During my daily reading, I spent a little longer on this passage than in past readings. These few lines are not only about the wisdom of Solomon in his leadership of Israel, but are a reminder to all who are in power that there is more to do in someone's life than tend to spiritual needs.
2 Chronicles 8:1-6. "And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, and his own house, That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion."
We might think these passages boring and irrelevant at first glance. Yet, they give us further insight into God's design for kingdom love. Love is broader than prayer, although prayer is necessary for every situation. Love is deeper than a phone call to the lonely. Yet, they are vital as well. Love is more significant than a "God bless " at work, although it might brighten someone's day. Love is based on needs.
Unlike today's kingdoms, Solomon reigned over the supply of all the needs of the people, civil, spiritual and personal. His role was to make Israel outwardly magnificent and inwardly spiritual. A testimony to his mighty God. The Queen of Sheba was in awe of all he had implemented. (1 Kings 10:1-13).
Let's learn from Solomon.
In today's language, these regional store cities, chariot cities and cities of the horsemen would be great thriving industrial warehousing towns interlinked by road, rail and air. Employment would be high in housing, transport, fuel, vehicle repairs, truck and car sales, spare parts, training facilities, cinema complexes, garden supplies and plant nurseries, supermarkets, hotels, accommodation, churches, fast foods, police, councils, and of course, cemeteries. The flow-on effect of these regional industries would have reached most areas of Israel.
The strategic location of these cities would have kept jobs and people in regional areas and unclogged major cities. Jerusalem was overrun on holy days, and it didn't need any more permanent residents. I would like to see this happening in our own nation: thriving regional areas brought together by huge interconnecting freeways and other modes of transport, plenty of employment, and our nation majorly dependent upon their success.
Solomon shows us that Godly leadership comes down to faith, strategy, boldness and hard work. He understood the entirety of his oversight.
We see similar principles in many churches today. Their leaders recognise the importance of communal worship on church days as well as the need for connect-groups or cell groups and various assistance programs, ensuring a well-rounded approach.
We personally can learn that loving our neighbour is much more than verbal. Our responsibility as budding kings and priests is about recognising people's needs. We are called to look from a Solomon perspective and help their entire situation where we can.
Solomon understood what God wanted in His blessed Israel. A complete approach. This was the wisdom and understanding for which he so ardently prayed. (1 Kings 3-9). Likewise, our acts of kindness or love also have a flow-on effect. They engender hope for the helpless, answers to prayer, and faith for others as they look at our works.
Before Solomon began taxing heavily, his works made people rejoice because that's where the rubber hits the road. They were the outworking of his faith in God. Doing real things makes lives better, and we can use those principles in our own small world of people.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that there often lies gold in scriptures we skim across. Thank you for today's understanding. It gives me a better look at my role in people's lives and how I need to think about them more than I do, and act as well as pray.
Photo by Ivan Diaz