Much might be made of the fact that Solomon took almost twice as long to build his own house as he did to build the temple (thirteen years according to 1 Kings 7:1, compared to seven years for the temple in 1 Kings 6:38). However, we have to be cautious in going further than the text itself does. First Kings doesn’t give any specific evaluation of this fact one way or the other. But after the exiles returned to Jerusalem, God rebuked them for “dwell[ing] in your paneled houses, while this house [the temple] lies in ruins” (Hag. 1:4). David, the man after God’s own heart, had also lamented that he lived in a cedar house while the ark of God sat in a tent (2 Sam. 7:2).
God does not condemn people for living in nice houses. But He always challenges us to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The shift from the account of building the temple to describe Solomon’s palace may serve to highlight Solomon’s divided priorities, and if so, let it be a warning to us. Many of us enjoy prosperity beyond what most of the rest of the world can even imagine. May we be a people who steward God’s provisions well, always using our possessions for His glory and to advance His kingdom, not our own.
In what ways might you need to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness rather than your own?