Today's OT reading is about the climax of Solomon's reign – his crowning achievement. The temple is finished and the ark of the covenant – the ark where the tablets that held the 10 commandments while the people of Israel journeyed through the wilderness - is laid to rest in the temple’s inner sanctuary after a long journey.
It is a treasured moment. And yet, for all that God's people have achieved, for all that God had done for them, mixed emotion probably ran through the crowd.
Yes, FINALLY, they are like other nations. They have a strong king, a thriving capital city (Jerusalem), and a temple in which to worship. They had arrived.
And yet – at what price?
They have a king – but like all other kings, this king kills his enemies a bit too freely. This king lives a lavish lifestyle on the backs of his people.
They have a capital city and strong infrastructure - as well as the headaches that go with that: excessive taxation, centralized governing authorities who protect their own interests rather than the peoples' they are supposed to serve.
They have a temple in the centre of the city. A church. A Cathedral. A house in which to worship their God. But God's house was built with forced labour. Slaves. And adorned with gold while the people went hungry.
It's like the people of Israel had forgotten their past. It's like they'd forgotten who God is and how God wants them to live.
And, although Solomon comes off in this story as a fully devoted servant of the Lord, we know that that's not always the case.
He is wise – yes – but so often he's...(whole thing here)