1 Kings 9:15-28 (Part 1) – Stop! And Count Your Blessings!

Posted: December 17, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 9:15-28 (Part 1 of 2)

Solomon’s Many Achievements

Have you ever noticed that many times when we pray that we are talking to God about the things that are wrong in our lives? I am guilty of this as much as the next guy. I take my troubles to the Lord and ask for his guidance and protection through situations in my life that are difficult to deal with or situations where I just don’t have the answers. When life overwhelms me, I cry out to God to deliver me from my trouble or at least to see me through them. We complain to God … a lot! Have you noticed that? We seem to complain to Him more than anything else. I am not saying that we should not go to the Lord in prayer with the things that trouble our hearts. That’s what He wants us to do. He wants us to realize that He is bigger than any problem that we have! He really does!

But at the same time, how much time do we spend praising Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. That’s what convicted my heart this morning as I read through 1 Kings 9:15-28. Because of historical perspective, we know how the story of Solomon ends. The thing that you notice here is that there is a lot of talk about the accomplishments of Solomon but yet there is no evidence of praise to the Lord for the blessings bestowed upon Solomon and, thereby, the nation of Israel. We all cry out to God when things are bad. When we go through loss (a job, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a tough situation in your work life or personal life, you name it…), we are quick to run to God with our troubles. But when we are blessed or you are in a full season of life when you are living in blessing, how often are we humbled by the blessings of God?

That’s what I want you to think about today as we read this passage. Let’s read it now with that idea in mind:

15 This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces,[a] the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. 16 (Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon. 17 So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon, 18 Baalath, and Tamar[b] in the wilderness within his land. 19 He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses[c] could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.

20 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 21 These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed.[d] So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers to this day. 22 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. 23 Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects.

24 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces.

25 Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple.

26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath[e] in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea.[f] 27 Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons[g] of gold.

In this passage, we see that Solomon was blessed in so many ways by God. It was a great period of peace in Israel. The nation was at peace with its neighbors and was strong enough militarily to ensure that none of them would invade their country. It was a time of great stability and economic expansion. Governmental infrastructure projects were all over the place (as archaeological excavations will attest). Times were good. Solomon had a standing army that was well supplied. He even had a navy. Needless to say, this was the zenith of the political and economic power of Israel, never seen before and, after Solomon, never to be seen again. By human standards, it was a great time to king and it was a great time to be an Israelite.

What can you and I learn from this passage? The thing that struck me this morning is that we need to, as the old saying goes, “count our blessings!” Just as it is God who guides us through troubled waters and teaches us much about our faith in Him during troubled times, we, too, must understand that it is from God that our blessings come also. That is the thing that strikes me right now as I write. Just how amazingly blessed I am.

First, I am blessed that I am saved. God did not have to save a wretch like me. I am a chief among sinners. My first sin canceled my personal right to stand before God blameless and pure. Add on top of that, my lifetime of sins these past 56 years makes me a habitual criminal in eyes of the Great Judge. I cannot claim ignorance. I cannot claim that I am a first time sinner before God. He knows my rap sheet of sins more than I know them myself. But yet, He gives me grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Christ, I am saved from the sentence to hell that I deserve.

Second, He has blessed me with a great wife and wonderful children who are now grown. When I think of Elena, I think how it took a long time to get to her but I thank God that I found her. And how I found her (a blog in and of itself). He meant her for me. She is my help-meet in the way God intended. She is my complementary half. She completes me as God intended. I thank God for her. Without her, my life would not be where it is today. Her counsel in my life is invaluable. That we make God the center of our relationship is something I treasure because it was something that was not there in my previous marriages. That is a blessing of the highest order. Also, I have children who are productive citizens and are just good kids. I am blessed to have these three girls. I love them beyond measure and to have them in my life is a blessing that I can never repay God.

Third, God has seen me through, as the old hymn says, many dangers, toils and snares. Even in the worst times of my life, God has looked after me and protected me. Even when I did not think that what I was going through was useful, God has used it to shape my life and my ministry. Everything is part of God’s plan for us. In this way, we are confident even in the hard times. We can cling to his life raft in the troubled seas of life. That is a blessing beyond measure.

Fourth, He has always been on time with the provision of what I need in times of trouble and in times of need. He has never left me hanging. There have been so many times since I have accepted Jesus as my Savior that he has given a blessing just when I have needed it most. Sometimes, it’s financial. Sometimes, it is the wisdom to see things clearly that I previously had not. Sometimes, it is choosing the path that He has guided me to take when one way seems broad and the other seems narrow. A lot of people think blessings are only financial but God blesses in so many other ways and often when we need it most. He is always on time with what we need when we need it most.

Fifth, He has blessed me with a roof over my head. Sixth, He has blessed me with the wisdom to live simply and pay off my debts as much as possible and not desire what the television commercials tell me to desire. Oh the blessing that this has become. It has allowed us to bless others because of our simple lifestyle.

These are just six blessings that interact with my life every day. There are numerous others that I just don’t have time for in this blog that I write in the few minutes I have each morning before I go to work. If I had longer I could think of many more ways in which God blesses me daily.

Let us never forget that our good times and our good fortune and our good days come from God just as much as His helping us through the bad times and bad days.

Count your blessings. It will change your perspective on God’s hand in your every day life.

Amen and Amen.

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