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Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”
As soon as Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people” (1 Kings 5:1-7).
I was reading this Scripture today as part of my devotional and I was struck by the response of Hiram, King of Tyre. Because why did he rejoice at helping build the temple of a foreign god?
Hiram I of Tyre was a very good king, but he didn’t follow Yahweh. He was a Phoenician, king of a Phoenician city-state. That he worshiped the Phoenician gods is not in doubt; pretty much everyone in his family is named after either Baal or Astarte.
So why was he so happy to be part of building the temple to Yahweh, the god of his neighbors?
There are many reasons one can find. We know that Hiram made himself very closely allied with both David and Solomon. In this passage, it says that “Hiram always loved David.” In 1 Kings 9, Hiram calls Solomon his “brother,” even though he finds his gift from Solomon displeasing. Amos 1:9 refers back to this, calling their alliance a “covenant of brotherhood.”
Hiram certainly was no rival to the people of God. But neither was he one of them. But he loved them, it seems. And, it seems to me, out of his love for the people of Israel, he was pleased to honor their God Yahweh, though He was not his own god.
Hiram did not know God. But he still found joy in building God’s Kingdom, in helping to build God’s dwelling on Earth.
What an amazing testimony! And what a challenge!
Because you are part of building God’s dwelling on Earth!
That’s right! You’re in the middle of your year’s start-up, and you’re undoubtedly tired. It’s go time, and everyone’s pushing as hard as possible!
Remember the work you are about: you are building the Kingdom of God.
Yes, you’re pouring your time and your energy into it. And it’s tiring. And you’re exhausted. And you’d just like to sleep in for once.
But now is the time for work! This is the time when people are most easily reached for the Gospel! The harvest is ready, it’s plentiful, and the weather is perfect for it!
Enjoy it! Take joy in building the Kingdom! And when you find yourself exhausted, when your alarm goes off and you’re asking yourself why you should roll out of bed when you could get another hour in, remember what you’re doing.
And be glad! Rejoice in building the Kingdom! Because not everyone gets to be a part! Many people will never know what it’s like to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Give them an opportunity to know the joy that you know! Go out there and build God’s Kingdom!