We recycle. I’m not talking about paper and plastics. In our culture, we recycle many themes and storylines over and over. Whether it is the fifth production of the three musketeers or Cinderella, you see stories like these resurface repeatedly. We even recycle elements of a story. Think of the haunted house scene or the royal palace. There are certain iconic stories which are “plug and play” when you want your audience to have a certain mood.
The Bible circulates certain storylines over and over as well. In 1 Kings 5-9, you see some of this happening again and throughout the rest of the book, you will see the culmination of this set story. Here is the framework:
• Something wonderful is created
• God promises blessings as long as a man follows His single requirement
• The man agrees to follow God’s requirement
• Man breaks God’s requirement
• Man is exiled from the wonderful creation
Does this sound familiar? It sounds like the Garden of Eden, right? And it is also circulated throughout Israel’s history repeatedly. Solomon is permitted by God to create this wonderful house, the Temple of God. God visits Solomon twice and promises, “If thou wilt walk in my statutes…and keep all my commandments…I will dwell among the children of Israel…and there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel” (1 Kings 6:11-13; 9:2-9). Solomon agrees to follow God’s requirement. Everything looks really great. You are even lead to believe the chapters recounting all of Solomon’s treasure is actually a sign of how great things actually are. However, if you read through the Torah, the Jewish law, Israel was supposed to be different from the worldly nations. Solomon had slaves building cities. Solomon amassed tremendous wealth and status. All of a sudden, Israel does not sound much different from Egypt when the Israelites were the slaves. Is Israel keeping the commandments of God?
No, they are not. Everything comes crashing down when you see the first word in 1 Kings 10. “But” Solomon had a harem of women, and basically followed the world’s way as ruler of Israel. He broke God’s requirement and eventually you will see the Temple destroyed and the people taken away in exile.
There are some powerful warnings in these chapters which echo from the Fall in the Garden and repeated failures of God’s people. Be on guard when things are going well. When the blessings of God are measureless. You may shift into auto-pilot which means you will live as the world would live. You do not default to the ways of God. The moment you take your guard down, the moment you fail to intentionally follow God’s ways, this is the moment you begin to follow the pre-programmed methods of the world.
Solomon let his guard down. He had three visits from God which should have been a powerful reminder. The truth is we need a daily visit with God. Read your Bible and prayer are proactive steps to not repeating history.