2 Chronicles chapter 8 delineates major projects that Solomon caused Israel to undertake. This chapter tells of how Solomon built major cities, store cities, fenced cities, chariot cities, cities of the horsemen, wilderness cities, and took major stores of the gold of Ophir.
“As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel, but of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.” (vs. 7-8)
Solomon allied Israel with those who were the bitterest enemies of Israel–not a wise thing to do. Yet, Solomon did prosper, but at what cost? “The missionary spirit that God had implanted in the heart of Solomon and in the hearts of all true Israelites was supplanted by a spirit of commercialism. The opportunities afforded by contact with many nations were used for personal aggrandizement. Solomon sought to strengthen his position politically by building fortified cities at the gateways of commerce.” “But Solomon lost sight of this high purpose. He failed of improving his splendid opportunities for enlightening those who were continually passing through his territory or tarrying at the principal cities.” Prophets and Kings, 71-73. Prosperity, through pride and selfishness, blinded Solomon to the purpose for which God raised him up. Possessions, wealth, and power are not the true riches.
What a contrast between the course of Solomon and that of Christ. Of all who ever lived, whom do you think had the greatest gladness and pure joy in their life? Was it not Jesus? Though Jesus could have easily commanded any amount of wealth to His hands, Jesus had very little earthly possessions–so much so that He testified that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20). Christ had so much more to give than earthly possessions and wealth. The true riches which the Lord desires to give through His servants are the priceless perfect symmetry of character, strength of faith to lift mountains more precious than gold, gems of the mysteries of truth found in nature and revelation, and the joy and gladness received through sacrificing oneself for the salvation of the body and soul of others worth more than rubies (Rev. 2:9). These are the true riches that will endure through eternity.
May you be abundant in the true riches (though you may have poverty),