I Kings 3-5
Solomon begins his reign with everything going for him.
There is peace all around and his country is unified and strong. In fact, very strong and prosperous. Solomon’s provision is abundant and his military might is also.
Good times for the nation of Israel.
God gives Solomon a dream in which he sees himself asking for wisdom – an understanding heart to judge between good and evil. A wisdom to lead the people in God’s way. In the dream, God is happy at the request and promises to give Solomon, not only wisdom, but riches and long life also. As Solomon awakens, it’s as if he had asked these things himself, and all of these blessings begin to come to him. God gives him great wisdom – so much so that he becomes famous for his ability to discern and rule justly.
There is one hint, however, that things will not always go so well. I Kings 3:3 says, “Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.” It’s a tiny mention, but it’s important in the long run.
The high places were altars put on the hills around the land. They were like substitutes for the Ark of the Covenant and the real altar of God. I little bit of compromise was there.
Still, with that tiny mention of compromise, Solomon is pursuing God. He begins to make provision to build a house for his Creator. The vision for the famous Solomon’s Temple is beginning to take shape.
Only the best materials for God’s temple. The finest timber, the most beautiful rocks, the finest all the way around.
Once again the scribes and pharisees try to trick Jesus, but they just can’t do it! His wisdom is beyond anything they have ever seen. There is no trick question which can be a “gotcha” moment for the Son of God. He always has a discerning answer to their questions.
“They watched Him and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so as to deliver Him up to the rule and authority of the governor.”(v. 20) “But He detected their trickery and said…” (v.23) They just didn’t realize who they were dealing with!
In verses 9-18, Jesus tells a parable, which is really a prophecy for the Jews. He speaks of a vineyard planted by a man who went on a journey. At harvest time, he sent back slaves for some of the produce, but the slaves were beaten and sent away. (These slaves are a type for the prophets).
Then the vineyard owner said ,”I’ll send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.”(v.13). Yet the vine-growers killed the only son, thinking the inheritance would be theirs.
The owner of the vineyard would now come and take the vineyard away from them and give it to others.
What is Jesus saying? He is saying that Israel has been God’s vineyard – His special nation, cared for and tended with love. Yet the caretakers of this vineyard have not honored the prophets, and now they haven’t honored His Son. There was about to be a change of dispensation.
After the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the vineyard (God’s planting on the earth) would go into the hands of Christians. Those who believe on Jesus would now be God’s covenant people.
In this new covenant, there would be no difference between Jew and Gentile. The new covenant would be based on a relationship with God through Jesus, His Son.
The Jews were “rejecting the cornerstone of God’s building,” Jesus. (v.17)
Now those of us who receive Jesus as our Savior are part of the new building – or the new covenant, and ours is a better covenant than the first one.
We are such a blessed people!
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