Shall we turn now in our Bibles to I Kings, chapter two, as we continue our exciting journey through the word of God.
Now the days drew nigh that David should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man (2:1-2);
David summons his son Solomon, to his death bed. The kingdom has been established now, in the hand of Solomon. People have acclaimed him, as king. Acknowledging David’s desire. As David summons him to the bedside, he acknowledges the fact that, “I’m dying. I go the way of all the earth”. Unfortunately in David’s day, there was not any strong teaching in the scriptures, concerning the resurrection. They knew that death was inevitable. “I’m going the way of the earth.”
Today if we should talk about our death, we usually talk about it as, “Going to be with the Lord”. We have that glorious assurance of the scripture that, to be absent in this body, or from this body, is to be present with the Lord. So, should the Lord tarry, and I come to the place where I summon my children to my bedside, when I know that I’m going out, checking out. I’m gonna say, “Hey kids, going to be with the Lord! It’s gonna be exciting, and thrilling to be with Him. Now you kids, just take care of yourselves, and be good, and we’ll see you before long, you know. As you join us, in His eternal kingdom”.
What a glorious hope we have of eternal life in Jesus Christ! What a wonderful thing it is, when a person has that hope, and when they come to the place of death, that you can just talk about, “Oh, you know, how exciting it’s going to be to see our Lord! To be there in His presence!” Though we see now through the glass darkly, in a few moments, it’ll be face to face. The joy, the excitement, the glory of seeing our Lord Jesus Christ! So, David just declared, “I’m going away of all the earth. Everybody dies. I’m dying son. Now you be strong, you be a man”. Of course it is the desire of every father, that his son becomes a man. They encourage, from the time they’re little kids, time you’re two or three years old. Little boys, you say, “Be a man!”. You know, and they’re encouraged towards manhood. So now David, sharing with his son, “Be strong, show yourself a man!”.
And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, [God has charged the kings with certain responsibilities. God has charged the rulers with certain responsibilities. So, Solomon, a ruler, a king, has a special charge from God, for this office. “Keep that charge of the Lord thy God.” He is charged,] to walk in the ways of the Lord, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgements, and his testimonies (2:3),
We can walk in our own ways, or we can walk in the ways of the Lord. The natural man walks after the flesh. Those who have been born again, seek to walk after the Spirit. But there is a conflict, between my flesh and my spirit. Though I have chosen to walk after the Spirit, I still have to fight against the desires of the flesh. For as long as I am living in this body, I am gonna be faced with the desires of the physical means, those drives that are built in. That desire to master me. But the Spirit of God also desires to master me. I must choose who is going to be my master. I must choose, the Spirit of God, as mastering over my life, or my flesh. Which way am I going to turn? In which way will I walk?
David is exhorting Solomon, his son, to walk in the ways of God. Great advice, from any father to his son! You could not give them any more sound instruction than to encourage them, “Walk in the way of the Lord”. But to do that, it is necessary that I be strong, and that I be a man.
It takes real strength to walk in the way of the Lord, because I am walking against the current of the world. The whole world is wrapped in the way of darkness. Men do not admire, that is the natural man, the worldly man, does not admire the man who seeks to walk after the Spirit. Because that man really brings conviction upon him, and thus he seeks to reproach him. To make fun of him, to ridicule him. If I am gonna walk after the Spirit, I have to realize that I’m going to receive the ridicule of the world. But Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, shall curse you, shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so persecuted they the prophets, that were before you”. For they that live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. It takes a real man to stand up against the reproach of the world, when you choose to walk in the ways of the Lord. You’ll be called a fool, and all other kinds of names. Your sanity will be questioned. Yet, there’s no other way, than the way of the Lord. “Walk”, he said, “in His ways. Keep His statutes”.
Now, the statutes had to do with the temple worship. Those are called the statutes, and the ordinances. As God established the various statutes, those rules of conduct, as we come to worship God. The type of sacrifices that we are to bring. How the sacrifices are to be offered. “Keep also His commandments.” This is a reference to the ten commandments. “Keep also His judgements.” Now in the law of Moses, there are several chapters that are devoted to the rulers, to those that would be judges over the people. How they were to dispose of certain cases. “When you have a situation where a man has done this, this is the judgement that you’re to mete out.” Solomon, as king, having to judge over the people, he is exhorted to keep the judgements of God. Finally, the exhortation to, “Keep His testimonies”. As God testified of His blessings that He would bestow upon those that would keep the law. As God testified of the curses that would come upon those that would forsake His law. You get the testimonies of God in Deuteronomy, chapters thirty one, thirty two, thirty, in that area.
As God begins to testify to the people concerning the future. “If you will walk in my statutes, if you will keep my ways, then I will blessing, uh, bless thee, and in blessing, I will bless thee, and I will multiply your supplies, and your nation and all, and yet if you do not keep my ordinances, if you forsake my statutes, then”, God said, “I will forsake you, and these judgements will come upon you”. So, God sort of testifies as to what the future will hold for you if you will walk in His way, and what it will hold for you if you walk contrary to His way.
David, a loving, wise father. Knowing the law of God, having meditated in the law of God day and night. The scriptures were dear to David. He honored and respected the scriptures. Wanting the best for his son, encourages him to walk in the ways of the Lord. To keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgements, and His testimonies. And the result of that kind of life, is that God will prosper you in everything you do. In the first Psalm, David spoke of, “The man who meditated in the law of God day and night, as a tree planted by the rivers of living water, bringing forth his fruit, in his season. His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”.
People have a false concept of the law of God. Somehow they think that it is restrictive. That God is trying to restrain them from pleasurable experiences, or from a fulfilling, satisfying life. The opposite is true. God has given to us the rules, of a happy, successful, prosperous life. But sometimes we don’t agree with the rules that God has set. Sometimes, we try to say, “Well that rule doesn’t apply to me, mine is a special case. We want God to make special exceptions for us. We think that we can go against the law of God, and find prosperity, find success, or find happiness. Not so. You might find temporary success, prosperity, and happiness, but the long term effect, will be absolute misery.
If you could only sit, for we as pastors, often have to sit and listen to the tales of woe that are poured out, because a person thought that they could violate the law of God, and get by with it. They thought that they could go their own way, choose their own path, and find happiness. But they found the tragic bitterness that comes from breaking the law of God. The misery, the suffering, and what they thought would bring them such pleasure, and joy, and fulfillment, led them to a horrible emptiness, and to awful misery. To a hell on earth.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimonies of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.” How important that we keep the law of the Lord. Not only will it bring prosperity, happiness, success, it will bring us that glorious fulfillment of God’s promises, and testimonies, to those that would walk in His way. God gave to David, a special promise. That…
If his children would walk in the ways of the Lord, in truth, with all their heart, with all their soul, there would not fail of thee a man on the throne of Israel (2:4).
So, David’s encouragement to Solomon to keep the laws of God, because, “I want to see the succession on the throne. If you are obedient, if you keep the ways of the Lord, with all your heart, and all your soul”. Notice that God’s promise to David, was conditional. Conditional upon his children walking in truth, with all their heart and soul.
His children unfortunately did not, as testifies the prophet Jeremiah, who was there at the time of Zedekiah, and these descendants of David, who turned away from God, turned their backs on God, and suffered that horrible calamity of captivity in Babylon. Bound, their eyes put out, carried away captive to the enemies country. King Zedekiah, and thus the descendants of David ceased from the throne, because they did not keep the covenant that God had made, or God’s testimonies. As God testified, “If you will not walk in my ways, then I’m going to bring your enemies upon you, and they shall overthrow you. They will carry you away captive, and God tells them all of the things that has happened to those people, because they turned their back upon the ways of the Lord.
Now David turns his attention to Joab. Joab was a cousin to David. He was the head over David’s army. He was an extremely powerful man. A valiant warrior, a man of wisdom. But Joab, was guilty of premeditated murder. Joab had killed both Abner, and Amasa. Killed them in cold blood. He had killed many in war, that was excusable. But the cold blooded killings of Abner, and Amasa, should under the law, be punished with death. In fact, when a person committed first degree murder under the law, he could not offer any sacrifice for expiation of his guilt.
Now because of the tremendous power of Joab, David was reluctant to bring to bear the law, upon him. Now, David having just said to Solomon, “Keep the law of God”. Probably realized, “Yikes! I haven’t!”, and he realized that in the case of Joab, and Shimei, that he had failed to keep the law of God. Shimei was a blasphemer. The blasphemer also was to be put to death. But David, in a moment of generosity, excused the guy his blasphemy.
But now he’s telling Solomon, “Now you keep the judgements”, David had not kept the judgements. So, he is encouraging Solomon now, to take care of his unfinished business, in keeping the judgements, and thus bringing these two men to justice, who had violated the law and the commandments of the Lord.
Some people look upon this as a personal vendetta. I don’t. I think that David was gripped in his heart, as he was charging Solomon, suddenly the Spirit spoke to him, and said, “Hey David, what about you?”. So often when we are talking to people about certain issues, the Spirit will say, “Hey wait a minute! What about you?”, and we have to look at ourselves, and we see that sometimes we are advocating to others something that we haven’t done ourselves. I believe that David felt the guilt, thus he is commanding now, his son Solomon to take care of these two men who had violated the law of God. According to the law of God, should’ve been put to death.
Now, David also had seen the judgement of God brought against the house of Saul, long after Saul’s death, because of Saul’s treatment of the Gibeonites. You remember that it was just a few weeks ago that we studied how that the men of Gibeon demanded that there were, there would be seven of Saul’s descendants hung, for the crime that Saul had done. The plague had come into the land, and David sought the Lord, and the Lord said, “The plague is because of the bad treatment that Saul gave the Gibeonites”.
So David realized that if he didn’t keep God’s judgements, that this guilty Joab, who had the blood of these men upon his hands, could then come upon David’s house, and David’s family, for his failure. So he orders Solomon, in order that David’s house might be guiltless from the bloodshed of these innocent men, that Joab be punished for the crime, so that the blood would come upon the house of Joab for the things that he had done. So we find David saying…
You know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, [There wasn’t any war. These guys had come peaceably.] and he put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and on his shoes that were on his feet. [When he stuck them with the spear, the blood came out and covered Joab, his girdle, and on down to his shoes.] Do therefore according to thy wisdom, but don’t let his gray head go down to the grave in peace. But show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at your table: because they came to my aid when I was fleeing from Absalom, your brother (2:5-7).
Now there’s this other guy…
Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put you to death with the sword (2:8).
When David was fleeing from Saul, this is the guy, you remember that came out and cursed David. Threw dirt in the air, threw rocks at David, and David’s general wanted to go up and take his head off. He said, “Let me go up David, I’ll take that guy’s head off for cursing you like that. And David said, “No, let him curse. Maybe God said, Go out and curse David”. So David let him go.
Now when David was coming back, people were coming down to bring David back, Absalom was put to death, so Shimei was down there, he said, “Oh David, you know, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it”. David said, “That’s okay, it’s alright. Forget it”. But in reality this man had cursed the anointed of God, and thus there was that penalty of the law, which David had not meted out. So he is telling Solomon to take care of him.
Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for you’re a wise man, you know what you ought to do unto him; but his gray head bring it down to the grave with blood. [So, last words.] David slept then with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David (2:9-10).
The end of the illustrious career of this man, David. The Psalmist of Israel, a man after God’s own heart. An interesting testimony of God concerning David, it gives us an interesting insight into the heart of God, and the kind of men that God is seeking. David was not a perfect man. Far from perfect. God doesn’t use just perfect men, because perfect men do not exist. If God only used perfect men, He couldn’t use anybody. God uses imperfect men, but men whose hearts are towards the Lord.
The real thrust of my life is to please God, to do His will. I may fail, I do fail. But the main thrust of my heart is towards the Lord. Deep love, and respect I have for God. Man after God’s own heart, because when he did wrong, he was willing to confess it, and to seek the pardon, the mercy of God. “I have sinned”, the prophet said, “God has forgiven your sin”. A man who praised the Lord. As he said, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth”. A man who sought the Lord. A man whose heart was after God. Not perfect. No, not by a longshot.
But these other characteristics in David’s life are things that God saw, and God said, “That’s the kind of man I like”. I’ve often said the man whose after God’s own heart, is a man who is after the heart of God. Seeking after the heart and the will of God. So David slept with his fathers, buried in the city of David.
And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: he was seven years in Hebron, and thirty three years in Jerusalem. Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly (2:11-12).
He became firmly established in the kingdom. Now Adonijah his brother, who when David was dying, tried to, with a conspiracy establish himself on the throne. Joab and the others, he gathered together, Abiathar the priest. They sought to set up Adonijah on the throne. But when Nathan the prophet heard of it, he came to David, you remember last week, and told David, “Hey, you know, I, I didn’t know that Adonijah was supposed to take over the throne. I thought that Solomon was. Did you know that Adonijah’s established himself as the king?”. David then said, “Take Solomon down, anoint him with oil, down there at the spring of Guyhone, and then let him ride on my mule. And let him proclaim Solomon is king”. So this Adonijah then, when Solomon was established and people all began to rejoice and everything else. Those that had conspired with him, sort of faded into the woodwork. Adonijah ran to the altar of God, grabbed hold of the altar, the horns of the altar of God, and Solomon said, “Hey just tell him to go home, and if he’ll behave himself, there’ll be no problems”.
Adonijah evidently did not behave himself. We get the story now, of a continued conspiracy. Joab and Abiathar, probably still joining with him in the conspiracy. The idea now is that he should take the latest entry into David’s harem. This Abishag, who was brought into David’s harem, at the end of David’s years. David had not known her, in a physical way. Adonijah it says was a very handsome man, and she was a very beautiful woman. Probably the most beautiful in the kingdom.
Now, according to the oriental customs, and really, the customs of that day, when a king succeeded to the throne, he usually took the harem of the previous king. So in the asking that Abishag be given to him as a wife, it’s probably an endeavor to bring a division among the, Israel. In saying, “Hey wait a minute! Adonijah is the oldest son, and now look he has a part of David’s harem, and who was perhaps a thrust on the part of Adonijah to get into the throne. Bathsheba didn’t see it. She was innocent. But in verse thirteen…
Adonijah came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said to him, Are you coming in peace? And he said, In peace. And he said, I have somewhat to say unto you. And she said, Speak up. And he said, You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all of Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, [Now Bathsheba had a very important part in the kingdom being turned about. It was Bathsheba that came to David and said, “David I thought that you promised that Solomon, my son was gonna be able to reign”. And uh, so Bathsheba had a very important part in turning the kingdom from Adonijah, unto her own son, Solomon. Now, you remember that Adonijah was planning to put Solomon and Bathsheba to death, once he was put on the throne. Now that Solomon’s on the throne, he’s coming through the back door to Bathsheba, and he’s saying, “You know how the kingdom was really mine, and it’s turned about,] it’s become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord (2:13-15).
Now whether or not he really felt that is not known. That may be just a part of his ploy, or it may be that he really recognized, but it would seem like he just is looking that, I mean expressing that as a part of his whole ploy.
Now I ask one petition of you, don’t deny me. She said, Say on. And so he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he wouldn’t say no to you,) that he would give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife. And Bathsheba said, [“Well”, she, no, she said,] Well; [“Alright”, that uh, semicolon there. Bathsheba said, “Okay”.] I will speak for thee unto the king. So Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And as she came in, the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat at his right hand (2:16-19).
So, Bathsheba came to Solomon. He was there on his throne, all of his glory. He rose up to greet her. Had them bring a chair next to him, on his right side.
She said, I desire a small petition of you; and I pray that you would not say no. And so he said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I would not say no to you. And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given unto Adonijah your brother as his wife (2:20-21).
King Solomon saw through it immediately.
And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; [In other words, “That’s just like turning the kingdom over to him mom!”] for he is my older brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. [So he saw that Abiathar and Joab were probably behind kind of a conspiracy, still to overthrow Solomon from being king.] Then king Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, Go do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life (2:20-23).
I mean, “He’s written his own death sentence!”
Now therefore, as the Lord lives, which has established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day. And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah [Who was his head over his army, chief bodyguard.] the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died. And unto Abiathar [He called him in, realized that Abiathar was part of this conspiracy with Adonijah, but because he was a priest, he respected him, did not put him to death. But he said,] Get to Anathoth, and back to your farm; [man. You know you’re not going to be serving as the priest anymore.] you’re worthy of death: but I’ll not at this time put you to death, because at one time you carried the ark of the Lord before David my father, and because you have been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted (2:24-26).
Abiathar was faithful to David when Absalom rebelled against him, and in respect to the fact that he had been a priest of God, had carried the ark of God. He said, “Though you’re deserving to die, I won’t put you to death. But you go back home, to Anathoth, and man you’re gonna work on your farm”. But he took him out of the priesthood from the place of influence and authority.
So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfill the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh (2:27).
Now Eli’s sons were wicked, and Eli did not correct them. So there was a prophecy that was given to Eli, that there would, that his house would cease from the priesthood. This is actually the fulfillment of it, as Abiathar was a descendant of Eli, and he is the last priest from the house of Eli. Zadok now becomes the king, and he comes from a different line, other than Eli.] Then tidings came to Joab: [Concerning Adonijah being put to death, and Abiathar being thrown out.] for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and he caught hold on the horns of the altar. And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. So Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, and fall on him. And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, No; I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me. And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, fall upon him, and bury him; that you may take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father. And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men who were more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, and my father David not knowing of it, and to wit, the man Abner the son of Ner, the captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the captain of the host of Judah. And their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and on the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the Lord (2:28-33).
So, “He’s the guilty one. Put him to death, if he wants to be put to death there at the altar, slay him at the altar”. For the crime of first degree murder, there was no protection. God had provided cities of refuge. If a person killed someone by accident, they could flee to a city of refuge where they could be protected from the avengers of blood, until their case could be heard in court. If they were guilty of first degree murder, as was Abner, there was no place of protection. Not even the altar of God. So Solomon ordered him slain there, that his guilt, and the blood that he had shed, come upon his own house. And that there might be peace upon the house of David.
So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell on him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. [Actually he had come from the area of Tekoah, which is still a very much of a wilderness area, uh east of Bethlehem.] And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar. [So, he replaced these two men who were conspirators with Adonijah.] Now the king sent and called for [this other fellow] Shimei, and he said unto him, Build a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and don’t go forth anywhere. For it shall be, that on the day that you go out, and pass over the brook Kidron, you shall know for certain that you will surely die: your blood shall be upon your own head (2:34-37).
So he sort of put him under house arrest. He brought him to Jerusalem, he said, “Build you a house here in Jerusalem, live here in Jerusalem. The day you leave, cross the brook Kidron, you’re signing your own death warrant”.
So Shimei said unto the king, You’re saying is good: as my lord the king has said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei [Built there in Jerusalem, and he,] dwelt there in Jerusalem for many days. [Actually] It came to pass after three years, that two of his servants ran away to Achish the king of Gath. And it was told Shimei, saying, Behold, your servants are in Gath. So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath. And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and had come back again. And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto you, saying, Know for certain, that on the day that you go out, and walk abroad any where that you shall surely die? and you said unto me, The word that I have heard is good. Why then have you not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee with? And the king said moreover to Shimei, You know all of the wickedness which your heart is privy to, that you did to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return your wickedness upon your own head; King Solomon shall be blessed, the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever. So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon (2:38-46).
So, now Solomon is firmly established.
Solomon begins now to strengthen the kingdom.
He made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he took the Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about (3:1).
So, Solomon began the building of his palace, the building of the walls of Jerusalem. Expanding the city limits, and he took the first of many wives. Pharaoh’s daughter. In those days, marriages were often times to establish peaceful relationships. The taking of Pharaoh’s daughter, was to establish peace in Egypt. As long as the Pharaoh’s daughter was queen, there in Israel, he’s not apt to be attacking Israel, attacking his own family. So, in history, there are many, many, many cases of marriage in order to establish a peace kind of a treaty. A peaceful covenant with another nation. This happened with Solomon and many nations, wanting to establish peace with Israel.
Solomon took many wives from foreign countries. Actually disobeyed the law of God, which in Deuteronomy, said and when you have, uh the king have come into the, or you know, when you seek a king like the other nations, “Let them not multiply unto themselves wives”. Solomon failed in that, and, “Lest they their hearts of the kings against the Lord”. That’s, of course as we get, we’re getting ahead of the story, but that’s what’s gonna happen when we move along. So, “He wanted to build the house, the temple in Jerusalem”…
Because the people were sacrificing in high places, because there was no temple built unto the name of the Lord, until those days (3:2).
So they were sacrificing up on the top of the mountains. Now, up to this point, it wasn’t really looked upon with disfavor, by God. Later on they begin to offer pagan sacrifices on the high places. It was general custom of the people to go to the top of the mountain, in order to sacrifice unto the Lord. Always to the top of the mountain. Because that was the general custom, when they began to turn to the pagan gods, the high places became the places of the pagan worship. Thus as we go along in the old testament, when it starts talking about the sacrifices in the high places, it’s talking about the pagan sacrifices that brought the judgement of God against Israel.
But because this was the common custom, it is my personal opinion, that when Abraham offered Isaac, as a sacrifice unto the Lord, he went to the top of mount Moriah, not on the side of mount Moriah. But went all the way to the top of mount Moriah to build the sacrifice, because they would sacrifice in the highest point of the mountain.
The Dome of the Rock has been built by the Moslems, over this rock, that they declare was the place where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. Where they declare that their prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven on his horse, after an all night ride from Medina. I do not believe that, that rock, under the Dome of the Rock is the place of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. I think that Abraham would’ve gone to the top of mount Moriah, to the top of the hill to do it. I only bring that up, because the top of the hill today, is called Calvary. It is the place of the Skull, called Golgotha.
I believe that in the very place where Abraham in obedience to God, offered his son, his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, unto the Lord. In that place that Abraham called Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide. For in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. For he said, “The Lord will provide Himself a sacrifice”. I believe that, that is where God did provide Himself as a sacrifice for man’s sins. As you go there today, you’ll see that the temple mount is on the side of the mount Moriah. That the mountain continued a gentle slope up to the top, which is Golgotha, or Calvary. So the people were worshiping the Lord in the high places, as yet, they did not have the temple.
And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: and he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. [Loving the Lord, offering his sacrifice.] And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; [This is where the tabernacle was. The ark of the covenant of course, David had brought to Jerusalem. But the tabernacle of Moses was there in Gibeon. So,] He went to Gibeon to offer the sacrifices; for it was the great high place: and he offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. And in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee (3:3-5).
“What do you want?” Here is a young man, who has just about anything that a person could ever desire. He is king over the powerful nation of Israel. He is wealthy. He has inherited his father’s wealth, powerful. Now God is saying, “What do you want? Ask what I would give you”. I’ve often wondered what my response would be if God should say to me or any other way, “Hey, what do you want? Ask what you would like”. Just what it would be that I would ask the Lord?
And Solomon answered, You have shown to your servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before you in truth, and in righteousness, and in the uprightness of heart; and you have kept for him this great kindness, that you have given him a son to sit upon his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father: but I’m still very young, I’m still just a child: I do not know how to go out or come in. [“Lord, I’m inexperienced.”] And your servant is in the midst of your people which you have chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted because of the multitude (3:6-8).
“Lord, I’m sort of overwhelmed with my responsibility. I don’t know fully how to handle it.”
Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge the people, that I may discern between the good and the bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? [“God, just help me to do a good job, in judging over your people”. What a request!] And the request so pleased the Lord, that Solomon would ask this thing. That God said to him, Because you asked this thing, you didn’t ask for yourself long life; neither have you asked riches for yourself, nor did you ask for the life of your enemies; but you’ve asked for yourself understanding to discern judgement; Behold, I have done according to your words: lo, I have given unto you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee (3:9-12).
A wise and understanding heart. The wisdom of Solomon, of course is legendary. If you don’t, if you sort of challenge the idea of the wisdom of Solomon. Let me suggest that you sit down and write a book of proverbs, and see how wise your proverbs are. His are proverbial, in their wisdom. And a whole book of proverbs! He wrote books on zoology, and orthonology, and various subjects, a brilliant man. The wisdom of God given unto him. So he said, “I have given this unto you, there’s to be none before you, or after you, like unto you”.
And I have also given you which you have not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto you all of your days (3:13).
So, just like God. He gives us more than we ask. The goodness of God. The Lord said that He delights to do good things for His children. He likes to give good things to His children. The Lord said, “I know my desires towards you, they are good and not evil”. The goodness of God, the grace of God. Seeing the heart of Solomon, and seeing that Solomon was not asking for riches, or power, or the revenge against enemies, or anything else. Just the wisdom to judge rightly over God’s people. God said, “Oh, I’ll give you what you haven’t asked too”. Now the Lord gives the conditions.
[Verse fourteen.] And if you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, [These are the things David told him to do.] even as your father David did walk, then I will lengthen your days (3:14).
“I’ll give you long life too.” But the long life promise was predicated upon his obedience to the statutes and the commandments of the Lord. In the law it said, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth.” And this is the first commandment with a promise attached. The honoring of the father and mother. Now He is saying, “Honor me, I’ll lengthen your days”.
And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and he stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, [Been up to Gibeon where the tabernacle was, now he comes back to Jerusalem, where the ark of the covenant is.] and he offered up there burnt offerings, and he offered peace offerings, [Which was the communion with God.] and he made a feast for all of his servants. And then there came two women, that were harlots, and they stood before the king. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I had a child with her in the house. And it came to pass three days later, that she also had a child: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, there was only the two of us in the house. And this woman’s child died in the night; because she happened to lie on it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while I was asleep, and she laid it in her bosom, and she laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I arose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead: and when I considered it in the morning, [“When I looked carefully.] it wasn’t my son, which I bore. And the other woman said, No; the living son is mine, and the dead one is her son. And this they said, [And they were arguing back and forth. “No, the living son is mine”,] and thus they spake the king (3:15-22).
They had this big argument as they’re both claiming the live child. Then the king said…
Then said the king, The one saith, This my son that lives, and your son is dead: and the other says, No; [“It’s my son that is dead, or,] her son that is dead, my son that is living. [Get this straight.] And the king said, Bring me a sword. So they brought the sword to the king. The king said, [Okay] slice the child in two, give half to both of them. [Argue over it.] And then spoke the woman whose living child [Who was actually the mother of the living child.] she said to the king, for her heart yearned upon her little son, and she said, O no my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise kill it. But the other woman said, Let it be neither mine or thine, [Go ahead] cut it in two. Then the king answered and said, Give to this woman the living child, in no wise kill it: for she is the mother of the child. And all of Israel heard of the judgement which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgement (3:23-28).
So, wisdom now beginning to operate, in Solomon.
I heard the story, that during the time of the British occupation of Israel, The British soldiers often marveled at the wisdom of these people, their intelligence. They would talk among themselves, of the secret of these people’s intelligence. They were just such brilliant people. So they were standing in the railway station, there in Jerusalem, and they saw this old Jewish man eating fish heads. Having heard somewhere that fish was brain food. The one British soldier, thought to himself, “I’ll bet that’s the secret. You know, we don’t eat the heads of the fish, but look at that guy eating the fish heads. That’s probably the thing that makes them so smart!”. So he came to the Jewish man, and he said, “I’ll tell you, I’ll give you a schilling, for one of your fishes heads”. He says, “Oh, no, no, no”. He said, “I’ll give you five schillings for one of the fishes heads”. He says, “No”. He said, “I’ll give you a pound for the fishes head”. So the old man gave him a fish head, took the pound. The British soldier began to eat it, and it was horrible. He began to spit it out. He said, “You cheated me! That fish head isn’t worth a pound!”. He says, “Ei, yi, yi! Already it’s working!”.
Now we enter in to the reign of Solomon, and we see the building of the temple to glory, that God brings to his reign. So, we’ll continue on in the book of Kings, and uh, the life of David’s son, Solomon.
The glory, the folly, and the shame. Unfortunately, wise men can do foolish things. I have seen very wise men, do very foolish things. Being wise is no guarantee against folly, as we will see in the life of Saul. As we can observe, in lies around us. Any man commits folly, when he turns his back on the word of God, and begins to go in his own way. Any man commits folly, when he begins to be ruled by his own flesh, rather than the Spirit of God. We’ll see the tragedy in Solomon’s life, because of his disobedience to God, the folly that he brings to himself. Such a great beginning, such a tragic end. Unfortunately, that story is repeated over and over.
Many people who have everything going for them, such a great beginning, such promise, such potential, and yet we see the folly, and the tragic end. I think of some of the great athletes that become involved in drugs. Tremendous potential, careers, and yet, their lives destroyed. Their talents and abilities, depleted. Tragic indeed. God help us, and keep us from that folly. Shall we pray.
Father we thank you again, for the word of God. Let it speak to our hearts tonight. That we might continue, Lord, walking in Your way. That we might be strong. And Father, we thank you for Your love, and Your goodness to us. And Lord, we thank You that You have poured out upon us, blessing upon blessing. Not only what we’ve asked, but more than we’ve asked. Lord help us, that we might continue in Your ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I pray that the Lord will give you just a wonderful week. You’ll have an exciting time, as you walk with Jesus. That He’ll bring you into a fuller understanding of His love for you, and of His plan for your life. That God might speak to your heart, through His word, and in other ways. That you’ll be sensitive, above all, obedient in following after Him. In Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7103