) to the one God who was the maker and Lord of all.  It is debatable as to whether or not Israel as a people had been able to do such a thing up to that point, but if the reports of his fame and influence are accurate (and this information would have been part of the worldview of the average member of the covenant people of Israel), it is reasonable to suggest that Solomon was able to do as suggested. 

Much like the Creator God had warned Israel what would happen if they were to fail in righteousness (covenant faithfulness), so too was Solomon warned.  Because both Israel and Solomon were specially elected by the Creator, and looked upon as His chosen sons that were to reveal His glory and love for the world that He had created, much was expected of them.  However, as the first two sons (Adam and Israel) had failed, so too did Solomon.  In a fashion very similar to that which is reported to be the general history of the people delivered from Egypt prior to his day, who disastrously allowed idolatrous practices to be continued by the occupants of their promised land while also joining with them in said practices, so too did Solomon allow for a continued idolatry. 

Indeed, he not only allowed it to continue, but like Israel in general, he would willingly participate in idolatrous practices (with this attributed to his desire to please his many wives), thus effectively denying the revelatory role that the Creator God desired for those that had been declared to be His sons.  As this was the source of Adam’s fall and expulsion from the role and place into which he had been set by God (self-idolatry), as well as being the source of repeated instances of subjugation and various forms of exile for Israel (both before and after Solomon, both inside and outside of the promised land), so too would this result in dire consequences for Solomon. 

Because of this falling short of the glory of the Creator God, via the engagement in the presumed works of the devil against which he and Israel had been warned, the kingdom that Solomon had established was understood to have been torn in two.  Indeed, “The Lord said to Solomon, ‘Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you” (1 Kings 11:11a).  Solomon experienced the rod and the wounding that would come to a failing son of God, as “The Lord brought against Solomon an enemy, Hadad the Edomite… Rezon son of Eliada… Jeroboam son of Nebat” (11:14,23,26). 

Even though Solomon had failed, another part of the Creator God’s promise still remained, as it had always remained for Israel.  Though the Lord’s anger was aroused against Solomon, as it was aroused numerous times against Israel itself, Solomon had a promise from his God that “My loyal love will not be removed from him” (2 Samuel 7:15a).  As can surely be seen in the record of the Creator’s covenant dealings with humanity and the world, the Lord God of Israel loves His son and desires to reveal Himself and His love through that son despite his failings.

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