Greater than Solomon

Since September last year, Andy has been preaching through 1 Kings on Sunday evenings, looking at the reign of King Solomon.  Last week (3rd April) we reached 1 Kings 10:1-13, the visit of the Queen of Sheba, and Andy spent a large part of the sermon talking about Jesus’s reference to this incident: “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42).  

This stayed on my mind throughout the week, and I spent time meditating on some of the ways in which Jesus is infinitely greater than Solomon.  Here are just four of them.

A Great King

Solomon was a great king, one of the greatest that Israel ever had.  Under his reign, he extended the boundaries of the kingdom so that they were larger than at any other time in Israel’s history, the kingdom was united, the people were happy and their needs were provided for. His reign was the high point in the history of the nation of Israel, and for the 40 glorious years that he reigned they had peace with all the nations that surrounded them.

But if you compare him with Christ, Solomon pales into obscurity.  Jesus Christ is an infinitely greater king than Solomon!

1459768672802_imgJesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and even the greatest rulers on earth are subject to His authority.  It is Jesus, as the great King of kings, who delegates to our leaders the power and authority that they have to rule over us.

1459797355342_imgJesus is King over everyone who has ever lived, and over every part of the universe that He created.  He sits enthroned in the heavens, and one day every knee will bow before Him,  and acknowledge his kingly authority!

Solomon reigned for 40 glorious years, but then he died. His reign was over, and soon the kingdom was divided in two, and never regained it’s former glory and power.  Yet Jesus Christ is not just King for a few short decades, but from eternity past and His reign will never end!  It is impossible for anyone to ever depose Him, and all rebellions against Him will ultimately be quashed.  

The Israelites were happy with Solomon as their king, he brought them a time of peace and security that they hadn’t known before. In the Bible we are given some small glimpses of what it will be like to be in heaven with King Jesus, to whet our appetites and stimulate a longing within us for a kingdom far greater than anyone has experienced here.  A place where “in His presence there is fullness of joy… and pleasures for evermore”, where all tears will be wiped from our eyes, and there will be no more pain or sin or grief or death.  Yet this only scratches the surface of how wonderful it will be to finally be with Him, to have glorious new bodies that are incapable of sinning, and to reign with Him in His never-ending kingdom! It is infinitely more glorious than anything that we have ever seen or can even begin to imagine.    

Incomparable Wealth

Solomon was mind-bogglingly wealthy, with riches that far exceeded those of any other king of his generation, and even today he still tops the list of the wealthiest people in all of history.*  As well as building a great Temple for God, Solomon built a magnificent palace for himself, made with costly materials and with a unique throne made from ivory and gold. During his reign, gold was so plentiful that silver was considered to be as worthless as stone!  

1459770756718_imgYet the Bible tells us that it was God who gave Solomon all the wealth that he had.  As King over all creation, all that Solomon owned was God’s anyway, to dispose of as He saw fit.

“Every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.”  

Solomon’s wealth was worthless when compared with the vast resources that our God has at His disposal!

Unparalleled Wisdom

Above everything else, Solomon is remembered for his unparalleled wisdom. The Bible tells us that his wisdom, given to him by God at his request, was so great that no-one before or since would ever have wisdom like it. Solomon showed great wisdom in the way he administered his kingdom, the alliances that he made, and the judgements that he gave when mediating disputes among the people.  He wrote over 1000 songs and 3000 proverbs, he also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and the beautiful love poem “Song of Solomon”.   He had wisdom and understanding “beyond measure”, so that his fame spread far and wide, and people travelled vast distances to learn from him.  When the Queen of Sheba came to talk with him, he was able to answer all the hard questions that were troubling her, “there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.”  His wisdom was truly unparalleled.

1459932034243_imgYet Jesus is infinitely greater than Solomon in this, too.  Solomon’s wisdom was not something he created himself, it was a gift from God whose wisdom is simply in another dimension to that which any human being could ever have.   God is omniscient, there is nothing that He does not know, and His wisdom is infinite and utterly beyond our comprehension.

We see the wisdom of God as we look at the incredible world that we live in, which He designed and created in all its intricate details. The beauty of it, the variety, the order and harmony behind it speak clearly of the wisdom of the Creator. The wisdom behind just one flower created by Him far exceeds even the best human designs and inventions!

Yet it is when we consider God’s “secret and hidden wisdom” of His plan of salvation that we see most clearly how vastly superior His wisdom is to our own. No wonder that Paul bursts into praise and exclaims “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and his paths beyond tracing out!”

It should not surprise us then, as we look at the life of Jesus our Creator, that we see wisdom shining through all that He said and did.  From His childhood it was clear to those who knew Him that He was full of wisdom, as even then He amazed them with his understanding. During His years of ministry, the crowds who listened to His teaching were astonished at His great wisdom and authority.  Even on the occasions when the religious leaders attempted to trick Jesus with their Catch-22 questions, He was able to answer each time in a way which astounded them.  

1459954141374_imgJesus, our “Wonderful Counsellor”, showed perfect, heavenly wisdom not just in what He taught but in every aspect of His life: how He related to everyone He encountered, how He dealt with temptation, His priorities and His leadership of His disciples.   His whole life reflected His divine wisdom, and unlike Solomon whose heart turned away from God later in life, He never sinned!

Man of Peace

Solomon was the king who brought peace to the land of Israel. Ever since Joshua and the Israelites had entered the Promised Land around 450 years earlier, God’s people had been in almost continual conflict with the nations that surrounded them. Solomon’s father David was renowned for being a great warrior, but in contrast to him Solomon was “a man of peace and rest” .  Throughout his reign Israel had peace from all of their enemies, and Solomon formed many useful political alliances.

Like Solomon,  Jesus brings peace to His people.  Hundreds of years before His birth, Isaiah told the people that their Messiah would be called the Prince of Peace, and His peace is of a quality which far surpasses the peace that Israel experienced during Solomon’s reign.

1460317193554_imgJesus told His disciples that the peace that He gave was different to the peace that the world can give, and His peace is so unique, so great, it is a peace which we simply can’t get our heads around.  His peace is perfect peace, complete peace: peace with God, peace within ourselves, and peace with other people too.  

1459860456756_imgOur sin means that we are by nature enemies of God, and not at peace with Him. We can’t do anything ourselves to get peace with God, we have to rely on Jesus the Mediator, the Peacemaker, who provided the only way to forgive our sins and to bring us to God.  This reconciliation with God brings a peace which the world can never offer us.

Jesus also gives us peace within ourselves: the peace of knowing that our guilt is all washed away, but also a deep peace of mind that keeps us secure no matter how difficult the circumstances of our life may be. It is a peace that comes because we know we have a God who is overflowing with love for us, who will never leave us, and who will provide for all our needs.  1459861123122_imgWe can be at peace because we know that our God is in sovereign control not just of the universe as a whole, but of our lives as individuals, and that if we are His children then He will work even the worst times of our lives for our lasting good.

1459869296136_imgAlthough we live in a world which is full of conflict and hostility, Jesus also gives peace between His people.  Barriers which would normally exist between us are destroyed by Jesus as He unites those whom He loves in one body, His bride.

 

The peace that Israel experienced during Solomon’s reign was temporary. Soon after his death the kingdom was divided in two, and once again they faced hostility from their enemies in the nations around them.  

1459882079280_imgYet the peace that Jesus offers is everlasting peace. We can experience it to a limited degree here on earth, but in heaven there will be nothing at all to spoil His peace. The prophets poetically described it as a time when swords will be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, and when “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.”   A place of perfect, eternal peace!

Jesus said that He was greater than Solomon: what an understatement!   Solomon was the greatest, wealthiest, wisest king that the Israelites had, but Jesus is infinitely greater in every way!  One day, like the Queen of Sheba, we will gaze in breathless awe and wonder at our King, and realise that “the half was not told me” during our lifetime here.  There are such great depths for us to spend eternity discovering!

 


www.wealthresult.com/2013/07/top-10-richest-men-of-all-time-in.html  



Written by: Lis Rowe, member of St. Mellons Baptist Church

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