A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

PSalm 121

A song of ascents is sung by the congregation when going up to the tabernacle or temple to worship the Lord.

Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

1 Kings 3:3-5

David looked to the high places around him and saw the one and only God of Israel only at the tabernacle. David loved the tabernacle and longed to build a temple for God, but it would be Solomon who would ultimately build that permanent place.

Solomon’s reign and his worship are introduced to us with a different context, at a high place. In an indirect way, it appears the Lord almost legitimizes something the text itself disdains. The Lord visits Solomon even as he burns incense on an altar other than the one commanded through Moses. But is that really the case?

Ultimately, God’s blessing and his guidance are not limited by human understanding of God’s will. After all, Gentile kings are blessed and directed by God, even the great captor Nebuchadnezzar was elevated to that role, yes, by God. God is the one who chooses who to bless and who to judge; sometimes those people are one and the same!

When we evaluate our own worthiness, therefore, it must be on the basis of our conduct and not our apparent blessings. After all, Solomon may have built the temple, but David was a man after God’s own heart! When you ascend the hill to meet God, choose the hill he has chosen.

Ethan Kirl