smiling older man June 4 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Kings 4:20-28; 1Kings 10:14-29; 2Chronicles 9:13-28; 2Chronicles 1:14-17

Good Times

Success! Yes, finally we climb to the top of the corporate ladder, or attain the position we always wanted, or reach another milestone in our life. We receive recognition. We are at the top of our game and receive rewards. Life is good and life is sweet. When our influence and wealth increases, however, beware; it is then that we are most vulnerable to fall from greatness. We get caught up with our success, becoming proud and overconfident. Then we get sloppy in handling our business or personal life, and underestimate our opponents. This is what happens to King Solomon. He has wealth almost beyond measure but grows careless.

God promised wealth and honor to King Solomon because he feared the LORD and because he was pleased with Solomon's request for wisdom (1Kings 3:12-14).

During the time of his reign, God extends the borders of Israel all the way east to the river Euphrates, in what is now Iraq, and west to Gaza, the land of the Philistines bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Israel's southern border extends all the way to Egypt and its northern border all the way to Syria. The nation of Israel is united and lives in happiness and peace without fear of attack. Other nations eagerly trade with Israel and make Solomon very rich. “King Solomon [is] greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (2Chronicles 9:22, NIV). He accumulates a vast store of gold, silver, and precious stones, valuable spices, rich clothing, horses and chariots. But apparently in his wealth, King Solomon forgets God and his instructions.

The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees. (Deuteronomy 17:16-19, NIV)

Like many of us when times are good, we stop depending on God, reading his Word (the Bible), and praying. It seems King Solomon does the same and begins to live his life in a humanistic fashion. The book of Ecclesiastes, written later by him, certainly suggests this. When God gives us success, we must not grow overconfident and careless.

How do we handle the lure of riches and success? Solomon tells us, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint” (Proverbs 23:4, NIV). The Apostle Paul will later write to a young pastor, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1Timothy 6:17, NIV).

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV).

Do we know God? He can give us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. He will be with us in good times and bad (more...).

Lessons to Live By

When times are good

  • We must not grow overconfident and careless.
  • Like God, we need to exercise kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth. We should use our power, wealth, or influence to help others for the kingdom of God.
  • Let us enjoy the blessings the LORD gives, but remember the giver.
  • Let us keep obeying the LORD and advancing his kingdom agenda, not our own.

Focus Verse

1Timothy 6:17, NIV “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

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A Look Ahead: King Solomon is accumulating a great number of wives. One of them Solomon is in love with. In our next two lessons we will be looking at how to Keep Love Strong. This is good Bible study for singles and married couples.

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