1 Kings 10:14-29 – The Prosperity Gospel and Solomon

Posted: December 27, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 10:14-29

Solomon’s Wealth and Splendor

The prosperity gospel, as it is known in theological circles, is the current trend of certain evangelists that teaches that God wants to bless you and bestow wealth in health, finances, and family relationships. To obtain these things, you have to have the right amount of faith. If you are not being prospered by God in some way, you simply do not have enough faith. It is also marked by a compulsion to give financially to your chosen church or ministry. It is a divine payback plan when you think of it. According to the prosperity gospel, your giving will be paid back with prosperity granted by God. The more you give, the more you are blessed, according to the prosperity gospel.

The prosperity gospel is a perversion of the gospel of Jesus that claims that God rewards increases in faith with increases in health and/or wealth. As Stephen Hunt explains, In the forefront is the doctrine of the assurance of “divine” physical health and prosperity through faith. In short, this means that “health and wealth” are the automatic divine right of all Bible-believing Christians and may be procreated by faith as part of the package of salvation, since the Atonement of Christ includes not just the removal of sin, but also the removal of sickness and poverty.

One writer, David W. Jones says, “In light of Scripture, the prosperity gospel is fundamentally flawed. At bottom, it is a false gospel because of its faulty view of the relationship between God and man. Simply put, if the prosperity gospel is true, grace is obsolete, God is irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things. Whether they’re talking about the Abrahamic covenant, the atonement, giving, faith, or prayer, prosperity teachers turn the relationship between God and man into a quid pro quo transaction.”

Obviously, the danger here is that if you start suffering in some way, either in health, relationships, or in your finances, the prosperity gospel says you do not have enough faith and you are not giving enough. Your investment in God is not good enough. There is a tie-in between things going good in your life and your investment in God. Life simply does not work that way in a fallen world. There no tie-in between things going well in our lives and the amount of faith we have or the amount of money we give away.

We all can agree that the prosperity gospel is flawed theology that is rampant in our midst these days. It is appealing for sure. And passages like this one often make you scratch your head. In 1 Kings 10:14-29, we see Solomon being mightily blessed by God. If there is no prosperity gospel, then, how do we explain Solomon’s blessings. Let’s read through the passage and then think on this a bit:

14 Each year Solomon received about 25 tons[a] of gold. 15 This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land.

16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than fifteen pounds.[b] 17 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing nearly four pounds.[c] The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

18 Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps and a rounded back. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 20 There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!

21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!

22 The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish that sailed with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.[d]

23 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 24 People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 25 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.

26 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses.[e] He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.[f] 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt[g] and from Cilicia[h]; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. 29 At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver,[i] and horses for 150 pieces of silver.[j] They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

In this passage we must ask the question, “Why does the Bible place so much emphasis on Solomon’s material possessions?” In the Old Testament, riches were considered to be tangible evidence of God’s blessing. Prosperity was seen as a proof of right living. Solomon began to believe that he was the source of his own blessings. That he controlled God. That was the beginning of his downfall. In the books of Ecclesiastes and Job, this concept is placed in a broader perspective. In ideal conditions, people prosper when we submit our will to that of God and allow Him to have charge of our lives, but prosperity is not guaranteed. Wealth does not prove that a person is living right before God, and poverty does not indicate sin. In fact, it is often more evident that a person is living right before God when there is the presence of suffering and persecution (see Mark10:29-31). The most important treasure is not earthly but heavenly (Matthew 6:19-21, 1 Timothy 6:17-19). The gift of greatest worth has no price tag – it is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Paul warned Timothy about this type of “gospel” in 1 Timothy 6:5, 9-11. These men of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (v. 9). The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it. But He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and teaching His disciples to do the same. It should also be remembered that the only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas.

Thus, wealth may be a blessing but it has no relationship to our faith. We cannot earn our blessings. Some of the most faithful and earnestly God-seeking people I know are the least wealthy people I know. At the same token, I have also known great men of faith who have been mightily blessed by the Lord with talents that allow them much wealth. The key is not worshiping money whether you have it or not. They key is putting God first in your life and realizing that all things come from Him. If you are blessed financially, you should be so thankful that you use your wealth to bless others and further the cause of Christ, not out of compulsion but out of joy! If you are suffering, know that your faith in the Lord in your perseverance in the faith will be rewarded, if not in this lifetime, then, in heaven – the real reward for being faithful to God in good times and bad.

Amen and Amen. 0000 000000000

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