Tag Archives: Solomon

When Times are Good

I’ve been slowly reading through 1 Kings and I thought by now something would have jumped out at me.  I usually read till something stands out and then I research it or write about it or simply ponder and pray.  But lately nothing has jumped out at me….and well….instead I’ve pondered that.   In 1 Kings Solomon becomes King of Israel and a lot of good things are happening.  He builds a glorious temple, there’s relative peace and prosperity in the land, there’s no famine.  It’s all in all a pretty good time for Israel.  So I’ve been thinking about when times are good.

Times have been pretty good lately.  Life is getting back to normal.  Besides my rather painful pulled muscle I’m healthy and my family is healthy. 

It’s these times I have the tendency to pull away from God.  Life gets busy with the good things in life.  Christmas Shopping, school activities, and even church activities fill our time and communing with God becomes secondary and sometime obsolete. 

It’s when I’m really hurting that I sit at the feet of my Father.  I can sense his comfort.  His loving arms.

When I read about Solomon I sense his desire for closeness to God even in a time of prosperity.   Here’s a sample of Solomon’s gratitude in 1 Kings 8:22-24.

“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said:
       “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.”

It reminds me of my kids when they’re given candy or a gift.  They get so excited to “have” something and they become so engrossed in their joy they forget to be thankful.  Their attention has shifted to the “gift” rather than the “giver.”

I recently watched the movie called “Facing the Giants.”   I can’t say it was my favorite movie.  It had the making of a “health, wealth and prosperity” gospel….but there was a theme that wove through it that stood out to me.  Basically, through everything good or bad, they decided they would praise God.  In defeat, they would give him praise, and in victory they would give him praise.

I have come to realize that it’s in the good time that I establish my relationship with God.  So that on nights like last Friday, when I become stricken with fear that the cancer has come back…..I can hear a resounding “trust me” from somewhere in the darkness.  It comes through clear as day.  It is a “blatant” calm to my storm. 

It is my great desire to keep covenant with God through times of prosperity, as well as times of turmoil.  To give him praise always.  To read his love story to us constantly even when it doesn’t move my heart.

Here’s my prayer, borrowed with liberties from Solomon in 1 Kings 8:57-61

“May the LORD my God abide with me as he has for generations before me; may he never leave me nor forsake me.  May he turn my heart to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commands, decrees and regulations because they are safe and comforting.  And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people according to each day’s need,  so that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.  My desire is for my heart to be wildly committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, right now and always. (Amen)”

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Shekinah Glory

For a few days now I’ve been stuck in 1 Kings 8.  Particularly verses 10-13. 

“When the priests left the Holy Place, a cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t carry out their priestly duties because of the cloud—the glory of God filled The Temple of God!

 Then Solomon spoke:
   God has told us that he lives in the dark
      where no one can see him;
   I’ve built this splendid Temple, O God,
      to mark your invisible presence forever.”

This passage of course got me thinking about “God in the clouds.”  He shows Himself quite frequently in the clouds…..or at least that’s how the Israelites were assured of His presence.  Like in Exodus 19.

“And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

And Exodus 40.

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.”

The Hebrew word used in the 1 Kings passage (not exact, but a variation) is the word “Shekinah.”  In Jewish circles this is also known as “shekinah glory.”  The meaning essentially is “an abiding presence.” 

When I think about clouds it makes sense to me that God would reveal His presence with the Israelites through clouds.   There could be lots of reasons for this.  My first thought might be that it was an easy one for them to grasp and identify with.  Having lived in Egypt for quite sometime the Egyptian god’s were often portrayed in the clouds as the deliverer of good (fertility and rain) and of anger and wrath (storms and droughts).

Even now clouds demand our attention. 

Sometimes there are days when there is barely a cloud in the sky.  Nothing but clear blue for miles.  On those days I feel carefree and happy. 

Then there are weeks here in Michigan where we have nothing but gray cloudy skies thanks to something called “the lake effect.”  We don’t see the sun for weeks. 

Clouds can tell us a storm is coming or clouds can tell us we have nothing to fear.  They can mean wind, rain, snow or ice. 

Sometimes we lay in the grass and spot pictures in them with our children. 

Sometimes we dread them before they arrive, or we can be instantly mesmerized by their beauty. 

But we are never without them.  They are a constant presence in our lives and on this earth.

So it would seem fitting that when Solomon’s Temple was complete God showed up.  He even blinded the priests with His glory (His presence).  A reminder that Temple, no Temple, wealth, prosperity or even unfaithfulness, God would always abide with them.

God said he would be in the dark clouds, he said he would guide their way with a cloud.  He even affirmed His love for His Son from the clouds in Matthew 17:5.

“He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

I don’t know what kind of clouds are outside your window today.  I don’t know if you have thick dark clouds around you, or the sky is clear and blue without a care in the world…..but let whatever clouds you are experiencing be a reminder of His presence forever with us.


(This post id dedicated to those who are hurting in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.  May God’s presence dwell among you.)

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