Read: 1 Kings 10:14-29
Reflect: As you may recall in 1 Kings Chapter 3 God was so pleased with Solomon that He told Solomon He would give him whatever he asked for. Instead of asking for riches and power, Solomon asked for “a discerning heart to govern (his) people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9) God was very pleased with Solomon’s request and said to him, ”I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have NO equal among kings.” (1 Kings 3:13)
God not only made David’s son Solomon the wisest king ever, He also made him rich, very rich. It turns out Solomon was so ridiculously rich the wealth he possess is beyond our wildest imagination, even by today’s standard. To give you a brief idea the bible says Solomon received 666 talents of gold each year. Used anciently, talents were a measure of weight and money. A talent weighs roughly 75 U.S. pounds. A talent of gold in today’s value is worth about $1,750,400. This means the value of what he got EACH YEAR was around $1,165,766,400 U.S. dollars! Some astronomical number!
Solomon became so immensely rich that ALL his cups were made of gold (not one was made of silver – 1Kings 10:21). His wealth was so immense that gold and silver were as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as common as sycamores which are in the lowlands (1Kings 10:27). Merchants and ships would bring in gold, silver, ivory, apes and monkeys, spices, horses to Solomon on a regular basis. All wanted to come to hear his wisdom, and because God has blessed his kingdom, they also come to trade with him. 1 Kings 10:23 says,
“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than ALL the other kings of the earth.”
Sounds like everything was going great for Solomon right? Well, not necessarily. It is important to remember that when God blessed Solomon with all this wealth, He also reminded him to “walk in (His) ways, to keep (His) statutes and (His) commandments.” (1 Kings 3:14)
You will notice at the end of Chapter 10 that the gifts and trading from various countries eventually caused Solomon to multiply for himself both horses, chariots, as well as silver and gold, precisely which God’s king was warned against in Deuteronomy 17:16,17. Eventually, Solomon became trapped by the blessings of his own wisdom and disobeyed God’s commands.
Did Solomon get to keep any of his riches with him when he died? The answer is obviously no. Regardless of how rich he was, it was only temporary. Jesus told us in the Bible:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus knows how easy it is to focus on riches and wealth and material things, and in the meantime lose sight of things that are eternal, like giving to missionaries and the poor, giving our time to the Lord, sharing our faith with our friends etc. Some day we will all meet our Lord Jesus face to face, and what we do with our money, our time and our resources on earth matters to Him. We are the “stewards” of what He has given us. Are we confident that He will say to us “Well done! Good and faithful servant!” ?(Matthew 25:23)
- How are you managing the money or time that God has given you?
- Do you find it hard to share what you own? If so, what do you think God is teaching you with this lesson?
- If we really believe Jesus is coming soon, how would we live differently?