Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eager to Oblige

O. T. #762  "Eager to Oblige"
May 26, 2016
1 Kings 5


I remember my grandfather using the phrase "much obliged" as a way of thanking a person. It seems to have fallen by the wayside today. Today we read of a king who was eager and obliged to aide in providing the supplies for the building of the new Temple in Jerusalem by Solomon.

In this chapter, we read about the preparations Solomon made for building the Temple. David, his father, had the desire to build a house for God. Up to this point, He was worshiped in a tent, Tabernacle. However, God denied David of this privilege since he had been a man of war (2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Chron. 228, 28:2). God promised David that his son Solomon would carry out his wishes concerning this desire. David wasn't idle about the matter, for he began purchasing building materials from Tyre and stocked them up for use later. So King Hiram of the city of Tyre was aware of David's unfulfilled intentions.

Now King Solomon was at peace with his neighbors and ready to carry out his father's wishes. Solomon sent a message to King Hiram:
  • My father David was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the LORD his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations.
  • He could not build until the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies.
  • God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well.
  • I plan to build a Temple just as God had instructed David.
  • Please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. allow my men to work alongside yours, and I will pay them wages as you suggest.
  • No one can cut timber like the Sidonians.
So Solomon was ready to send his unskilled laborers to work with the Sidonians (Phoenians). Also, he agreeded to pay wages to this king's men who was cutting  the trees down. What a deal!

Are we striving to fulfill our Heavenly Father's will in our life? At all cost?


What was King Hiram's reaction to King Solomon's message?
  • He was very pleased and it sounds like he was quite eager to oblige.
  • Hiram promised to have the timbers, cedar and fir, cut from Lebanon, transported to the Mediterranean Sea, made into rafts, floated down to Joppa, the nearest port to Jerusalem..
  • There they would be broken up and transported over land to the construction site in Jerusalem.
  • Hiram's request was to be paid for the timbers with large quantities of food from Israel, in addition to the wages of the cutters.
Evidently payment continued until the Temple was completed. A peace treaty was made between these two kings (verse 12).
Apparently Solomon was the first king to impose a labor tax on Israel (verse 13). Prophet Samuel warned Israel this would happen when they demanded a king for their nation (1 Sam. 8:16-18).
The rest of the chapter gives the details of the men sent to cut timber and the stone cutters for the foundation of the Temple.

1 Chronicles 2: 1-18 gives more details on this transaction. Solomon desired a place set apart to burn fragrant incense, display the special sacrificial bread, and burnt offerings in the morning and evening, Sabbaths, new moon celebrations, and other festivals God established. Included in Solomon's message to King Hiram:
This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. But who can really build Him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain Him!

How great is our God! Nothing can contain Him. He is everywhere-omnipresent.

In the back of my mind, I knew the phrase cedar in Lebanon was familiar. It is found in Psalm 92:12, the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

These cedars were a symbol of majesty and might because they were durable, resistant to rot and worms. It could be polished to a fine shine. It was regarded as the best lumber for building material.  (MacArthur)

[Resources: New Living Translation, Liberty Bible Commentary]


When distracted by other things, set them aside and make working for God a priority.

Sing praises to God throughout the day.

Be like a cedar of Lebanon-strong in faith, not allowing the world to cause my life to become rotten with sin, and be polished by the fire of tests in life.

Be a temple for the Holy Spirit to live. 

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