We have left the life of David and now begin the procession of kings who followed his line. Solomon is the first, and last to rule the united Israel.
I know I skipped ahead with that last phrase. We will come to the point of division a while later. For today we look at the beginning of his reign.
Solomon started his reign with sacrifices to the Lord at the Tabernacle. He went to the place God had established for his people. David generally went to the Tent he set up for the Ark of the Lord. They were NOT together. The Tabernacle was in Gibeon and the Ark was in Jerusalem.
I often wonder why David didn’t reunite to two when he brought the Ark back to the people. He could have brought the Tabernacle to Jerusalem or brought the Ark to Gibeon. But he didn’t. Instead he brought the Ark to where it was easily accessible to him; to the town where he lived. I should probably get back on track now.
We are not told how long after David died that Solomon made this trip. It could have been right away or taken place a while after taking the throne. It could also have been right after he was anointed by the people. Whenever it happened, Solomon made a grand gesture to the Lord and before the people.
Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar that day. I don’t know if this was 1,000 animals killed and piled on the altar together or one after another and another all day long. Was each offered with the full ceremony for it alone, or was it one prayer offered for all? Was there a specific prayer for each of them or did they share in meaning to the Lord?
Was this burnt offering one that God consumed completely or one that the people shared it? I imagine that there was quite a celebration regardless of what happened with this meat.
I started to wonder if Solomon’s extravagant offering was out of love for the Lord or to persuade the people of his relationship with God. Was he showing off before the people, trying to convince them that he was just as tightly connected to the God of Israel? Or was his heart in EVERY LAST ONE of the sacrifices offered? Did he renew his commitment to the Lord and rejoice with each offering or was he focusing on the form of each sacrifice? Or was there an in between place for him?
When I was thinking about this I was brought back to a song I was singing this morning. I was singing Praise Ye the Lord. I don’t know how it got started in my mind and heart but I was singing it with joy! It is one of those songs that doesn’t really have an ending. It can go on forever if you let it. After a few times through my heart shifted and I sang it directly to God in praise. A little while later the memory of the kids I used to lead in praise popped into my head. Then I started thinking about the motions that go with this song. Next I pictured the kids doing the pop up and down motions and what they might be getting out of the song while they participated in these motions. Would their minds be so focused on the motions that their hearts weren’t really living out the words? Next I started remembering their favorite songs were the ones with the most motions. We used a LOT of sign language motions in our praise and worship with the kids. Their favorite songs were ones that had BIG motions, like the sign for glory. Then I started to wonder where their hearts, and mine, were when we sang these songs.
During all these transitions I never stopped singing the song. I must have sang it through at least ten times. When I finally ended it my husband asked me why I stopped. He wasn’t in my head and heart going through these transitions and wondering. He was simply enjoying the song. Is this what that day of sacrificing was like? Did the people’s attention wander because there were so MANY sacrifices? Or did it build like a crescendo?
I ended my song by refocusing my heart and mind on Who I was singing about and what I was singing. I wonder if Solomon and the people did the same. I PRAY the size of this sacrifice was about the depth of Solomon’s commitment and not a show of wealth. Could it have been both? A tithe and a tribute?
And now I wonder if God put this morning’s song in my heart and allowed me to go through all the steps just for today’s message. No, I had not read our passage yet. ALL the changes I went through in my mind still centered on Him. He doesn’t have ONE specific way we are to relate to Him, approach Him or even praise Him. God LOVES His children and cherishes EVERY MOMENT with them. Whether it is snuggling into His lap while He sings you to sleep, listening intently to His stories, playing a game with Him, or just sitting beside one another enjoying the view and the company. We will see tomorrow how God responded to Solomon’s time with Him. For my time today, He has touched my heart in a tender and special way.
“My child, I LOVE it when we spend time together” said my Father. “You can sing anytime you want to. And I’ll join in with you.”
Father God, THANK YOU for touching my heart today. For showing me that each step of the process of my mind today was precious to You too. Thank You for taking me through the memories. Thank You for blessing our time together.
THANK YOU AGAIN Holy Spirit for bringing me deeper into the living word of God. For speaking to my heart from Your inspired words. I would love to ask Solomon about that day. Was his heart as moved as mine is right now? I have a feeling it was. Otherwise God would not have blessed him the way You show me tomorrow.
All Hail King Jesus is ringing in my heart now.