1 Kings 7:1-12 – 13 Years vs. 7 Years: Solomon Shows Us What He Thinks Is Important

Posted: November 14, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 7:1-12
Solomon Builds His Palace

In business, they call it vision creep or vision slippage. It’s when a company loses sight of what has been the central driving force behind their business for years. You often see it in businesses that begin to branch out into businesses that are not in line with the company’s expertise. Sometimes, you see companies buy other companies without checking out the corporate culture of the company that they are buying and as a result allow different values to become part of the bloodstream of the company. You sometimes see companies get so inward focused that procedures become more important than business opportunities and the company slowly dies.

In churches, too, we are not immune. In older, traditional churches, have you ever been a part of churches where the color of the carpet in the sanctuary that they are about to purchase will literally rip the church apart? Have you ever been a part of a church where who is serving on what committee is causing friction and people leave the church over it? But newer, more modern churches can lose sight of vision of church too. They can become too centered around their mega-church high profile pastor. They can become focused on “being cool”, on being “relevant” and on in touch with people where they are at. In these cases, often, discipleship is the first thing that suffers and church can become about it being a production, a rock concert, featuring a hip motivational speaker.

Churches, both old style and new style, can lose the vision, have vision slippage, and allow things that are not in line with the vision to become part of the bloodstream of the church. The main thing. The reason we are “in business” in the church can become a sidelight. The main thing – going and making fully devoted and spiritually developed disciples of Jesus Christ who are His gospel representatives where they live, work and play – must remain the main thing for a church to be what Jesus envisioned. Just as a business must measure everything by its vision statement so too should we as churches measure everything we do as to whether it is about leading people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and, once saved, leading them to deeper and deeper relationships with Him.

That was the thing that struck me this morning as I read about Solomon’s Palace. It was not the intricate descriptions of the construction or the detail about its fixtures but rather the fact that it took him almost twice as long to construct the palace as it did to construct the Temple. He paid more attention and took more time on the palace. It is kind of an indication as to what was most important to Solomon though in a subtle way. His focus was more what was “all about him” than it was about glorifying God. It reminded me of how in corporations, we can lose focus on “what got us here”. It also reminded me too that churches can lose sight of their core business too – bringing people to the cross of salvation and leading them to deeper relationships with Jesus. With that idea in mind, let us read this passage now:

Chapter 7
1 Solomon also built a palace for himself, and it took him thirteen years to complete the construction.

2 One of Solomon’s buildings was called the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. It was 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[a] There were four rows of cedar pillars, and great cedar beams rested on the pillars. 3 The hall had a cedar roof. Above the beams on the pillars were forty-five side rooms,[b] arranged in three tiers of fifteen each. 4 On each end of the long hall were three rows of windows facing each other. 5 All the doorways and doorposts[c] had rectangular frames and were arranged in sets of three, facing each other.

6 Solomon also built the Hall of Pillars, which was 75 feet long and 45 feet wide.[d] There was a porch in front, along with a canopy supported by pillars.

7 Solomon also built the throne room, known as the Hall of Justice, where he sat to hear legal matters. It was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling.[e] 8 Solomon’s living quarters surrounded a courtyard behind this hall, and they were constructed the same way. He also built similar living quarters for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.

9 From foundation to eaves, all these buildings were built from huge blocks of high-quality stone, cut with saws and trimmed to exact measure on all sides. 10 Some of the huge foundation stones were 15 feet long, and some were 12 feet[f] long. 11 The blocks of high-quality stone used in the walls were also cut to measure, and cedar beams were also used. 12 The walls of the great courtyard were built so that there was one layer of cedar beams between every three layers of finished stone, just like the walls of the inner courtyard of the Lord’s Temple with its entry room.

In this passage, there is certainly a lot of detail about the palace dimensions and the content of its construction. However, the most striking thing is right at the beginning of the passage in the first verse. That Solomon took longer to build his palace than it took to build the Temple (13 years vs. 7 years) gives us an early glimpse at his weakening value system. As well, in the eighth verse, you will note that he had married the Pharaoh’s daughter. Although it was a politically savvy move to marry the daughter of another nation’s king to solidify an alliance with that country, it did bring pagan religious beliefs right into the heart of Israel.

That’s the thing that we should take away today is that as Christ followers, we have one job – to glorify God by sharing the gospel with the world around us. If we get caught up in fights about the color of the carpet, or about whose family name is going to be on a classroom, or about who is serving on a committee, or any of a number of things that traditional churches can sometimes bicker about, we have lost our way, we have lost the vision, the central core of our reason for being – to be the light of the gospel message to the dark world around us. If we are a modern mega-church, we can get off course when we treat our rock star nationally popular pastor instead of Jesus Christ. If we worship the light shows and production values of Sunday morning and Jesus is just someone to follow because he is cool, we have lost focus on the vision.

Then we look at ourselves in our personal walk with Jesus, we must examine what we are making important. Is Jesus the most important thing in our lives? Do we allow other things to become more important? Like our jobs, our spouse, our kids, our extracurricular activities? Are we spending time with God? Do we study God’s Word or do we squeeze His Word in when we have time? Do we give God the firstfruits of our income or do we give Him what is left over? Let us each one examine how we spend our time each week. Are we like Solomon where we spend twice as much time on personal pursuits as we do pursuing God?

Amen and Amen.

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