Remember GOD during the DAYS of your PROSPERITY
April 8 Bible Reading: 1 Kings Chapters 4-6
"Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life...And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon." (1 Kings 4:20-21, 25)
The above verses are a confirmation to the fact that God has now finally fulfilled His long awaited promise to Abraham to make his descendants both numerous and a great nation (see Gen. 15:5, 18-21; 17:8; 22:17). The kingdom under Solomon now reached out to the River Euphrates, to the land of the Philistines, and even to the border of Egypt (vv.21, 24). King Solomon now ruled over an empire that extended far beyond the traditional boundaries of Israel to the expanded borders, which was in accordance with God’s earlier promise to Abraham (Deut. 1:7; 11:24; Josh. 1:4). So, Israel had now emerged as a powerhouse of wealth and military might under Solomon. The magnificence of Solomon’s reign, the wide dominion of his kingdom and the splendor of life at his court all attest the faithfulness of God in carrying out the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant through the line of David (vv. 22-28; 2 Chr. 9:26-28).
We should also note that the predictions prophet Samuel had made before installing Saul as the first king of Israel (1 Sam. 8:10–18) had come true as well, for Solomon took a lot from the Israelites through heavy taxes in order to support his lavish lifestyle. Every man under his vine and fig tree (v. 25) denotes the peace, security, and prosperity enjoyed by the Israelites from Dan (the most northern city) to Beersheba (the most southern city).
Peace, security and prosperity are the goals of many nations today. When a nation enjoys such blessings it has much to be thankful for, but with affluence comes a temptation to forget that God is the source of every good thing! (James 1:17) Sadly, though Israel was a prosperous nation (v. 20), the people were not spiritual and godly, as they did not remember their Jehovah God during this time of peace and prosperity!
Today, it is very possible that wealth and prosperity can easily dull the spiritual sensitivity of even the most devoted of God’s people. It’s not that prosperity is evil in and of itself. Our Lord Jesus Christ has described the “deceitfulness” of riches that can choke the spiritual life out of a person (or a nation; Matt. 13:22). Likewise, the New Testament warns us to stay alert, be spiritually vigilant, and remember God during our times of prosperity so that we do not fall into temptation (1 Cor. 10:12–13; 1 Pet. 1:13; 5:8).
What happened to Solomon and Israel in the past can happen to any of us. As we maintain an affluent lifestyle and as our possessions multiply, we are especially vulnerable in losing our relationship with God. The nation of Israel under Solomon should have paid more attention to the warning signs that it was headed for spiritual disaster. Today, let us remember God during the days of our prosperity, and pay attention to the following warning that Moses had given to the Israelites so many years ago:
"Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest--when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." (Deut. 8:11-14)