Today's devotion from 1 Kings 5.
Tyre proves to be an important ally for the purposes of building the Temple. Hiram obviously held David in much esteem, and was quick to congratulate Solomon upon his ascension to the throne. When he does, the new king is not hesitant to acknowledge the skills of Hiram's citizens, and begins negotiating with intent of securing timber for the forthcoming project. Hiram is honored and reciprocates by praising God, "Blessed be the Lord today!aa He has given David a wise son to be over this great people!" (vs 7)
The gift of wisdom is recognizable to the nations surrounding him. Yet, something is just off center.
Hiram's proposal is that his people will secure the timber and bring it to the sea, form rafts, and ferry the lumber to the location of Solomon's choosing. However, Solomon established a draft for forced labor and sent 30,000 men. Which brings up another issue: Samuel was right.
Remember when we read in Samuel about the people clamoring for a king in 1 Samuel 8:11-18?
Here we are in Israel's golden age, and the people of God are drafted and forced into labor by the king. As you think through this, recognize the truth that while he may have had no, "...adversary or misfortune", for these forced laborers this was not the hope and change they had bargained for.
Perhaps it is fitting that I am writing this after learning that a hotly contested and divisive presidential campaign has ended with a winner being recognized. It doesn't really matter. Solomon in all of his wisdom was deficient as will be any human ruler or leader. Instead, Merida reminded us of the truth in Matthew's Gospel, "The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look—something greater than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42, CSB)