Saturday, May 19, 2012

On Peace and Leadership




Scripture

Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains,
(1 Kings 5:15 NASB)
besides Solomon’s 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work.
(1 Kings 5:16 NASB)
Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself.
(2 Chronicles 2:1 NASB)
So Solomon assigned 70,000 men to carry loads and 80,000 men to quarry stone in the mountains and 3,600 to supervise them.
(2 Chronicles 2:2 NASB)
“Now behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 kors of crushed wheat and 20,000 kors of barley, and 20,000 baths of wine and 20,000 baths of oil.”
(2 Chronicles 2:10 NASB)
Then Huram, king of Tyre, answered in a letter sent to Solomon: “Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them.”
(2 Chronicles 2:11 NASB)
Then Huram continued, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.
(2 Chronicles 2:12 NASB)

 

Observation


Solomon takes over leadership of the kingdom after his father. In these short chapters there are numerous items to glean to help us understand God's desire for leadership. Solomon makes peace with his neighbors, and specifically Hiram to the north. He takes time to negotiate with him and determine what might be mutually beneficial to the two of them. Solomon is able to begin the work on the Temple because the nation is at peace. Solomon needs resources from Lebanon, specifically cedar with which to line the temple. Hiram has the trees which are needed, but he and his countrymen need the grains which come from Israel. They are kind and generous to one another, supplying each others needs.

Next Solomon must determine how best to accomplish the work. He looks at the abilities of the laborers within the land and assigns them to their abilities. He has men to carry loads, men to quarry the stone and then has a system of supervisors to keep the work organized and efficient. The men who go north to work in the forests work in shifts. They go for a month at a time, but then are brought home for two months to be with their families. They rotate the men so that their families are cared for at home.

Ultimately the Temple and Royal Palace are built and they are a testimony to God's work in the life of David's son, Solomon.

 

Application

It is amazing what can be accomplished when people are not selfish! Solomon was a very wealthy man, but he had asked God to give him discernment regarding justice. He acted justly when it came to the construction of the Temple and the Palace. For the work to go forward efficiently there was a system of job assignment and supervision which was developed, but it was not designed to take advantage of people. Instead, Solomon's system was not selfish, but purposely cared for those who were laboring.

Sadly, in today's day and age there are leaders who are far too selfish. I think of all the "home-grown" companies and businesses that developed around leaders who cared about their communities. After the original founders are gone, leaders have come in and decimated the companies in an effort to make money, and leave an entire community destroyed in the wake. This is not the kind of leader that Solomon was, and nor is it the kind of leader that God wants us to be. A leader is to care for all of those within their sphere of responsibility. The work cannot be accomplished at the expense of the workers.

When there is peace, much more can be accomplished! God had told David that he would not be the one to build the temple. There was too much fighting in David's lifetime. Resources in David's day had to be allocated to fighting battles. When we are fighting battles, we don't have the resources necessary to be building up. This may be true in terms of nations, but can also be true in regard to organizations and personal relationships. When energy is being spent on being defensive, we can't be on the offensive. There are times when we may need to be engaged in battle, but we must also ask whether we spend time and energy in unnecessary battles. These battles will keep us from fulfilling the purposes that God has for us.

Finally, don't do everything yourself! Solomon had a vision which he received from God via his father. He knew what it was that was to be accomplished. However, he didn't try to micro-manage the project. Instead he found the very best leaders he could find and then set up a system of accountability. He trusted his skilled leaders to do the work. When skilled people are trusted and empowered to move forward with the work, they will accomplish great things for their leader.

Sadly, Solomon doesn't continue in this manner throughout his entire life. We see the final negative results of going your own way -- of become selfish, and allowing power to corrupt. But let's take time to learn from this Solomon and ask God to help us when we find ourselves in places of leadership.

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to seek your wisdom and guidance on a daily basis. Amen.

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