WYOMING TABERNACLES 2012

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SPECIAL REPORT:  FEAST OF TABERNACLES EXPERIMENT

I am experiencing an Old Testament Feast in some greater detail.  I moved my trailer to the Rock Lake campground to spend some time in a booth per the ancient commandment.  I will be here from Monday October 1 until about Thursday.  At that time I will move to the city park and use the trailer dump.  If you see this post, you may visit for a few hours or join the overnight adventures.  Technically I should build a booth of branches and live in it for the week.  I am cheating a bit with this nice trailer.

 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.  And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.  And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:  That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 23:39-43

I did experience some of the plagues on my way out of town.  My house was invaded by flies for the entire week before.  I battles with poison, traps, and swatting frenzies.  I shattered a half dozen plastic fly swatters in the effort.  The invasion seems to be ending just in time, as I have few swatters left.  It is as if the Lord of the Flies wanted me to experience a reenactment of the Battle of Britain!

Loading required me to remember how I lived in this trailer for five months earlier this year.  I felt called to find a new home after struggling to start a business in Arizona.  My father had passed away, and I let my brother have his winter home in Arizona.  I went looking for a friendly business environment for new aerospace ventures.  This outing is a reminder of where I have come from in my Christian walk, as Israel was to remember their Exodus experience.

I did get enough provisions to live in camp, and got rolling by 1300 hours on Monday.  The Rock Lake camp is only a few miles from town, and offers a great mix of prairie and lakeside scenery.  The aspen trees are doing their color change, and the mountains provide a beautiful backdrop.  I sighted a large bird with white tail feathers which must have been an eagle.  Not a bad sign for my plan to do some design work while in camp! 

APPROACHING THE RED SEA…(ROCK LAKE)

In camp I stopped the trailer in an attractive camp site after a few loops around the possible sites.  We got out, opened the trailer and began setting up camp.  Then I noticed something attacking dog and I in the grass; sand burrs!  I saw hundreds of them in the trailer tires and spearing us through the outdoor carpeting.  Dog was constantly biting them out of her feet, so we had to relocate. 

THORN PATCH

Now Israel may have had some fun getting away from the Egyptians as they carried off their oppressor’s gold and treasures.  But how long did it take them to start complaining?  I may have had a few unfaithful mutterings when I had to move the camp myself.  So I curbed my complaining and set up again under some big trees.

Once the camp was looking nice I began setting up the internet satellite dish.  I can’t give up ALL my bad habits can I?  Once located the signal from the satellite, I tried to tune it in with the meter.  I couldn’t hit the target because of overhanging branches.  So I moved the dish again, and again.  I found the signal, but it was just beyond the reach of my cable from the trailer.  So I had to move the whole camp again.  A little more murmuring followed.  And a little more repentance followed that.

Now I had a nice comfortable camp for the dwelling in booths.  Modern Israel may be using plywood and aluminum booths, so this isn’t too inappropriate, right?  At least Israel still tries to dwell in the booths for the week.  Churches usually only set up a booth in the yard and mention the feast.  Wheatland Worship Center will have an observation of the Fest with Messianic worship and dance this year.  You may visit Wheatland Worship Center at 5pm on October 7 to enjoy this experience.  The 10 am service will also have some teaching on this.

As I set up the internet dish I noticed something else.  There is a pile of branches leaning against a tree in my camp.  Someone built a branch shelter just like the actual booths described in the Old Testament.  Uh-oh…the Lord provided me with no excuse or avenue of escape.  I do have the opportunity to do this the right way.  Did I hear praise to God or murmuring just then?

WHAT IS THAT BRUSH PILE ON THE RIGHT??

I had a bad experience with the sand burs which I complained about.  Then I whined about moving it all another three yards to reach the dish.  Did I remember the Jew who preceded my experience?

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  Acts 9:5

All I had to do was accept the fact of moving with the expectation of a reward.  God may place a detour to prevent a major collision, and to deliver us to a place of blessing.  Instead of a trailer booth I had a natural one, built by someone before me.  I could have just accepted the works of someone else, which paid the penalty that I could not afford. 

My dog Azalea is frantic with joy and celebration anyway.  We are alone in camping, and see few visitors at this time of the year.  Dog gets to run off the leash and chase squirrels to her heart’s content.  The sunset is painting the golden aspens, the lake and the mountains a golden hue.  She can run in the lake, track raccoons, and celebrate a dog’s life.  I am grateful that God keeps me on a leash most of the time, but it is nice to get some run time in his creation too.

NATURE GIRL…DANCES WITH WOOFS 

Well, I got my courage back after the initial trepidation and set up the booth for our campout.  Azalea has no issues with spending the night outdoors, especially in the wilderness of night creatures.  I on the other hand remember the trials of sleeping on the ground from six years of Army life.  I do have a surplus down filled sleeping bag and shared an old bag with the watchdog.

As it turned out, the cold night air was especially refreshing, and the bag was wonderfully warm and comforting.  The only lumps were not on the ground, but junk in my pockets.  Dog was content to keep an eye on the night prowlers from her bag, and we clung to the comforts until the sun demanded our presence.  The outhouse was also offering some services so we forced ourselves out of the cocoon of comfort.

 RISE AND SHINE!

Admittedly my camp offers some comforts the Jews did not have as they camped on the banks of the Red Sea.  I was able to crank up the generator and get the coffee maker bubbling away.  I could change clothes and wash up in a heated room.  But we were on the shores of the lake where some try to drive on the beach in their four wheel drive vehicles.  I saw no evidence of their wheels falling off, so I assume they were not Egyptian chariots.  We are not far from Goshen (County) though.  And this year you can walk on part of the lake bed, watching for the waters return being unnecessary.

 

If one considers fasting as giving up something for God, this dwelling may be hard on modern man.  Leaving the lights, phones, television, and internet is unimaginable!  For Israel it was also a retreat from prosperity and a reflection on distress of losing their homes, farms, and commercial ties.  But an experience living on the shores of God’s creation has much to replace our losses.  Israel had been only the nomadic family of Abraham.  They needed to be uprooted from prosperity to rediscover dependence on God.

When we sleep on the ground a dog is limited protection against a cougar or a snake.  In Arizona we were in places like the Sinai where heat and nature were even more threatening.  That fool Columbus released pigs in the new world, so herds of nasty beasts can surprise you in many states.  Domestic hogs recently ate their own farmer.  Leaving your modern shelter can awaken a need for help that we should never lose.  Danger is with us in this century as much as ever. 

  

I am encouraged to see how Daniel devoured scripture.  I expect he was inspired by Joseph to serve God in captivity.  Like Joseph he became the prime minister or vice president of an enemy nation.  We should expect a path of safety for our own prosperity in the presence of this generation of raging heathen.  We should begin to see that path rolling out ahead of our headlights in the darkest night.  

His word is a lamp and a roadmap at the same time.  It embraces the past, present and future because it is the Alpha and the Omega; it is Yeshua Ha Meschia.  Jesus is the word, and this study is our fellowship with him.  He told us to have fellowship with the father as we pray “Our Father who is in heaven”.  We also fellowship with the Holy Spirit in our relationship with spirit filled believers.  This time of harvest should revive our relationship with the trinity in prayer, bible study, and Christian fellowship.

Set aside some time to back up in time and consider where Yeshua found you, and where your journey has taken you.  From the bondage of sin we still need to grow through the wilderness of sin before we can enter the Promised Land.  Perhaps we will remember enough of God’s miracles to be a bit slower to anger and curse.  We may be able to celebrate the warmth of each new dawn with a warm cup of appreciation for God.  

FOOTNOTE:   TAB-BRRR-NACLES!

I left the booth for the comfort of the trailer when the winds reached gale force.  Dog still had fun with all the wild animal tracks and scents.  She was having a ball!

True to her heritage my mix lab-coon dog treed a family of racoons last night.  After so much fun it was hard to leave to dump the tanks and refill the water supply.

We moved to the city park for the last three days to recharge the tanks and hookup to electrical power.

Dog loves this park for the squirrels so we set up and enjoyed a beautiful night in town.  I awakened to a seemingly foggy dawn.  No it was something else…SNOW!

Dog was unimpressed with this light dusting and resingned herself to a hard day of indoor confinement and…doggy television.

It’s a dog’s life!

So do we have to observe the Old Testament feasts today?  Not as a bondage, but as an opportunity.  We are not under the law, but we can learn from it.  You can come closer to the observance of the feasts by testing a bit of each in your own life.  Visit a Messianic fellowship or sample some of the traditional foods of Israel.  Spend some time in God’s creation and appreciate the creator more than ever before.  Taste the lessons God has led others through and discover special treats you never expected!

GETTING THE POINT

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RANDOM RESULTS

Jehosaphat has moved closer to God and Judah prospers.  Now there is peace between Israel and Judah in spite of their spiritual differences.  Beyond being at peace, Jehosaphat is bonding with the infamous king Ahab of Israel.

Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.  And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead.  And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.  And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.  Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.  2 Chronicles 18:1-5

So Ahab fills Jehosaphat’s belly with a fine meal for a lot of “feel good”.  Now he makes his sales pitch to join his little war.  Why does Israel need a war?  Jehosaphat has sense to ask God if they should join this expedition.  Ahab is not so discerning and calls false prophets of other gods to forecast success in battle.  Perhaps these “prophets” knew they would be wise to please king Ahab.  They were not non-profit prophets.

But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.  And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.  And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.  2 Chronicles 18:6-9

Do we have to listen to godless false prophets or is there a spokesman for God?  Jehosaphat knows right, but keeps company with wrong.  Ahab knows what to expect from the truth, and reluctantly calls for Micaiah.  All the contenders take a shot.

And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.  And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.  And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of their’s, and speak thou good.  And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.  And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.  2 Chronicles 18:10-14

The king’s lackey tells Micaiah to be like everyone else and promise victory to the kings.  Ahab knows better than to believe this good news though.  He has heard from Micah before.  Notice that Micaiah does not presume to say “Thus saith the Lord” as these false prophets have. 

And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?  Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.  And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?  2 Chronicles 18:15-17

Ahab asks for the truth, and now Micaiah quotes the Lord with a clear warning of defeat.  Ahab points out the negative response, and Micaiah continues the prophesy.

Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.  And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.  Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?  And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.  Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.  2 Chronicles 18:18-22

Micaiah clearly reveals the hidden workings of the spiritual realm and his enemies will not hear, but rebuke him. 

Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?  And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.  Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;  And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.  And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.  2 Chronicles 18:23-27

The prophet is insulted, but not silenced.  The word of God will not fail.  The prophet is turned over to Joash, the son of Ahab.  The same Joash will plague Judah with war in the future.  This alliance will not last and the tribes will be separated again.

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and I will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.  Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great,  save only with the king of Israel.  And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.  For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.  And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.  And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.  2 Chronicles 18:28-34

Jehosaphat is the trusting soul, and Ahab is trying to hide from the enemy.  He should hide.  This was his bad idea, and his refusal to hear from the Lord.  His enemies know who is at fault here, and seek out Ahab.  They know who the problem is, and won’t even bother with the king of Judah.  God moves them along to their real enemy, and a random arrow took his life.  How many random events are as guided as God intervening to save Jehosaphat?  Was this arrow just as guided as David’s stone?  Ahab got the point of Micaiah’s story.

SON OF JUDAH

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SECOND CHANCE

As I wrote about king Asa I was reminded of my own walk in Yeshua.  I began with such zeal and since mellowed into a bit of laxity.  There are still some high places to be addressed.  I am comforted to have daily repentance and grace, but some things still need to be changed.  Asa’s son has focused on his father’s righteousness, and avoided some of his shortcomings.  I hope someone will notice my good side and ignore the temptation to repeat my mistakes.  As Asa, I hope some spiritual son will stand for truth in my place.

And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.  And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.  And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;  But sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.  Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.  2 Chronicles 17:1-5

There is a reward to those who will follow good examples to salvation.  They may press in to overcome the issues that hindered their predecessors.  Asa is moving beyond the errors of the past.

And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.  Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.  And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.  And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.  And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.  2 Chronicles 17:6-10

Teaching is so essential to success for nations and churches.  How can we leave the safety of our sanctuary if we are not trained for spiritual warfare?  The basic principles of Christian behavior are to keep peace within our walls, and to draw the lost to our sanctuary of healing.  So armed we will not be overcome by warfare as we go out to this lost world.  Even enemies will recognize the opportunity presented by a Messiah who is open to his world.

Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.  And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.  And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.  2 Chronicles 17:11-13

When we are wise in our warfare, we can prosper in our economy.  Our economy in turn will sustain the cost of our protection.  To a godly leader there are others who will share his leadership responsibilities. 

And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valour three hundred thousand.  And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.  And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.  And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.  And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.  These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.  2 Chronicles 17:14-19

King Jehosaphat has organized, equipped, and trained his people to be safe against their enemy’s threats.  Being in relationship with God is their first line of defense.  If they will maintain this primary alliance, they will not need any other.  Asa had opposed Israel with Syrian help which drew some punishment from God.  Now Jehosaphat has a chance to lead his nation under God.

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.

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.

OPPORTUNITY

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RESPONSE

Solomon recognized an opportunity in the presence of the Lord manifested by the smoke filling the temple.  

Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.  But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.  And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.  2 Chronicles 6:1-3

Solomon acknowledges God’s presence by this prayer.  He knows that he has an audience with God and he uses this to advantage now.

And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,  Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:  But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.  Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.  But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:  Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.  The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.  And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.  2 Chronicles 6:4-11

Solomon acknowledges the faithfulness of God in having fulfilled his promises to David and his son Solomon.  He offers an example for the people now.

And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:  For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold of five cubits long, and five cubits broad,  and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.  2 Chronicles 6:12-13

Solomon has mounted a platform that lets the people see him kneeling in submission to the most high God.  He is elevated in their view to elevate the importance of submission and prayer.  My wife’s grandparents regularly prayed together with the family as an example that we can live by.  True leaders provide an example of humility before the God who can deliver us from our own weaknesses.  Solomon begins his prayer.

And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:  Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.  Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.  Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.  But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!  Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:  That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.  Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.  If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;  Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.  And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;  Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.  When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;  Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.  If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:  Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:  Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)  That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.  Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;  Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.  If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;  Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.  If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;  Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;  If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:  Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.  Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.  Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.  O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.  2 Chronicles 6:14-42

Solomon recognizes the faithfulness of God and the weakness of man, including Israel.  He prepares the way by making petition in advance for all contingencies.  Actually the nature of man assures that failure is our future, so this is the wisdom of Solomon to prepare for the destiny of all flesh.  He recognizes the value of repentance and the need for protection from the unrepentant.  But he goes further by preparing the way for the rest of the world.  The strangers, the aliens who are not of Israel are offered a way to salvation in this prayer.  Solomon has recognized the nature of God’s original plan to save the lost world through the example of a small chosen nation.  He also knows that the failure of Israel will be repaired when they recognize their weakness without God.  David demonstrated the power of repentance and Solomon honors the revelation of this hope to all men.

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