Diligence; June 29, 2017

1 Kings 4:29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.

This description of Solomon would put him right up there with Newton in terms of intellect and knowledge. Verse 33 indicates that he had an insatiable curiosity, matched with good skills of observation. Since he was also a poet and musician, that would make him the very definition of a polymath, someone who is gifted in every area. This verse specifies that it was God who gave him these abilities, which is a very important observation. He seems to have made good use of his abilities, but Ecclesiastes would indicate that he died a rather bitter old man. I think the problem was that he put too much stock in what was said about him and to him. It’s not that those things weren’t true, it’s that he lost his focus of dependence on God. There was literally no one to tell him “No” about anything. His father David had Nathan and Gad as God’s representatives to him, but there is no clear indication Solomon had anyone he listened to that way. That is dangerous indeed. Church history is littered with people who got that way, seeming to serve God but gradually losing their ability to hear Him because of their focus on their own interests, plans and desires. What happened to them was varied, but none of it was good. God gives abundant gifts to each of His children, but if we forget where they came from and fail to seek Him as to how they are to be used, we close our ears and our hearts to Him, and that is dangerous indeed.

This is certainly an issue for me, though definitely not on the scale of Solomon. I was in college before I can remember struggling with anything in school, and my problems in college were entirely of my own making by presumption and laziness. I have been able to do a wide variety of things, but I have had little patience with things I couldn’t do easily right off the bat. That certainly hasn’t been good. I have known intellectually that my abilities were gifts, but haven’t followed through very well in diligent stewardship of them. About the only thing I have really stuck with has been daily devotions! That’s a good start, but it’s no more than a start. It’s late in my life to learn diligence, but I must no longer shy away from it. I’m grateful that God has enabled me to be fairly diligent in marriage. I have certainly reaped abundant rewards from that! I have no idea how many years – or days, even – the Lord has for me yet on this earth, but I am to receive each moment as a gift from Him, to be used as He intends, for His pleasure and glory. Anything less puts me at risk of going the way of Solomon, and I certainly don’t want that.

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Help me not slough it off, but rather apply it diligently. There’s that word again! I do want to hear Your words of approval to me, (Matthew 25:21) and I know that faithful obedience is the only way to that. At the same time, I know that on my own, that’s not how I will live. I ask You to keep me on track, helping me hear You and at the same time recognize and resist the traps of the devil, no matter how subtle. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) 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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