1 Kings 7:1-12: The House of Solomon
The good gifts of God given to bad hearts like ours can become snares to us. The Giver is good and gives from good motives. He seeks to display His generosity and kindness to us through the gifts of creation. The gifts are also good, life, marriage, health, wealth, position, work, they are not evil in and of themselves, but good. But we are bad. You can give us a good gift like marriage and we turn it into an attempt to enslave another person to our wills. God can give us a skill for work and we can take it to promote ourselves and look down on others. God grants us bounty in peace and wealth and we take it and turn it into an obsession and a distraction that draws us from God and not to Him. This is how we have to understand the life of Solomon. We all know that Solomon was too insistent on pursuing riches and luxury and buildings and prestige. However, we must remember that these things were also first promised by God, 1 Kings 3:13, ‘I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.’
So today we come to the building of Solomon’s house. In a socialist context where we would be evaluating this 13 year building project for how many housing development schemes for the poor we could finance, we do not look kindly on this section. Many commentators have launched straight into the evils of the luxury and excess of the house of Solomon, but we cannot begin there. God had promised to make Solomon greater than any king on earth. And this in a day when God was manifesting His glory through the earthly glory of Israel. Big temples, victory in battle, bumper crops, and prosperous kings was the language of blessing that would be a witness to the nations that God was in the midst of His people. These blessings were never intended as condoning greed and overindulgence but were intended to point towards the abundance of Eden which God was recreating in Israel and point forward to the new creation and its bounty.
So as we look at this section we want to note two aspects, that it was a house of riches and a house of justice