2 Chronicles 9:6
“However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.”
A person, standing at a distance and looking in at Solomon’s kingdom, would be struck by the enormous wealth and prosperity. We read of merchants traveling the world and returning with treasures of gold and precious stones, as well as exotic spices and animals. We are told, the landscape was marked with elaborate building projects, fine arts, and gourmet foods. Beyond question, the nation looked to be at its apex, and was envied by the world around them. In fact, we are told that delegations, including kings and queens, would make their way to Israel just to see its highly developed society and vast wealth. All the world wanted to be like Israel. Sadly, things were not really as they appeared. Underneath the surface was a cancer that was eating away at the fabric of the nation, and in a few short years would cause its collapse.
1 Kings 11:6-7
“Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.”
The real strength of Israel was not their military, their economy, their foreign policy, or the wisdom of their leaders. The real strength was their commitment to the Lord and His Word. They were a nation founded on the principles of God’s Word, which gave them a foundation that could support their vast growth and success. When they departed from the Lord, it was only a matter of time before the nation imploded.
Today, across our nation, we are celebrating freedom. Flags, fireworks, and family cookouts remind us that we are part of the greatest nation in the world. Our freedom has resulted in vast wealth, and has made us the envy of the world. People from all over the globe dream of making their way to America to find a better life. Unfortunately, some view freedom as a license to behave without law. They believe that freedom means that no one, especially not God, has the right to tell them their behaviors are wrong. They want to celebrate being free with licentiousness. Sadly, this will ultimately lead not only to greater bondage, but will destroy the fabric that holds our nation together.
If we want true freedom, it will never be found in breaking away from the laws of God, but in living in step with the One who designed us, loves us and desires the best for us.