Today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 1-9, Ps 55-56
Six days ago, we read the story of King Solomon’s rule in 1 Kings. Today’s reading covers the same period from the Chronicler’s perspective. The readings are quite similar. Having focused on Solomon’s downfall on Day 31, let’s take a look today at his good beginnings.
When Solomon begins his rule, all indications in both versions of the story are that he earnestly wants to do his best for God. He recognizes the enormous responsibility placed in his hands and is humble enough to know that he cannot handle it without God’s help. In 2 Chronicles, the first recorded act of his reign is a time of national prayer. He takes all of Israel to the tent of meeting, where he leads them in worship and petitions God for wisdom and knowledge. Later, as soon as construction of the temple is complete, Solomon again leads the people in worship, kneeling to offer fervent prayer before the altar on behalf of all of Israel.
Solomon’s early actions model the importance of prayer as a first step in any significant undertaking. The rest of his story is a stark reminder of what happens when we think things are going well and we forget to continue praying. Near the end of the Chronicler’s account, we get an inventory of Solomon’s building accomplishments as king, followed by this commentary:
“Solomon built impulsively and extravagantly–whenever a whim took him” (2 Chronicles 8:6, The Message).
As leaders, even as we gain confidence in our abilities, starting with prayer keeps us humble. Without it, we are prone to follow our own whims instead of remaining focused on God’s desires.