2 Chronicles 8: Lessons From Solomon’s Mistakes as King of Israel for Staying on a Spirit-Led Walk With God

Introduction: After Solomon built the Temple to worship God, God blessed Solomon with great wealth and power. This chapter records many of Solomon’s accomplishments. On the outside, Solomon may have appeared to be doing everything right. But, on the inside, he was slowly drifting from God. His slow drift would eventually cause him to marry 1,000 wives and worship other gods. From Solomon’s mistakes, God reveals seven lessons on maintaining your walk with Him. These include: (1) maintaining integrity, (2) avoiding compromise, (3) trusting God, (4) staying separate from evil, (5) having an obedient heart, (6) accountability, and (7) contentment.

First, the pagan King Hiram served both David and Solomon. Solomon took advantage of Hiram and sold him 20 non-productive cities in the Promised Land at an inflated price. Solomon’s actions dishonored God. Most likely through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Hiram returned these lands to God’s people. From Solomon’s mistake, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader represents God’s light through integrity and honest dealings with others. Second, Solomon employed the pagan Canaanites as slave labor to build his many fortresses and other projects. The Canaanites would later lead the Jews into idolatry. From Solomon’s mistake, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader does not compromise in his or her walk. Third, Solomon taxed the Jews and conscripted them to form a large army. Solomon tried to deter foreign invaders with his own strength. From Solomon’s mistake, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader places his or her trust in God, not in his or her own strength. Fourth, Solomon kept his pagan Egyptian queen in a separate residence. His separation initially helped him to maintain proper worship. Yet, Solomon would soon forget the importance of separation. His many foreign wives would live with him and corrupt him. He would then build pagan temples for these wives to worship other gods. From Solomon’s mistake, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader keeps his or her walk with God separate and holy. Fifth, Solomon observed the three required yearly feasts to God. His sacrifices were important. But observing festivals would not be enough to keep Solomon on his walk. God cared more about his heart than his sacrifices. From Solomon’s mistake, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader has an obedient heart that is demonstrated by more than outward acts of piety. Sixth, Solomon followed David’s reforms in setting up a structured priesthood to run the Temple sacrifices and worship. On the outside, things looked perfect. Yet, Solomon was not accountable to the priests. He did not have a person like Nathan to counsel him. When he drifted in his walk, there was no one to bring him back. From Solomon’s mistakes, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader is accountable to others. Finally, Solomon built a navy to accumulate large sums of gold from foreign lands. This would cause Solomon to covet wealth and women. From Solomon’s mistakes, God reveals that a Spirit-led leader does not give into covetousness.

1. Integrity: A Spirit-Led Leader Represents God’s Light Through Integrity. 2 Chr. 8:1-6.

  • God corrected Solomon’s improper dealings with King Hiram. After Solomon spent seven years building the Temple and 13 years building his palace (1 Kgs. 7:1), he took control of areas of the Promised Land that he had previously given to King Hiram in Lebanon: “1 Now it came about at the end of the twenty years in which Solomon had built the house of the Lord and his own house that he built the cities which Huram had given to him, and settled the sons of Israel there. Then Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and captured it. He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the storage cities which he had built in Hamath. He also built upper Beth-horon and lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates and bars; and Baalath and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and all the cities for his chariots and cities for his horsemen, and all that it pleased Solomon to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land under his rule.” (2 Chr. 8:1-6). In 1 Kings, the Bible describes how Solomon tricked King Hiram into giving 15,000 pounds of gold for 20 worthless cities: “10 It came about at the end of twenty years in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house 11 (Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold according to all his desire), then King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. 12 So Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, and they did not please him. 13 He said, ‘What are these cities which you have given me, my brother?’ So they were called the land of Cabul to this day. 14 And Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.” (1 Kgs. 9:10-14). King Hiram in southern Lebanon had been a loyal ally to both David and Solomon (1 Kgs. 5:1-7). He provided much of the material and labor for David’s home, the Temple and Solomon’s palace (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kgs. 5:8-18; 7:2). Each talent of gold that King Hiram gave Solomon was worth approximately 125 pounds. Thus, he gave Solomon 15,000 pounds of gold. In exchange, Solomon gave the pagan king 20 cities in Galilee, located in the northern Promised Land. God previously gave this territory to the tribe of Asher, and Solomon had no right to give it away. King Hiram also was not pleased with his gift. The cities that Solomon gave him were not worth the gold that he gave Solomon. It is believed that these towns were in a mountainous region and would not have produced much food. Possibly under the motivation of the Holy Spirit to preserve Asher’s promised inheritance, Hiram later returned these 20 cities back to the Jews (2 Chr. 8:2). This may have been through God’s grace in restoring parts of the Promised Land that Solomon should not have given away.

Solomon deceives Hiram1

  • Have integrity in your dealings with others. Some might interpret these passages to suggest that Solomon was a “shrewd” businessman. Yet, the end result left King Hiram feeling that his God-believing friend had deceived him. Solomon may have obtained more gold than the land was worth. Yet, he caused God to be reflected in a negative light to a pagan king who was seeking to serve God. God later condemned one of last kings of ancient Judah for his “dishonest gain” (Jer. 22:17). Unlike Solomon’s deception with Hiram, you are called upon to be holy in your dealings with others (Lev. 11:44; 19:2; Ex. 22:31; 1 Pet. 1:16). Jesus is the light of the world today (Jo. 8:12). His light burns inside you as a beacon for those around you (Matt. 5:14). In turn, you are commanded to share the hope that lies within you (1 Pet. 3:15; Matt. 28:19-20). You are also an “ambassador” for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Are you a holy witness to the light of Jesus?

  • Out of grace, God blessed the Jews with both peace and expanded civil developments. Out of grace, God blessed Solomon with peace (1 Chr. 22:9). In the book of Kings, no battles are attributed to him. Here, however, the Bible reveals that he fought and prevailed in a battle at a “Hamath-zobah,” a territory in Syria near Damascus that rebelled after David subdued it (2 Chr. 8:3). He then reigned with peace for the rest of the remainder of his time as king: “For he had dominion over everything west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had peace on all sides around about him.” (1 Kgs. 4:24). In addition to the Temple and his own palace, Solomon built seven fortified cities or structures. First, he built up Jerusalem. This included a “Millo” (either a valley with landfill or a terraced hillside) around Jerusalem and a wall to protect it (1 Kgs. 9:15). Second, he built the fortified city of Hazor, located north of the Sea of Galilee. It protected the entrance into Israel from Syria and Mesopotamia. Third, he built the fortified city was Megiddo, which defended a mountain pass in the Carmel Mountains from the coastal route to Egypt. This place foreshadowed the future battle of Armageddon where Jesus will defeat the forces of the antichrist (Rev. 16:16). Fourth, he built the city was Gezer, which was 20 miles west of Jerusalem and also protected the approach to the city. The Pharaoh defeated Gezer and gave it as a dowry for his daughter and his alliance with Solomon. Solomon may have built it to honor his pagan wife (1 Kgs. 9:16-17; 3:1). Fifth, he built Tadmor, (2 Chr. 8:4), which was located approximately 16 miles southwest of the Dead Sea on the eastern border (1 Kgs. 9:18; Ezek. 47:19; 48:28). Sixth, he built the city of Beth-horon (2 Chr. 8:5), which was approximately 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 9:17). Finally, he built Baalath in the land of Dan (2 Chr. 8:6). These seven cities stored food for the people (1 Kgs. 9:19; 2 Chr. 17:12; 32:28). He also used these fortified cities to garrison a large army with both chariots and horses to protect against foreign invaders (1 Kgs. 9:19).

2. Compromise: A Spirit-Led Leader Does Not Compromise in His Walk. 2 Chr. 8:7-8.

  • The remaining Canaanites become servants of Solomon for Solomon’s cities. Solomon used captured Canaanites as forced laborers to build his fortified cities and other projects: “All of the people who were left of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel, namely, from their descendants who were left after them in the land whom the sons of Israel had not destroyed, them Solomon raised as forced laborers to this day.” (2 Chr. 8:7-8; 1 Kgs. 9:15-21). Solomon turned to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites (who had pledged their allegiance to Israel) into forced laborers (1 Kgs. 9:20-21). Solomon used many of these servants in building the Temple: “15 Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, 16 besides Solomon’s 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. 17 Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones. 18 So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house.” (1 Kgs. 5:15-18). God, however, did not allow His people to turn the Jews into slaves. Solomon likely turned the remaining Canaanites into slaves to get around this prohibition (Ex. 21:2-11; Lev. 25:44-46; Dt. 15:12-18). Yet, this was a compromise of God’s Word. Jesus came to free the oppressed (Lk. 4:18; Is. 49:9). Thus, He does not want His people to oppress others.

  • Make no provision for the flesh. God warned the Jews not to allow the Canaanites to remain in the Promised Land (Josh. 17:11-13). He also warned the Jews not to make peace with the people of Canaan because of the threat that they would pose to the Jews if they lived with the Jews (Nu. 33:52-56; Dt. 7:1-2; 20:16-18). As a result of their disobedience, the Jews adopted the pagan practices of the Canaanites. After God later removed His protection, Israel would be swept away by their enemies (2 Kgs. 17:7-23). The Kingdom of Judah would then be swept away as well. Like the Canaanites, your flesh is also at war with the Spirit for control of your body. Like the Jews, you must make no provision for the flesh: “. . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Ro. 13:14). “Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God . . .” (Ro. 8:7). The lusts of the flesh can also defile you (Mk. 7:20). When you give into the lusts of the flesh, you let the ruler of this world control you: “[T]he lust of the flesh . .. is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 Jo. 2:16; Ro. 8:8). Moreover, without Christ, “. . . flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 15:50; Ro. 8:6, 13). “[O]ne who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption . . .” (Gal. 6:8). Are you seeking the Lord each day to renew your mind and repent of any evil desires? (Ro. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:15).

3. Trust: A Spirit-Led Leader Places His Trust in God, Not in Himself. 2 Chr. 8:9-10.

  • Solomon builds a large Jewish army to deter foreign invaders. Solomon turned to the Jews to serve as soldiers in his large standing army and to manage his many laborers: “But Solomon did not make slaves for his work from the sons of Israel; they were men of war, his chief captains and commanders of his chariots and his horsemen. 10 These were the chief officers of King Solomon, two hundred and fifty who ruled over the people.” (2 Chr. 8:9-10; 1 Kgs. 9:22-23). Solomon did not violate the law by turning his own people into bond servants (Lev. 25:39). Yet, through his taxes and his conscription requirements, the Jews paid with their treasure, blood, and resources to build Solomon’s large standing army to deter foreign invaders. “Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men.” (1 Kgs. 5:13). “Your father [Solomon] made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kgs. 12:4). Solomon also used the Jews as supervisors for his many laborers and his many soldiers. Depending upon their rank, the officers oversaw laborers or soldiers composed of groups of 250, 300, or 550 men (1 Kgs. 9:23; 2 Chr. 8:10; 2:18). Many people place their trust in strong leaders or governments. But you should place your trust in God.

  • Place your trust in God’s strength, not your own strength. Although God blessed Solomon with peace (1 Kgs. 4:25), Solomon failed to fully place his trust in God. To preserve the peace, Solomon accumulated a large number of horses and chariots (1 Kgs. 4:26; 2 Chron. 9:25). He also used his “storage cities” as garrisons “for his chariots and cities for his horsemen.” (2 Chr. 8:6; 1 Kgs. 9:19). Although this might have seemed wise based upon worldly logic, the accumulation of too many horses and chariots violated God’s law: “16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’” (Dt. 17:16). David also warned: “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.” (Ps. 20:7). “A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.” (Ps. 33:17). Solomon also later warned others from his errors: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” (Prov. 28:26). Solomon showed a lack of trust in God when he acquired too much power. This in turn caused him to feel less dependent upon God and more willing to sin. Have you placed your trust in God or in your own abilities?

4. Separation: A Spirit-Led Leader Keeps His Worship Separate and Holy. 2 Chr. 8:11.

  • Solomon separates his pagan wife. Although Solomon had become distracted by his wealth and power, he still kept his pagan wife’s home separate: “11 Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which 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 where the ark of the Lord has entered.’” (2 Chr. 8:11). “Then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem.” (1 Kgs. 3:1). Because Solomon’s pagan princess from Egypt had not become a convert to Yahweh, he kept her home separate from the worship and sacrifices to Yahweh: “His house where he was to live, the other court inward from the hall, was of the same workmanship. He also made a house like this hall for Pharaoh's daughter, whom Solomon had married.” (1 Kgs. 7:8). But Solomon’s mixed allegiances would not last. At a later point, he would build pagan places of worship for his foreign wives (1 Kgs. 7:2-8).

Solomon built a separate house for Pharaoh’s daughter2

  • Failing to stay separate from unholy things will corrupt your walk with God. Solomon believed that it was fine to worship God and have multiple wives, including pagan ones. Yet, it violated God’s law for a king to have multiple wives: “17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; . . ..” (Dt. 17:17(a)). Even though Solomon was the wisest man alive (1 Kgs. 4:30), his coveting led him to take 700 wives and 300 concubines. These lusts for the flesh led him astray (1 Kgs. 11:3). His lusts also turned his heart away from God: “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kgs. 11:4). He then began to serve other gods and did evil in God’s eyes (1 Kgs. 11:5-6). Have you kept yourself separate from evil influences in your life? Who are you accountable to in your walk with Jesus?

  • Do not be unequally yoked. God’s laws are not a burden. Instead, they protect you from harm. In this case, God’s law existed in part to keep the king from being unequally yoked: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” (Dt. 22:10; 2 Cor. 6:14; Ezra 9:2). If Solomon had kept boundaries and obeyed God’s law, he would not have been corrupted in his worship and his walk with God. Have you guarded your heart from being unequally yoked with your friends, romantic interests, and business partners?

  • Be holy and be consecrated for God at all times. God calls upon every believer to walk in holiness and righteousness: “you . . . are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood . . .” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As part of God’s nation of priests, you are meant to be a light to the lost: “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14(a)). To be a light, however, you must be holy: “‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44; 19:2; Ex. 22:31). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48; Jam. 4:17). Are you living a holy lifestyle and serving as a light to others?

5. Obedience: A Spirit-Led Leader Seeks Obedience Over Sacrifices. 2 Chr. 8:12-13.

  • Solomon observed the three yearly feasts to God. Although Solomon had become increasingly distracted by his wealth and power, he kept God’s appointed feasts. Yet, these outward acts of piety would not be enough to keep him on his walk: “12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of the Lord which he had built before the porch; 13 and did so according to the daily rule, offering them up according to the commandment of Moses, for the sabbaths, the new moons and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths.” (2 Chr. 8:12-13). At this point, Solomon still observed the three yearly feasts and sacrifices in Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 9:25; Dt. 16:1-17). These included the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Tabernacles: “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. ‘Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.”’ (Ex. 23:14-17; 34:22-23; Dt. 16:16). He also observed the daily sacrifices that God required (Nu. 28:1-10). But his walk would soon be corrupted.

  • God desires obedience more than sacrifice. When the Jews turned the festivals into rituals or obligations, God said that He “hated” them: “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Is. 1:14). God wanted Solomon’s obedience more than their sacrifices. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17). If you are trying to impress God with your acts while rebelling, He will not be impressed.

  • Obey God’s Word out of love, not obligation. Before Solomon became king, David urged him to obey God’s Word: “observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.” (1 Chr. 28:5-8). Obedience was a command that Moses also gave frequently (e.g., Dt. 6:3-4; 9:1; 20:3). Joshua also encouraged the Jews to be strong and courageous when doing God’s work (Josh. 1:7). Joshua and Moses knew that the purpose behind the Law might not always appear clear at the time. They were required to be obedient out of love, not obligation. God’s thoughts and His ways are greater than our own (Is. 55:8). Today, Christians are not “under the law” in the sense that they must comply with it to be saved (Gal. 5:18; Ro. 7:6; 8:3). By “fulfilling” the law, Jesus freed us from the impossible task of trying to obtain salvation through the law (Matt. 5:17). Jesus is the great “I AM” who gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14). Although not a salvation test, He reveals that you will keep His Commandments out of love to Him: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). Do you obey God’s Word out of love or out of obligation?

  • The festivals are an opportunity to celebrate Jesus out of love. Although the Jews did not understand it at the time, all of these festivals foreshadowed Jesus (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1). Each festival was a “holy convocation” or rehearsal for Jesus (Lev. 23:2). Every believer today is part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). We are freed from any legal obligation to follow these festivals (Col. 2:16-17). These festivals might be thought of today as a wedding anniversary or a birthday. No one is obligated to remember a person on an anniversary or a birthday. Instead, observing a wedding anniversary or a birthday is a way to tell a loved one that you care. The same was true with God’s festivals. They were meant to honor Him. If you wish to honor Jesus as one of His priests on the correct holiday anniversaries that mark important days in His life, the festivals tell you when and how to remember Him.

6. Accountability: A Spirit-Led Leader Is Accountable to Others. 2 Chr. 8:14-16.

  • Solomon observes David’s ordinances for the priesthood. Solomon’s initial obedience included following David’s Spirit-led rules for administering worship and sacrifices in the Temple: “14 Now according to the ordinance of his father David, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their duties of praise and ministering before the priests according to the daily rule, and the gatekeepers by their divisions at every gate; for David the man of God had so commanded. 15 And they did not depart from the commandment of the king to the priests and Levites in any manner or concerning the storehouses. 16 Thus all the work of Solomon was carried out from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord, and until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed.” (2 Chr. 8:14-16). God blessed Solomon with the wisdom needed to rule Israel (1 Kgs. 3:3-12). This included following David’s reforms to ensure that the priesthood led Israel in its sacrifices and worship (1 Chr. 24). On the outside, everything seemed perfect. But Solomon did not hold himself accountable to his priests.

  • Be accountable for your actions. God spared David’s life after the prophet Nathan confronted him, and David repented for his sins of adultery, deceit, and murder (2 Sam. 12:13). Unlike David, Solomon did not have a Nathan in his life. Like David and unlike Solomon, God wants believers to be transparent and accountable to each other to ensure that members of the Body of Christ stay strong in the face of temptation. Believers are commanded to “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;” (1 Pet. 5:2). “Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’” (Jo. 21:17). “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28). “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15). “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds;” (Prov. 27:23). “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” (Eph. 5:21). “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; . . .” (1 Pet. 5:5). Every believer in Christ is part of His Holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6). Thus, you should be a Nathan to others. And, there should be Nathans in your life. Are you transparent and accountable before a small group of believers in your church?

7. Covetousness: A Spirit-Led Leader Does Not Covet Wealth. 2 Chr. 8:17-18.

  • Solomon receives tribute from foreign lands. Solomon’s worship, however, was overshadowed by his accumulation of wealth: “17 Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and to Eloth on the seashore in the land of Edom. 18 And Huram by his servants sent him ships and servants who knew the sea; and they went with Solomon’s servants to Ophir, and took from there four hundred and fifty talents of gold and brought them to King Solomon.” (2 Chr. 8:17-18). In 1 Kings, the Bible describes how Solomon built a “fleet of ships” and a Red Sea port as part of his large trading empire: “26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships in Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. 27 And Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, sailors who knew the sea, along with the servants of Solomon. 28 They went to Ophir and took four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon.” (1 Kgs. 9:26-28). Solomon’s Red Sea navy was based at Ezion-geber, located at the northern tip of the Gulf of Acaba (1 Kgs. 9:26). King Hiram’s Phoenician navy assisted Solomon as they brought gold back from far away places like Ophir, which was most likely located in southwestern Arabia (1 Kgs. 9:28; 10:11; Job 22:24; 28:16). It is also known through archeology that the Jews reached as far as India in their trade and exploration. The means to explore and trade was a result of God’s blessings. The wealth that the Jews acquired was meant for them to become a light to the nations around them (Is. 42:6).

Solomon receives tributes from foreign lands3

  • A Spirit-led leader must never use God’s blessings to covet wealth. Although Israel’s wealth was a God-given blessing, Solomon failed to guard his heart from covetousness. It is not by itself a sin for a leader like Solomon to acquire wealth. It is only a sin if the leader’s love of money leads to coveting (1 Tim. 6:10). A Spirit-led leader must therefore be content with what he or she has. He or she must never seek to enrich himself or herself through his or her leadership for God (Dt. 17:17(b)). Coveting violates the Tenth Commandment (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21). Coveting also defiles you: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, . . . deeds of coveting . . . All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mk. 7:21-23). Coveting is also one of the leading reasons for a leader to rebel (Isa. 1:23). Those who “covet” are further disqualified from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:3-6). From his mistakes, Solomon later wrote: “give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say who is the Lord?” (Prov. 30:8-9). “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.” (Prov. 28:22). “A faithful man will have many blessings, but one in a hurry to get rich will not go unpunished.” (Prov. 28:20). A leader who covets can never satisfy his desires by giving into those desires. He will always want more power (Hab. 2:5). If God has blessed you, do you covet more money or power?

  • God’s wisdom is worth more than any earthly treasure. Solomon learned that God’s wisdom is worth more than wealth. “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Prov. 16:16). “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.” (Prov. 3:13-15; 8:19). Do you seek out riches, power, and respect? Or, do you seek God’s wisdom?