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Monday, July 1, 2013

How to be Smarter than King Solomon

I was reading 1 King 11 when a passage stood out like never before. Over the next few days I continued to ponder it.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. 1 Kings 11:4-6 NIV (emphasis mine)

In the chapter prior we read that the Queen of Sheba praised Solomon for his wisdom- she even gave credit to God for it, but a few verses later we see that even though Solomon had all this wisdom, he still wasn’t smart enough to stay dedicated to the one true God. 

Quick lessons from this text:

1.        Intelligence/wisdom doesn’t guarantee commitment to God.
2.        Having Godly parents doesn’t guarantee your own faith will be strong.
3.        And having everything handed to you doesn’t mean you will appreciate it.

A)      Solomon had wisdom beyond measure and he still turned from God.
B)       Solomon had David for an example (both good and bad) and he still didn’t honor God.
C)       Solomon had riches beyond our wildest imaginations as well as accomplishments no one else could boast of, but even all this wasn’t enough to ensure his commitment would remain strong to the God who had blessed him so lavishly.

This leads me to ask:

1.        What are you counting on to keep you faithful?
2.        How do you ensure your foundation remains in place and isn’t taken over by weeds?
3.        Are there things you need to let go of because they’re pulling you away from God?
4.        Do you need to repent and turn back to God? If so, you can take heart that God hears and He forgives- no questions asked, no justifications needed.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

God’s grace is what David clung to. He was far from perfect and yet he’s the only one described as a man after God’s own heart. It wasn’t David’s heroics or victories that made him special in God’s sight; it was that his heart longed to be near God. When it wasn’t, when the idol of selfishness crept in, David was willing to be corrected and to seek God. He expressed genuine repentance and this pleased God. 

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does want us to continually seek Him. 

This wasn’t news to Solomon. He knew his father’s deeds. That David had committed adultery and tried to cover it up by murder. That he wasn’t the best father. In fact, David seemed to ignore when one son raped his daughter. He even took a census when he was instructed not to. Solomon knew all of this and more about his dad. But it wasn’t just his dad’s faults he knew. He knew how his dad praised God. He knew how his dad prayed, fasted and sought God.

Yet even with all of these examples, even with all his wisdom, Solomon still ignored God.  He intermarried those he wasn’t supposed to and let his heart be turned away. 

It’s easy to judge him. Having a couple thousand years perspective makes that easy.

It’s harder to look into our own lives and see the temples we’ve constructed to the gods in our lives. 

Maybe our temples are our homes, our cars, our careers, our bodies. 

Maybe our gods are self, money, fame, pride, good health, status.

The list goes on and on.

It doesn’t really matter what they are, they’re an abomination if they are keeping you from fully following the Lord.

Yes, we will all mess up. David’s a great example of a total mess up. But he’s also the perfect example of God’s unending grace and love.  (please tweet)

We can’t earn God’s mercy and grace.

We can’t justify ourselves in His sight.

We simply must cling to the promises of God, to His character and trust that God never changes.

He’s the same God today as He was with David.

So if you need to let go of some idols, if you need to repent, please do so.

The only thing holding you back is you.

A)      You’ll never be smart enough to get into heaven.
B)       You’ll never be talented enough to win your way into heaven.
C)       You’ll never be rich enough to buy your way into heaven.
D)      And the only family it matters that you’re born into is the family of God. That’s the only family going to heaven and genetics has nothing to do with it, only the cross and what you do with it matters.

Be smarter than Solomon, forsake your idols and turn back to God.

God’s waiting!

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