A few weeks ago as I was having my daily devotion time with God, I came across a passage that caught my interest. In 1 Kings 10, it describes the incredible wisdom and wealth of King Solomon.
One of the verses which described his wealth really stood out to me. In verse 21 of 1 Kings 10 it says, “All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None was of silver; it was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon.”
Solomon was able to amass so much wealth for the kingdom of Israel, that silver (which is usually seen as precious and valuable) was considered worthless!
Here is the rest of that passage:
22 For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.
23 So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 25 They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
26 Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland.
When I look at these two verses that are highlighted above, they paint a very vivid picture for me. King Solomon brought so much wealth in to the nation of Israel that silver became worthless!
Silver is usually seen as being precious and valuable and rare enough that people will use it for investment. In the corresponding passage in Chronicles, it even says that gold was considered worthless. Just imagine the amount of wealth and affluence that had to be in the nation of Israel under King Solomon in order for these precious metals to be seen as not having any value.
It’s an amazing thought that really makes me contemplate the concept of value.
Things have value because we find them important or necessary. Gold and silver have a lot of qualities that make them very useful in many aspects. This isn’t just limited to jewelry, but in manufacturing and various other technology, gold and silver play a very important role. Even in ancient times these metals were used in many processes and technologies.
So it’s not that these metals lost their intrinsic value (the physical properties of silver and gold hadn’t changed), it’s that there was so much of that it was no longer scarce.
This really makes me think about my own life and how I see many things as being so valuable or precious, that I’m willing to give them my time, my attention, and my money. However, after a few years they get old, worn down, beat up, or they become obsolete because there is a new version or new technology available.
The materials of which they are constructed, the tasks that I can perform when using them, and, in many cases, the beauty or aesthetic value has not diminished to the point where these items are worthless, but it’s just that they either become so common or something greater comes along and takes my eyes off of the value that I already have.
For me this is a great danger because we are in debt. Over the course of our lives, and especially in our marriage, we have spent more money than we have brought in; and because of that, we now owe creditors whether credit card companies family members or even banks that provide student loans
It is very important for us to make sure the we get every ounce of value and worth out of everything to which we give our attention, time, and money.
Keep in mind that the text does not tell us that the Israelites saw these things as worthless because they looked at other things and forgot the value in what they already had, or even because there was some sin or covetousness in the heart, but this was simply because there was so much wealth in the kingdom that the things that in the past were considered to be valuable, had become common.
I think it is still important to consider that it only took a short period of time for silver and gold become worthless in their society.
It makes me stop and have to examine what we put our value in and what we consider to be of great worth; and if we begin to manage our spending based on those things that are truly of great value, I think we will find the task of getting out of debt that much easier, and we will immediately put an end to impulse spending.
photo credit: Pulpolux !!!