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A Stern Reminder

1 Kings 9:1-9 :

When Solomon had finished the building of Yahweh’s house, the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, Yahweh appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. Yahweh said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, that you have made before me. I have made this house holy, which you have built, to put my name there forever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually. As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances; then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail from you a man on the throne of Israel.’ But if you turn away from following me, you or your children, and not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them; then I will cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and I will cast this house, which I have made holy for my name, out of my sight; and Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. Though this house is so high, yet everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss; and they will say, ‘Why has Yahweh done this to this land, and to this house?’ and they will answer, ‘Because they abandoned Yahweh their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold of other gods, and worshiped them, and served them. Therefore Yahweh has brought all this evil on them.’”



Our God is much more logical than we are. He also knows everything. I say this because we are prone to try to argue with God, as if He is wrong about something. No amount of arguing with God will change the fact that we aren't making sense. God's answer to Solomon's prayer here is very interesting. He says that if Israel were to stop worshiping God, it would bring glory to God for them to be punished. I was reminded of the time that Moses argued that if God were to strike Israel dead and only allow him to live, that it wouldn't be good for God's reputation, but obviously, Moses was wrong about that as God says here. God would look better if He were to punish rebellion. God is actually very tolerant, but tolerance cannot go on and on without making God look bad for not dealing with sin.


God's mercy also makes us witnesses of a special kind of love. When we tell others that God has had mercy on us, it does make Him look good, but this kind of love cannot happen unless sinners are involved. The Bible tells us that God actully intended to use Israel's rebellion in order to have an opportunity to show them mercy, just like He's showing Gentiles today.


God's serious tone with Solomon may be revealing that He knew what was in Solomon's mind. God reminds Solomon that he and his children were being watched. Solomon had already taken foreign wives and there wasn't any indication that he was sorry about it. God is well aware that a little sin and can grow into a lot of death and destruction. No matter how fancy our prayers are, if we refuse to turn away from the sin we know about, we are not coming to God as we should.






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