WHOSOEVER WILL

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CHOICES

Rehoboam has made choices about his life and his faith.  They do not conform to the will of God or the Law.  God does conform to his promises for better or worse, so the results are soon coming in.

And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.  And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,  With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.  And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.  2 Chronicles 12:1-4

The problem for a ruler is that his personal choices may affect the entire nation.  We are facing choices today about our presidential elections, and we have no good choices.  Our political leaders are chosen by the blind, and so the blind will lead us.  For Israel a king made the choices for them, but they had also empowered that king.  He was about to learn how his choices were seen by the God he has forgotten.

Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.  Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.  And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.  Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.  2 Chronicles 12:5-8

God sent a messenger and the leaders of Judah responded with humility.  God reduced their sentence because of their humility.  Yet there was still a bad taste to be remembered about their former pride. 

So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.  Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house.  And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber.  And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.  2 Chronicles 12:9-12

The glory of Israel is changing from gold to brass in this reign.  Rehoboam led Israel in the first steps of failure, and returned them partially in humility.  There is still a price to be paid for sin, even after one repents.  In some cases society requires that judgment be rendered in court for trespass against our laws and communities.  God forgives us but government must punish per their laws.

So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.  And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.  Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.  And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.  2 Chronicles 12:9-12

God sent messengers with warnings, but Rehoboam had not made an effort to get those warnings from God himself.  God had to initiate the warnings because the king would not invest time in prayer, bible study, and godly fellowship.  The trinity requires our willing participation; he calls whosoever will.

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HIS FATHER’S SON

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SEEDS OF AFFLICTION

 

FAMILIAR PATTERNS

Rehoboam is a son of Solomon, and he has inherited some of the good and some of the bad ideas his father left.  He had an army, and he was ready to fight against the many tribes that left to become Israel.  He got good counsel from a man of God.

And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.  But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,  Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,  Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against  Jeroboam.  2 Chronicles 11:1-4

The man of God had the respect of Rehoboam, and the king decided to obey the word of God for now.  Thus civil war and shedding of Jewish blood was avoided.  But Rehoboam took no chances, building his fortifications against the larger tribes to the north.

And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.  He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,  And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam,  And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,  And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,  And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.  2 Chronicles 11:5-10

He went on to prepare the cities with food and weapons against the threat as well.  The men were organized into military units with a proper chain of command.

And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.  And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.  And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.  For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD:  2 Chronicles 11:11-14

The holy men of Israel were coming to Jerusalem to serve God in the temple per the Lord’s commandment.  They were rejected from serving as priests by Jeroboam, so they were happy to join Judah. 

And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.  And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.  So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.  2 Chronicles 11:15-17

Jeroboam made the priests serve idols and demons, but some remained true to the Lord and went south to Judah.

And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;  Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.  And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.  And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)  2 Chronicles 11:18-21

Rehoboam began to collect wives as Solomon had.  Among them was the daughter of Absalom, who he loved.  So many partners must have had influence, and the rebellion of Absalom may have dwelt among the spirits being represented here. 

And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.  And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.  2 Chronicles 11:18-21

The king did some things wisely after the world, but he desired many wives after his father Solomon.  He will be responsible and accountable for keeping the throne of David and Solomon against the works of darkness.

GLORY DEPARTS, POWER REMAINS

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CHANGE

Solomon made some mistakes, but you can read his thoughts later in Ecclesiastes, and in the Song of Solomon.  In this chronicle his death marks a change in government and in the tone of life in Israel.  His sons are not exactly like his forbearers.

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.  And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.  And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.  And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.  2 Chronicles 10:1-5

One son, Jeroboam, had a little rebellion in him, and he brought that along when he returned to challenge his brother Rehoboam’s plans.  He asks to relieve “somewhat” the tax burden imposed by Solomon.  God had warned Israel that a king would tax them, and now they know about that burden.  Rehoboam leaves the people without an answer for now, but perhaps they thought he might want to pray about the answer.

And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?  And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.  But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.  And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?  And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.  For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.  2 Chronicles 10:6-9

Rehoboam has counsel from men, wise and not so wise.  He has not sought balance in his direction through prayer or reading the scriptures.  We have a trinity to fellowship with for a balanced understanding.  We pray to the Father, read the word (the son) and fellowship with godly people who share from the Holy Spirit.  A tripod is steady on uneven ground, and a three strand rope is strong in heavy loads.

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.  And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,  And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.  So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.  2 Chronicles 10:12-15

This sounds like the Egyptian school of rule; a pyramid of heavy command that increases the burdens of life on people.  Jesus lived as a vine, supporting branches so they could bear fruit.  The good tree of life has roots buried in the past that still nurture the flower of faith in the highest branches.  The heavy hand is not welcomed in most societies, and Israel is not pleased.

And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king,  saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.  But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.  Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, hat he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.  And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.  2 Chronicles 10:16-19

Now we see the kingdom divided as Judah and Jerusalem are abandoned by Israel composed of most of the northern tribes.  This divide will last through to their captivities, often becoming a civil war.  One son’s foolishness alone did not bring all this on though.  The sins of the fathers, David and Solomon all led to this divide.  God knew this was coming, and he made provision to use it and to deliver us from it.

Israel is divided from the Lion of Judah today, as they do not accept Yeshua as Messiah.  Interestingly Jews are trying to reclaim Jesus as a prophet of Judaism, but not as the son of God.  http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/05/jews-reclaim-jesus-as-one-of-their-own/ 

We have lost the glory of Solomon’s Temple and the Law, but a greater glory is provided now.  When Moses was caused to glow from God’s power Israel wore veils to protect them from the brightness and power of his truth.  If they saw that the Law would only condemn them to death it would break their spirit. 

For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  2 Corinthians 3:11-17

In their teaching the Disciples of Christ were plain spoken and blunt.  What was lost in the law was glorious but deadly.  The grace of Yeshua is greater in that it fulfilled the law without our human failure and its death penalty.  I am happy to report that in Messianic fellowships around the world Jews are discovering that their Messiah is Yeshua, and that he is God.  The veil of blindness is being removed and it reveals liberty.  One day all of Israel will see without the protection.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10

POWER AND GLORY

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REPUTATION

Solomon became well known among the ancient kingdoms.  The stories reached distant kingdoms and drew interest and visitors.  Sheba was a kingdom which we are unable to locate today.  Since their queen came with camels, I expect that present day Yemen may be a reasonable guess by some experts. 

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.  And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.  And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,  And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.  2 Chronicles 9:1-4

This queen came to test Solomon much as some Sunday school students seek to test their teachers.  Hard questions make you live the gospel you are presenting.  The good news is that many of the misbehaving bible students turn out to be ministers or missionaries.  This queen was overwhelmed with the revelation of greatness that god had blessed Solomon with. 

And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:  Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.  Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.  Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.  2 Chronicles 9:5-8

There were great kingdoms before Israel.  Egypt had built mighty structures and temples.  But Solomon had produced a level of style that made a deep impression.  I submit that a spiritual influence from God makes our meager skills and offerings magnified beyond our natural abilities.  Jesus fed thousands with the meager offering of a few loaves and fishes.  He encourages us to do our best by making it better. 

This queen is impressed with Solomon the man, but she also recognizes that God is his source.  Solomon’s wisdom is from God as much as the materials of the temple were from his father David’s provision.

And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.  And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.  And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.  And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants.  2 Chronicles 9:9-12

The queen gave gifts and Solomon and Huram (Hiram) gave her gifts in return.  Her impressions were of both the asthetic glory of the kingdom, and of the spiritual blessing of it as well.  Her recognition came from her observation and from her own faith in God as well.  Faith is more than just what comes by our eyesight.  The recognition is contagious, and many kings and nations joined in this tribute of honor.

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold;  Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.  And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target.  And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.  Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.  And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:  And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.  2 Chronicles 9:13-19

The glory days of Israel were material and spiritual, and the people who saw this kingdom and its temple would not forget it.  They would share and long for the memory of it through the darkest days that lay ahead.  For now the celebration was of glory and power.

And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.  For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.  And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.  And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.  And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.  And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.  And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.  2 Chronicles 9:20-26

Solomon was the king of fame for his day but his writings in Ecclesiastes will reflect disappointment.  We will learn the rest of the story in that book.

And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance.  And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.  Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?  And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.  And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.  2 Chronicles 9:27-31

A new generation will change the testimony of Israel.  It will take a few generations for Israel to read the words we know as the Bible and recognize the wisdom of these great kings and prophets who ruled in these days.  Like Solomon they will discover complete wisdom in God’s time.

MOUNTAIN TOP

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PROSPERITY 

Solomon built on the foundation that his father David had provided.  David had provided well for his son’s reign.  There were men and materials for every need of the kingdom.  My own father passed away recently, and he too provided well for us.  Now I cannot come to him for help, but he provided material and skills for life.  I have hope from his example and still more from a heavenly father who has provided for my eternal life.  But I will face my mistakes alone except for the grace of God.  Solomon will also make mistakes, and find that grace in time.

And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,  That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.  And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it.  And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.  Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;  And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.  2 Chronicles 8:1-6

Solomon enjoys prosperity and an alliance with the king to his north.  He is on top of the situation, and on the high ground with the defense of Israel.  There were no enemies firing rockets into his kingdom.

As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel,  But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.  But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen.  And these were the chief of king Solomon’s officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.  2 Chronicles 8:7-10

Foreigners were taxed if they lived within the borders of Israel.  But the Jews were not given to slavery or menial assignments.  They were men of war, in positions of honor.  They had assignments high up in life, which is sometimes a place one can fall from.  Youth and energy may eventually become weary and risk a misstep on the slippery slopes of life.

 

And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.  Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,  Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.  And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.  And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures. 2 Chronicles 8:11-15

Solomon has the house of Israel operating in the sacrifices ordained under Moses.  Everything is working well for him now.  One small slippery spot looms in his path though.  He has married a queen of Egypt, a foreigner.  He will marry others in the future.  These relationships will become like loose rocks on a steep incline. 

These photos show young climbers in a similar situation.  If they chose their steps carefully they will come down with care after their high view experience.  They may chose the rocks that do not roll and enjoy a safe descent.  We do often see rescue teams evacuating injured hikers or climbers in our mountains. 

Solomon will slide back a bit, but we will see him catch the hope of life before he reaches the edge of decision.  It will fulfill his destiny to complete wisdom.

ACTION AND REACTION

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A REPLY

Prayer in the presence of God will bring the manifestation of power from God.  The modern church has witnessed waves of revival in which the testimony of miracles is real.  I don’t know how that power fades through the generations, but it is always available in revival to the repentant.  Solomon witnessed a powerful presence and manifestation of God in this dedication.

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.  Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.  And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.  2 Chronicles 7:1-5

When Israel saw the fire and God filled the house; then they worshipped God.  Don’t we look for the signs before we trust God?  This was so even in the times of Jesus. 

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.  John 4:48

It was important for the people to see these signs to be motivated to make a commitment to obey God.  It had to be a sincere and total desire to be righteous to make a point about our inability to be good.  Israel would deliver the desired demonstration in due time.  Their worship for now included the Psalms David had written for the Lord.

And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.  Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.  And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.  And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.   Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. 2 Chronicles 7:6-11

The offerings and feasting were a celebration for seven days.  It overwhelmed the capacity of the altars and probably left everyone filled with hope and good meat.  The guest of honor was God, and he made his appearance with drama.  There was a covenant in place now.  God was about to make one more appearance; he will respond to the request.

And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.  For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.  And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;  Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.  But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;  Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.  And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?  And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them. 2 Chronicles 7:12-22

The rise and fall of ministries and nations seems directly tied to the failures we are warned against in these scriptures.  Can we learn from the lessons we find here?  Solomon is warned that if he (or they, or we) departed from God and served idols, Israel would be doomed to fall.  Now we know that Solomon was turned to idolatry, and Israel did fall before their enemies.  Was this cruelty from God? 

When we tell our children not to play with matches, don’t we expect some children to get burned because they will not listen?  We don’t want that result, but we recognize the human capacity to fail.  We are creatures of free will.  The word “if” is still the catch in the contract.  Obedience will be the great test of Israel and the world.