“But YOU PROMISED!” she said from the back seat of the car. Every parent has heard it before! In every agreement there are the claims and promises. In some there is the “fine print”; you know, the part that is so small you need a magnifying glass to read the number 3 font lettering. The fine print reveals the CONDITIONS on which everything else is based. Don’t you really appreciate it when someone makes clear the conditions up front? It settles your expectations!
God never wanted those who follow Him and wait on Him for blessing to misunderstand the real conditions for blessing. Yet it seems the “fine print” has gotten lost in many places that are claiming to dispense God’s blessings on His behalf. Could they have missed the “conditions statement”? Solomon had a unique relationship with God as a King that had pleased God. He was not only a king, but a gifted wise king. Yet, God took special pains over the centuries to record and preserve the messages of God to Solomon. Why?
Key Principle: God has revealed what He truly expects from each of us. It is not a secret or a mystery. He opened the conditions of blessing for any who want to listen to them.
9:1-3 At the time that Solomon did all the projects he intended (building his Palace and the Temple) that the Lord came to speak to Solomon again. God said: “I heard the prayer you offered, and I set aside the Temple as a special place where I invested both My heart and My name (as you asked Me to).”
I. General Pattern: God looks for the believer to produce from their heart a work from Him, based on their call and their gifts. He hears their prayers and He opens to them the supplies that ask for. In this case, God waited for Solomon to use the abilities that He gave him, and put together the projects that were on his heart. He listened to Solomon’s prayers and responded to the needs requested.
9:4-5 “Now concerning the part of your prayer for you and your throne, I want to restate the conditions of blessing. If you walk with integrity (from tawmam: to complete with soundness) of heart, if you walk uprightly (from yawshar: level or plumb), if you perform obediently my engraved unchanging principles (khoke: engravings) and ordinances (mishpatim: judgments), THEN your family hold over the throne will go on without end.”
II. Positive Claims and Promises: God asks believers to walk with two basic requirements: first, that they would live within the boundaries of His timeless truths or principles. Knowing us, God says, if you fail to do so, then hear my judgments on these things, repent, and do what I prescribe to mend the problems. When those things happen, you open the flow of blessing to what you have requested.
9:6-8 “In the event”, the Lord continued, “that you or any son of yours stop following Me (meaning, serve (awvad: labor on behalf of) someone or something other than Me), I will remove the blessing of the land from the people of Israel, remove My special hand of blessing in the operations in the Temple, and I will publicly cause the humiliation of this people to be on the lips of those around them. The Temple will be an astounding ruin that everyone will see and remark about the destruction and the reason for it – turning from Me to other gods.”
III. Protective (Negative) Conditions: God states that when a believer decides that some other goal is more important to work at than those given to him by God (when he was living to please the Lord) then three penalties should be anticipated:
1) Loss of the fruits of promise and blessing from God. In the case of Israel it was the loss of the Promised land. They would not possess the eternal inheritance they were given. They would still have claim to the land, but it would be iused by another people group – not them.
2) Loss of intimate touches in meeting with God – especially in worship;
3) Replacement of shame over the positive testimony of our lives.
God has revealed what He truly expects from each of us. It is not a secret or a mystery. He opened the conditions of blessing for any who want to listen to them.
Responsible living and the Gospel of Grace: Just as our walk began by the energizing work of the Spirit and the miraculous salvation through the cross of Christ, so the walk of the believer continues by empowerment beyond the work of the believer Himself. We must face our responsibilities, that is sure. Yet, we must also admit we cannot be all that God wants us to be apart from increasing more time with Him, yielding more of ourselves to Him, relying more heavily upon His power than ever before. It is not a simple will issue. We have to admit that we aren’t strong enough without the empowering work of His spirit and the cleansing work of His blood. We have to surrender to His desires consciously, or we will walk in our own desires willfully.