2 Chronicles 1:14-17 – A Reminder In the Stairwell!

Posted: July 3, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 1:14-17

Solomon’s Prosperity

Opening Illustration/Comments

When Elena and I lived in Rock Island, IL when I was the associate pastor for business services at Calvary Church in Moline, IL, we lived in a quirky old farmhouse style home that was built in 1911. It has most recently been remodeled in 2017, about a year before we bought it. It was a neat old house with lots of distinctive character. I miss that old house but not the unevenness of the heat in the house in the winter time. However, the thing about that house that I thought of today was a saying that we had applied to wall in the stairway from the second floor down to the kitchen. You would see it as you came downstairs each and every day. The vinyl wall art said, “It’s not about me!” in cursive writing. It was a reminder to us that we serve God and not the other way around. That is the fallacy that many of us fall prey to as Christ followers and even those who are not Christians who have some concept of a Supreme Being. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. However, too often we get the order wrong. We think #1 me and #2 God, when it should be the other way around.

We, including Elena and me at times (hence the reminder in our last house’s stairwell), tend to think of God in only personal terms. Yes, He is a personal God, but He is not our personal butler or our personal genie. We often seem to forget that we are the created and He is the Creator. The prosperity gospel concept gains traction with each generation of believers because we do not have a proper view of God nor a proper view of ourselves in relation to Him. We think of God as our own piggy bank or wish granter. Even non-believers have a sense that the universe owes them something. God does not owe us anything. He is the Creator. So, let’s examine the idea of the prosperity gospel for a moment.

The prosperity gospel is an umbrella term for a group of ideas — popular among charismatic preachers in the evangelical tradition — that equate Christian faith with material, and particularly financial, success. It has a long history in American culture, with figures like Osteen and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, glamorous, flashily-dressed televangelists whose Disneyland-meets-Bethlehem Christian theme park, Heritage USA, was once the third-most-visited site in America. A 2006 Times poll found that 17 percent of American Christians identify explicitly with the movement, while 31 percent espouse the idea that “if you give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.” A full 61 percent agree with the more general idea that “God wants people to be prosperous.”

Central to the prosperity gospel was the idea of tithing, or giving money to the church, ideally one’s “first fruits” — or initial earnings. This money, many prosperity gospel preachers promised, was an investment. By showing faith, parishioners could have a “hundredfold” return on their investment, a reference to a verse in the Gospel of Mark about those who suffer for Christ receiving a hundredfold what they have lost. Thus could Ken Copeland write in his Laws of Prosperity,

“Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you. No bank in the world offers this kind of return! Praise the Lord!”

In this mentality, tithing is a financially responsible thing to do. It’s a show of faith and a shrewd investment alike, a wager on the idea that God acts in the here and now to reward those with both faith and a sufficiently developed work ethic. Here, in this passage, we see that Solomon was blessed for his obedience with wealth and power beyond that of any other king of the Israelite nation including his father, David. Some might say that this evidence of the prosperity gospel theme. If we obey the Lord, He will financially bless us.

That is simply not the case. Throughout human history, there has been more people whose lives by human economic security standards have gotten worse from being obedient to God as a Christ follower. Many Christians die for their beliefs and do so willingly. By the standards of the prosperity gospel, they were not being blessed thus they were doing something wrong in the eyes of God. However, that all depends on what your definition of blessings is.

Scripture Passage

14 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. 15 The king made silver and gold 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. 16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia[d]; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. 17 At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

Passage Analysis

Here in this passage, we see that Solomon was blessed with prestige, power and wealth. However, it was because early in his reign before corruption set in, these things were secondary to Solomon. He did not care about the wealth, the power, the prestige. He simply wanted to please the Lord. That God blessed Him was a gift in the providence of God. Paul lived the life of meager existence, but he was no less blessed than Solomon. If we define our blessings from God through material things, we have missed the point altogether. We do not invest in God and then He pays us a return on our investment. The blessings that come from obedience to God are not always financial (and if they are, it’s simply that it was in God’s sovereign right to do as He pleases). Even when our blessings are financial, God expects us to use our wealth to bless others, not to hoard it up and become enamored with how God has financially blessed us. God’s financial blessings are intended to help us be more effective financiers of the expansion of His kingdom and showing the love of Jesus Christ to a hurting world.

Life Application

I think that there are three applications to our daily lives. I think they are these:

  • First, we must remember that God provides us what we need when we need right on time when we fully trust Him. We should not get wrapped up in this whole idea that our wealth is tied to our obedience to God. We must remember that we can be destitute and still have been fully obedient and trusting in the Lord. When we love the Lord and want to serve Him, over time, we become aware that God gives us what we need and thus we are able to just live in the joy of the moment and not be all so concerned about what the financial trappings of our life are.
  • Second, when God does choose to provide us with financial blessings, we should remember where those gifts come from. We must remember to give God praise through our wealth. We must use our wealth primarily to help others in need and to further the cause of God’s kingdom. We are not to see God’s financial blessings are some personal trophy that can only be used on us.
  • Third, we must remember that the prosperity gospel teaches us selfishness. It teaches us that God is there to serve us. It teaches us that if we invest in God, He is so thankful that YOU helped HIM out that He will bless you. That’s just such warped thinking. God is not our butler or our genie. We are here to serve Him and Him alone. We are to give Him glory and Him alone. He is the Creator and we are His created. We are to bow to Him and not the other way around.

We have to remember…It’s not about us! It’s about Him!

Amen and Amen.

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