1 Kings 10:1-13 The visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon prefigures the visit of the wise men, or kings, to the Christ child, the newborn King of Israel (TYPOLOGY!!)
Ch 10: 14-29 Through wise trade agreements and gift-bearing visitors who came to Jerusalem seeking his wisdom, Solomon accumulated great wealth and possessions.
Ecclesiastes 8:1-8 A man who serves and is obedient to his king can normally expect to have the king’s favor but not necessarily a long life. The purpose of our relationship with God is to achieve a loving friendship with him, and this intimate relationship is made possible through the grace of Baptism, which elevates us to the level of adopted children of God. (CCC 1240, 2716)
Ch 8:9-17 Though justice may be delayed in this life, it usually catches up with the wicked. In the case of an unrepentant sinner, punishment is imparted in the next life. Part of fulfilling God’s plan is to do what is within one’s power to promote a more just society. (CCC 1040, 2255, 2304)
Ch 9:1-10 Though the human intellect can never fully comprehend God and understand his ways, our limited knowledge is sufficient for the realization that he is to be loved above all things. These verses remind the individual that peace in every moment is a function of one’s union with God. Habitual prayer and contemplation are crucial means for a close relationship with God. (CCC 2660, 2699, 2802)
Ch 9:11-18 Misfortune can strike anyone, regardless of his or her material possessions, starting at the individual level. Every person should reflect true wisdom in interactions with others; this effort to deal justly and kindly with others keeps pride and greed under control. This disposition for peace and harmony must extend to both the national and international arena. (CCC 1866, 2534, 2536)
Psalm 8 The rhetorical question posed in this psalm is really an expression of great awe: Why does God, who is eternal and All-powerful, care for the frail and powerless? As St. John Paul II expressed it, “The human person feels almost overwhelmed by the grandeur of creation, ‘the work of your fingers.’...yet on the other hand, God bends down to man and crowns him his viceroy” (St. John Paul II, General Audience, September 24, 2003). The answer is that God, by the very fact that he created us in his own image, with loving attention to every detail, has given us great dignity. With our gifts of intellect and free will, we are charged with dominion over other earthly creatures and are given stewardship of all creation. Sadly, many people abuse their freedom by doing evil and failing to take responsibility for creation and even cause great offenses to the dignity of others through violence, oppression, sin, and neglect. The model of the perfect human is Christ, who came to serve others and to die for our salvation, the supreme act of self-giving love. We are likewise invited to that same kind of heroic love for God and neighbor as we take up our crosses and follow Christ each day. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, June 26, 2003)
How Majestic: The perfect holiness of God is something we can never fully comprehend due to the limitations of human perception.
Glory: In Scripture this refers to the radiance of God’s majesty. We get a glimmer of God’s glory by the beauty, harmony, and order created in the world. This appreciation of his glory intensifies even more through his revealed Word and the witness of sanctity of those who love God. God’s glory infinitely surpasses the sum of his wondrous works. (CCC 300, 559, 2160, 2566, 2809)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
From Wise King to Unfaithful Servant
The cancers start small, but their growing and unchecked progress can be seen throughout Solomon’s reign.
While narrating the construction of Solomon’s marvelous Temple, 1 Kings also describes the building of Solomon’s own palace (1 Kgs 7:1-12).
Solomon spends nearly twice as long on it as he does on the Temple, and even more telling, the palace is nearly twice as large as the Temple.
God is already subject to competition from the king.
After Solomon’s second vision, we witness a flood of dark hints that the malignancy is becoming more serious.
Not only is there the beginning of a crack in the relationship between northern and southern tribes (1 Kgs 11:28-32), but Solomon is showing signs of losing his great wisdom.
Solomon amasses huge amounts of gold (1 Kgs 10:14).
He acquires horses, chariots, and horsemen from Egypt for his army and for export (1 Kgs 10:26-29).
Last, and most importantly, Solomon establishes an astonishing harem of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and follows his foreign wives into full-blown idolatry (1 Kgs 11:1-8), even building altars to Molech, the god of the Ammonites, whose liturgies demanded child sacrifice.
The tiny cancer that began with marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter and worship on the pagan high places in Israel leads to Solomon’s abandonment of the God of Israel.
The amassing of gold; the acquisition of horses, horsemen, and chariots; the harem of foreign wives-none of these are random observations.
Rather, they evoke a very specific set of prohibitions in the Torah:
“When you come to the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and dwell in it, and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me; you may indeed set as king over you him whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not multiply horses for himself, or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply for himself silver and gold. (Dt 17:14-17)
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
So a lot of review going on here when it comes to Solomon’s life at the end
The wisdom of Solomon when the Queen of Sheba visits
Other kings come to visit him
Hiram, the king of Tyre, who knows how to sell things really well (did anyone else hear Fr. Mike sound like he said Hiram knows how to SAIL THINGS WELL? No? Just me? Ok then…😉)
So this is a review of Solomon’s life that we heard before in 2 Chronicles now happening in 1 Kings
We should be used to this “review” stuff because of way back when we read a similar type of “review” in Deuteronomy and Numbers
It’s so accurate here, virtually word for word
Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple is virtually identical in 2 Chronicles and 1 Kings
So is the visit of the Queen of Sheba
Ecclesiastes 8 and 9 have so many things to highlight
It’s one of those situations where the wisdom books are SPEAKING WISDOM!!
The wisdom books are GUIDING US in a way of LIVING LIFE WISELY
It can come across as being NEGATIVE
BUT IT IS NOT
What it is, is an honest assessment of HOW LIFE ACTUALLY IS
God’s ways are INSCRUTABLE
WE DON’T KNOW WHY THINGS HAPPEN
A sinner gets ahead
A righteous person doesn’t get ahead
The same fate happens to them all
We all end up dying
One of the big lessons in Ecclesiastes is if all there is is this world, if all there is is this life, IT IS MEANINGLESS
IT ALL ENDS IN DEATH
If we choose to live a life APART FROM GOD and there is nothing after this, then it is MEANINGLESS because NOTHING TRULY MATTERS, NOTHING TRULY ENDURES
We know that while time will erase ALL THINGS, there is something MORE than time
Qoheleth brings it up AGAIN AND AGAIN
The day will come where no one knows your name (except at CHEERS 😉)
The day will come when you are COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN
That is the last story that Qoheleth tells in Ecclesiastes Ch 9:13-15 “I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.”
NOBODY KNOWS THIS PERSON’S NAME NOW
That is SO GOOD FOR US TO KNOW
Fr. Mike’s spiritual director told him he’d be forgotten really soon
Fr. Mike knows 😉
Fr. Mike is not St. Thomas Aquinas and he is VERY AWARE of this and he has NO PROBLEM WITH IT AT ALL
Any person who is living in this life has thought about the impact of their life has come to that place where very soon they will be completely forgotten, even by the people close to them
That’s how life goes
To be able to be at PEACE with this is SUCH A GIFT
That if all there is is this life, then this life doesn’t mean anything
THIS LIFE IS NOT ALL THERE IS
THIS LIFE MATTERS
YOUR LIFE MATTERS
Ecclesiastes Ch 9:11 “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.”
It’s not sometimes just a matter of being the smartest, the strongest, or the fastest
SOMETIMES IT’S CHANCE
SOMETIMES OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
WHY DID WE LOSE?
WELL, BECAUSE TIME AND CHANCE HAPPENS TO ALL OF US
That is SO GOOD
Rather than giving into our desire to CONTROL, we get to have the call to SURRENDER
Rather than having the desire to CONTROL, we have the invitation to TRUST
Of course, we want to be as fast, strong, wise, and as good as we can be
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, the CALL for every one of our lives is to TRUST THE LORD AND SURRENDER TO HIM
Is your mind sufficiently blown yet? 🤯🤯
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??
What a gift it is to be able to journey through Ecclesiastes with all of you
Tomorrow we finish Ecclesiastes and then we jump into our second MESSIANIC CHECKPOINT!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, you are great and glorious. How majestic is your name? You’ve revealed your name to us which boggles the mind, Lord God, and fills our hearts today. Not only do you have the majestic name, not only do you have the glorified name, but you have revealed your name to us. And you have also revealed what the Psalmist says, what David says, that you can look at the world around us and the universe, the billions upon billions of stars, the space that you’ve created and yet, what is man that you care for him. Who are we that you are mindful of us, that you are constantly attentive to us? And yet you are, God, because you have made us in your image and likeness. And in Christ you have made us your children. And so we just thank you. Thank you so much for being attentive to us. Thank you so much for creating us. Thank you so much for sustaining us and redeeming us. Please receive our thanks this day, Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”