The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. (1 Kings 4:20 NIV)
You won’t hear many people rave about the first part of 1 Kings 4. There’s a load of names, most of which people from my side of the pond would struggle to pronounce clearly without a giggle. There’s a load of information which on the surface might appear rather boring. Unless you’re the kind of librarian anorak type who loves lists and classifications.
I put it to you, though, that this level of attention to detail is the basis for the splendour that is depicted in the second half of the chapter. Considering the largesse of Solomon’s daily provisions and the stunning degree of wisdom he has been given is fundamentally based on the application of that wisdom to set up effective administrative systems to run all that. Governors, military, priests – the religious, the social and political framework set in such a way that in a remarkable account of the life of those in the region the population are happy. Just take a minute to let that sink in.
Can you imagine the media headlines in a nation state with that reality – the inhabitants are happy. They are being governed fairly and wisely, they are enjoying expansion and prosperity that is not at the expense of the poorest. Can you imagine that? Their leader – their King has structured things for their welfare and has also established such a lush and plush lifestyle based on wisdom that brings the attention of the world to their doorstep.
This chapter reaffirms the importance of a solid foundation to provide a breathtaking and flourishing existence. All based on godly wisdom. We don’t necessarily have to aspire for such decadence in our daily lives. We can certainly aspire to apply godly wisdom to establish a solid foundation of great administration to ensure our lives truly flourish as God wants it to for the benefit of our households, communities and nations.
That way, what might have initially appeared as a mundane list of hard to pronounce characters actually can be recognised as integral parts of the solid foundation on which peaceful and prosperous life can emerge.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden