We pray for these things, and I've noticed over the years, some people get the prayer granted from God and then feel guilty. Say, you know, I don't deserve it. Just be quiet.
Stop that. You ask the Lord, he bless you. Now, now, make it serve the Lord.
That's how you respond to the blessings of God, by trying to make it work for the kingdom rather than, you know, letting the devil get in your head and making you feel guilty for being blessed. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of 1 Kings. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio.
Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of 1 Kings, Chapter 4, as he begins his message, Organization and Temple Preparation. 1 Kings, Chapter 4 this evening. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon are all authored by Solomon and are, to me, spiritually exciting. I enjoy reading them. But the life of Solomon is kind of boring to me. I mean, he's the character that you tolerate but you don't really admire unless, you know, wealth and power is something that is of interest to you. When going through the life of Solomon, I look forward to references to David. It perks me up.
And that's not to say there are not gems from his life, spiritually speaking. But overall, I'm looking forward to Chapter 13. And what I'm saying to you is that these two chapters that hopefully will get four and five, I think they're kind of boring. And I hope, you say, no really, they are boring but you did such an amazing job. Anyway, I'll try not to bog us down with the details but the title, Organization and Temple Preparation.
It's a long title but that's what we're considering. And looking at verse 1, so King Solomon was king over all Israel and these were his officials. Azariah the son of Zadok the priest.
We'll pause there with that character. So here in verses 1 and 2, Solomon is organizing his kingdom and he does a good job at it. His government is characterized by order and prosperity and growth. He gathered around him the right people, a company of men to oversee the kingdom. And when I say the right people, I mean the right people to bring about what he wanted.
It doesn't last, of course. Each of these overseers and their various departments have their responsibilities and are very efficient. The first one up, Azariah, is a priest and he seems to be the prime minister under Solomon. Of course, Solomon is over all of it. And in spite of Solomon's future failure, he began serving the Lord. There were pockets of disobedience already there.
You know, sort of like loose chains jingling around. We covered that with him marrying into the Pharaoh's family and just multiplying horses and other things. But still he loved the Lord and it was very pronounced. But no one could seriously say that Solomon, you served the Lord just like your father.
That would not have been accurate and everyone would have saw through that. Azariah, the son of Zadok, the priest, he's a priest but he seems to be in the position of prime minister. In verse 3, we have mention of the scribes and the recorder. Well, David had one scribe, Solomon is said to have had two listed here. And they are sons of David's scribe and it's because the kingdom is expanding and it's very much, very larger, just a totally different kingdom than what David had. Solomon would have gained none of this had it not been for David. The peace that Solomon enjoyed is because David took it on the battlefield. And the treasures that Solomon enjoyed was because David took it on the battlefield and left it all to him and he left it to Solomon in front of everybody. And this gets exciting when we get to chapter 5 and we start quoting David.
It really just takes the whole consideration in a different direction. But the scribes, they kept important records. I mean, even in a business you have to have minutes to track, well what did we say?
What did we agree on? Look up things in the past and the scribes would be there for that and recorder were the ones that were able to retrieve the records. Much of what we have in the Old Testament, in the times of the kings, comes from the research of the authors, the writers, who could access some of the public records.
Because you just say, well how else could he have gotten that information unless there was some record of it preserved somewhere. Anyway, the scribe, more than a copyist, the recorder, high position, high positioned clerks, and in charge of keeping the king's records. In verse 4, Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, over the army Zadok and Abiathar, the priest. Zadok is a high priest, Abiathar was co-high priest, but as we discussed in past sessions, he was deposed because of his plottings with the enemies of Solomon, his brother Adonijah. And when Solomon comes to the throne, this plot is of course underway and they overcome it. Abiathar may have retained the title out of honor to having been the high priest as we do with past presidents.
They still are referred to as, you don't refer to a past president as Mr., the proper title is Mr. President. So anyway, verse 5, Azariah the son of Nathan, over officers Zebud. There's a name for you moms, to name a boy. Zebud, the son of Nathan, a priest, and the king's friend.
Say, bud, how you doing? You get a whole sentence, right? Oh, anyway. Azariah, the son of Nathan.
We were quick to think, okay, he's Nathan the prophet, but I'm not convinced that Nathan was a popular name amongst the Jews. Azariah is the chief of staff and Zebud is the king's friend, which is kind of neat because we all need friends. You can't be so removed from everybody, but you can't have a friend.
Well, it's not advisable. Who doesn't enjoy somebody that they can just relax with and have a free conversation and not end up in a contest or a debate? They let you have your opinion and they respect that and vice versa. Anyway, the reason why I don't think that Azariah is the son of Nathan the prophet, nor is Zebud necessarily the son of, this is impossible to tell because we don't have the information, but whenever Nathan shows up, his name, if it is Nathan the prophet, we are told it is Nathan the prophet. And I think that it would have been remiss for the writer to leave that out if this was the prophet Nathan.
And you're probably saying, okay, we got it. Anyway, verse 6, over the household, he's appointing these men and over the labor force, the king's household is his residence, the king's palace and his belongings and his, you know, wardrobe and over the servants, the butlers and the maids, the landscapers, he would oversee all of that. The labor force was really a tax on the people in the form of using forced labor. There were some that was not forced, but much of it was. We'll get to that in chapter 5 because that was very much part of building the temple of God. The Jews, many of the Jews were forced into that. They were in a rotation. And then there were non-Jews that were also serving in the kingdom.
They're building projects all over the place. It was not just the temple and the palace of Solomon being built. There were other things. In the days of Abraham, at least when I read Abraham, I get the feeling that Abraham was just free from government. There were no restrictions anybody had on Abraham. There was the threat of being attacked by brigands, groups of, but life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness seems to have characterized the days of Abraham.
But those days are gone and they're not coming back. The next time we will really have life, liberty and the pursuit of holiness is when the Lord comes to reign. Verse 7, and Solomon had 12 governors over all Israel who provided food for the king and his household. Each one made provision for one month of the year. And so Solomon divides Israel into 12 districts, not the 12 tribes though. This is distinct from the 12 tribes. He's probably making an attempt to decentralize the land from tribal rule and the nepotism that goes with that.
It doesn't work if that's what he had in mind. He puts these men over various districts over all Israel to make sure that the king receives the support necessary to run the palace and parts of the government. They would impose the taxes and they would collect them. You're younger Christians, taxes may not be important to you yet.
But it's coming, especially when that personal property tax goes up for your spanking new or used car. Anyway, at Solomon's death, of course, it leads to the divide, springs back to tribal rule. I'm not saying he's right or wrong, although history says that he didn't, that was a mistake. Judah got some exceptions. Samuel, way back in 1 Samuel 8, Samuel warned, he says when you want a king, you want a king like all the other nations, when you get one, he's going to take, take, take, take six times. In that one little paragraph, Samuel emphasizes he's going to take your sons, he's going to take your daughters, he's going to take your grands, and this is what we're seeing here in Solomon.
One of the big downsides about Solomon is the heavy financial tax that he placed on everyone. Verse 8, these are the names of these district leaders, and we're only going to take one, Ben-Hur in the mountains of Ephraim, now not the Ben-Hur from the film. The word Ben is son, and so he's son of Hur, which is true of all of men after Adam. All men are sons of Hur, and you just fill in the blank which particular Hur.
Anyway, it is not the Ben-Hur from the movie. In verse 11, we read of Solomon's daughter given as wife. Well, when Solomon came to the throne, he only had one child, a young child at the time, so this tells, this is a time stamp, tells us that this is probably 15 years or so into his, or more, reign, and now he's, you know, using his daughter. I don't want to, this is how they did it. It's not necessarily something that's negative, but he's taking his son-in-law and giving him a position over one of these territories.
He'll do it again. This supply system is, again, something that's a little later. Verse 12, we read of Zaratan below Jezreel. That's the city where the bronze vessels for the temple will be cast. It's just on the east side of Jordan, and you'll probably go, oh, I was wondering about that. Zaratan, yeah, yeah, rings a bell.
Is it a bronze bell? Verse 13, we read 60 large cities with walls and bronze gates where he mentions that these other places here, Moses defeated these cities in Deuteronomy 3, that story is. We move down to verse 15, the daughter of Solomon again, another daughter, another son-in-law made an overseer of a territory. Now we move to verse 19, in the land of Gilead in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og of Bashan. Again, Moses defeated these leaders, Numbers 21 and Deuteronomy 2-3. So today, when I moved to Richmond, I noticed there were civil war sites all over the place.
I was surprised to find one from the Revolutionary War. But in Israel, it's the same thing. Every village, every town has some biblical connection, which makes it exciting.
Well, that's why we just stopped off there. Verse 20 now, Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand of the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. So a booming economy in the Promised Land, as promised by God to Abraham's descendants in Genesis 22. Ecclesiastes, I think this is an important verse for some of us. Ecclesiastes 9-7, Solomon wrote, Go eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already accepted your works.
And I've mentioned this before from time to time. You know, we pray. We ask, God, can you maybe get me a job? Can you increase my income? When I was working in the world, I remember one period of time, Lord, I need more finances. And I would get overtime.
It was just like, man, this is great. Maybe I should raise the standard some. But anyway, we pray for these things.
And I've noticed over the years, some people get the prayer granted from God and then feel guilty. You know, I don't deserve it. Just be quiet.
Stop that. You ask the Lord, He bless you now. Now make it serve the Lord. That's how you respond to the blessings of God, by trying to make it work for the kingdom rather than, you know, letting the devil get in your head and making you feel guilty for being blessed. By that thinking, we should all move to Tibet or some place that's remote and doesn't have bathrooms, in-houses, rules. I mean, not all Tibet is like that, but the parts I'm thinking about from the documentary I was watching, I wouldn't want to live there.
And then there's the earthquakes and the, you know, buildings on that. So anyway, you know, it's not how, like a lily among thorns, we grow where we are planted and serve the Lord. So I hope that helps anyone who's prone to feeling guilty for being blessed by the Lord. We feel guilt when we have done wrong. There's nothing wrong with being blessed by the Lord. And that's what that proverb is saying.
Go eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already accepted your works. Verse 21 now, so Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life. Well, Israel never possessed all of her boundaries, but she did subdue them and subjected those kingdoms to tribute, to pay to the king, in this case, Solomon.
And that is what we're looking at. They brought tribute. That's payment brought from a lesser kingdom to a larger kingdom, a lesser power to a governing power. Verse 22, so Solomon, now Solomon, Solomon's provisions for one day was 30 cores of fine flour, 60 cores of meal, 10 fatted oxen. Well, let's pause there before we do verse 23, back to verse 22.
A core is a normal load for a donkey. So, a full donkey, 30 full donkeys of fine flour each day was consumed by Solomon. And that's what those overseers were making sure was being funneled into the kingdom from the people. As Samuel had warned, verse 23, 10 fatted oxen, 20 oxen from the pastures and 100 sheep. Besides, dear gazelles, robux, that would be seers and robux, and fatted fowl, for he had dominion over all the region on this side of the river from Tifsah, even to Gaza, namely over all the kings on this side of the river, and he had peace on every side all around him. Verse 25, and Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan to as far as Bathsheba, all the days of Solomon. So, wealth and supplies pouring in, caravans constantly coming into Jerusalem just to support the king and the staff and the military, which was huge by this point. The days of the nation's greatest material prosperity at this point. It took two kings to get them here, David and Solomon.
Saul contributed nothing to this. And Solomon would reign for 40 years, 40 years of this. Verse 26, Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen.
Well, a lot of the commentators, whenever they get to big numbers and sometimes even miracles, they look to walk it back, and I think that's a mistake. I don't doubt the accuracy of this number at all, 40,000 stalls, and here's what I'll base it off of. At the start of the Civil War, the northern states had over three and a half million horses. The guy counting them was hoarse by the time he was done.
100,000! Anyway, the Confederate states had 1.7 million horses, and somebody keeping records of these things, probably tax-related. Anyway, in July of 1861, the two armies were nearly equal in strength with less than 200,000 soldiers.
At the peak of their troop strength in 1863, Union soldiers outnumbered Confederate soldiers by a ratio of two to one. The size of the Union forces in January of 1863 was over 600,000. So you have 600,000 troops on active duty and over three million horses. Well, David's standing army was almost 300,000. With the militia, it was over a million and a half.
So he's got a larger amount of troops. I don't have any problem. The 40,000 stalls for horses compared to the millions in the days of the Civil War, I don't see any problem with that. So that's my take on it to those commentators. Some of them are okay, but let's just have them in mind. Sometimes you buy a commentary, and when you read a verse, the commentator gives you four other views than he will give you his view, and I detest that. I bought the book with your name. I want to hear what you have to say. If I wanted that guy's opinion, I'd go get his book. So there's this war that's going on all the time in some of these commentaries. The more intellectual they feel, the more they have to debate another scholar. And I try not to bring that into the pulpit like I'm doing right now.
That's where that comes from. It kind of grates on you sometimes. That guy, he's wrong. He's wrong, and I'm going to tell everybody. So anyway, coming back to this. In the early days, it used to really bug me. I'm not reading that guy anymore. I disagree with him, and I've grown up a little bit since then, and now I just, I don't agree with him, and I'm better than him.
Alright, back to reality. Verse 28, well, 27. And these governors, each man in his month, provided food for King Solomon and for all who came to King Solomon's table. There was no lack in their supply, and the Queen of Sheba will find that out.
This had to have just been amazing, and we know it was, because God blessed this man with wealth and wisdom. The conquered nations, they knew this was tribute to the king. They were subjects, and they would not have had too much of a problem. They would like to have not paid, but what are they going to do?
They would accept it. The Jews from the tribes, however, they resented this, and that comes out in chapter 12 when they go to Rehoboam and say, hey, you need to lessen the burden on us with these taxes, you're killing us. And that caused the split. The revolt, verse 28. They also brought barley and straw to the proper place for the horses, the steeds, each man according to his charge.
Well, they've got to feed them. And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding and largeness of heart like the sand of the seashore. So here's the spiritual feature that, you know, I do at least, I get excited about. The Cores on Donkeys and stuff like that, you know, I know it's part of it, but it just, you know, doesn't excite me when reading. Extraordinary insight the man had because it was a gift from God to him.
There was nothing in him that could have gotten the man to the level of insight that he did reach. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of First Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know, please visit Cross Reference Radio dot com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit Cross Reference Radio dot com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's Cross Reference Radio dot com. Our time with you today is about up, but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of First Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
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