Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing… And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree … all the days of Solomon. (1 Ki 4:20,25)
These are wonderful verses about the condition of Israel under king Solomon. It is the remarkable fulfilment of a promise God had made to Abraham 1,000 years earlier. God promised Abraham, that even though he had no children at that time, one day, his descendants would be as many as the sand by the sea. While there had been many circumstances and events that seemed as though they might thwart God’s purpose, He had accomplished all that He had promise to Abraham. It is worth mediating on this as we consider our own future and the future of the Church. If God has made us a promise, then regardless of how unlikely it seems today, He will still fulfil it all. Similarly, just we do not yet see the Lord’s return and the regeneration of all things, God is still moving inexorably to accomplish the promises He made in Christ.
Perhaps one of the most notable things is that God accomplished this under a king. God had never desired that the nation of Israel be ruled by a king, but the nation had chosen to reject God’s advice. Even though God’s ways were not chosen, it had not limited God in fulfilling His purposes. We may not always choose the best that God desires, but it does not mean that He will not accomplish what He wants in our lives.
The second thing to note is that the people were dwelling in a time of peace. God had refused to let David, a man of war, build the temple, but promise that his son, Solomon, whom he described as a man of peace, would build the temple. Here we see this was a time of safety and of peace. This observation takes us back to Abraham’s time, when he was met by king Melchizedek, who is described as a king of peace. But it also reminds us to look forward to Jesus who is the perfect prince of peace and when His kingdom is fully established, it will continue in a condition of utter peace.
The last point to note is that along with peace, there this wonderful picture of plenty. All the people had everything they needed and could rejoice in this taste of paradise on earth. They had enough to eat, they had enough to drink, their own possession would provide for them, and there was an absence of fighting and waring. Again, it reminds us with joy about the situation we will find ourselves in when Christ’s kingdom is both established and fully revealed. There will be no lack then!!
Sadly, this wonderful situation was not to last as Solomon in his latter years turned away from following God and led the people into idolatry. There will be no such risk of unfaithfulness in Christ’s heavenly kingdom, for as well as being established in peace and prosperity, it will continue forever in the same way. What a glorious hope!!