March 18, 2015

1 Kings 8:23 “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

Solomon has always been one of the most tragic figures in the whole Bible to me. He had every advantage, and indeed started so well, yet he finished so badly, saved from utter destruction only by residual blessings due to his father David. On significant occasions he indeed spoke Biblical truth, as here, yet he failed to live out to the end the very truth his own mouth had spoken. Here he speaks of “your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way,” yet he himself wandered from that way, blinded by conceit, pride, and pleasure. I don’t think he ever could have been described as an atheist, but he practiced functional atheism in his later years. That is, he perhaps spoke of the Creator, but he acted as though He didn’t really exist, participating in active idolatry with his multiple foreign wives. His wisdom is often referenced, but to me, anyone who would take that many wives in the first place didn’t have “a lick of sense,” to use an old expression. It was a point of pride for a ruler to have “reproductive success,” and it was a tool of diplomacy to marry the daughters of foreign rulers. Solomon didn’t have the wisdom to get past that kind of thinking, accepting such things as his “rightful due,” and it did him in.

I have thankfully not extended my hands to multiple women as Solomon did, but conceit and entitlement have been traps for me none the less. My father was true in every way to my mother, in contrast to David’s multiple wives, so I had a much better example in that area. However, school studies were always easy for me, and sports were about the only area in which I couldn’t excel if I set my mind to it. I became familiar with the words of the Bible but didn’t submit myself to what it said, as something of a “poster child” for self-deception, as James spoke of. (James 1:22) God in His great mercy opened my eyes and brought me back to Himself, or I would have ended up much as Solomon did. Today I am very grateful to have learned that God’s smart and I’m not, whatever well-meaning people tell me or the devil whispers in my ear. I need to focus on being as faithful a steward as possible of the things the Lord has placed in my hands, always seeking His will, His guidance, because I know I make a mess of things on my own. I am to speak His Word with assurance, but never think I can interject anything He’s not saying. I am to walk in gratitude and obedience, for His glory.

Father, thank You again for Your grace, mercy, and patience. May I be an instrument of that grace, mercy, and patience toward those to whom I minister, leading them into obedient fellowship with You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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