This devotional is about 1 Kings 6.
Solomon’s father David was a mighty and successful (and mighty successful) warrior. He was also an accomplished musician and a top-notch song writer. But what was Solomon really good at? He never fought a day in his life. Though he wrote some Psalms they are not as numerous or well-known as David’s psalms. If he played an instrument, we don’t know anything about his skill level or even what he played. So where in life did Solomon excel?
Wisdom, yes, but that was supernaturally given to him by God. He was gifted at writing Proverbs and other wisdom literature. But his true gifting seemed to be in administration. The descriptions of his kingdom suggest a man who was skillful in getting things done by coordinating the efforts of others.
That’s one way of describing what wisdom is: it is skill in living. A wise man is a more skillful decision-maker than a fool. This includes moral decisions, of course. The fool decides based on his sinful passions rather than on what is right and wrong. But a wise man applies good decision-making to everyday life. That was where Solomon excelled and we see his excellence described here in 1 Kings 6 as he began to build the Temple.
What he planned for God’s temple was magnificent but he didn’t just plan it. He thought about every detail and he made all the decisions. Verse 7 always amazes me: “In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” Nothing was built at the temple site; it was designed and manufactured elsewhere, brought to the temple, then put into place like a child would snap Legos into place. That takes an immense amount of detailed thinking and planning.
Church ministry has a lot of administration involved in it; more than you may realize. Church administration gets very little attention, but it is incredibly important for making sure God’s work is done with skill. I am thankful for volunteers in our church who are good at administration. As they use their gifts for his work, God is served–worshipped–every bit as much as when we are skillfully led in worship or hear a well-crafted message.
But in the middle of describing Solomon’s important work, God said this to him: ““As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” While God was honored by David’s desire to build a temple and Solomon’s skill in making it happen, what he really wanted was obedience to his word. It was the devotion of the Israelites to the Lord and his word that would cause him to “live among the Israelites” not the magnificent temple Solomon built. It is another reminder of what God really cares about; great architecture and skillful craftsmanship can be powerful acts of worship, but they are nothing compared to a life that is focused on hearing and obeying the Word of God.