Thursday, May 14, 2015

the last good words

Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.
1 Kings 10:9

This was one of the last good things that was said about Solomon. It comes from the lips of the gentile queen of Sheba as she picks Solomon's brain for answers to her questions. His fame, greatness, wisdom, and wealth were all greater than she imagined, and apparently she was herself a very wealthy and influential ruler. She praised God at the end of her Jerusalem tour, realizing Yahweh's blessing was creating the remarkable reign of Solomon. She knew Solomon's blessing by God called him to higher duties than just sitting on a throne. But alas, Solomon quickly fell from that call to administer justice and righteousness in Israel.

He fell morally, "loving many foreign women". His vast harem of concubines and politically arranged multiple marriages was in direct disobedience to God's clear command to the nation (1 Kings 11:1-2). This was instrumental in a spiritual decline as he first allowed his wives to worship foreign idols, and then joined them in their idolatrous worship and practices (1 Kings 11:3-8).

This led to national security issues. Enemies began to align against Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-25). This is ironic, because this was exactly what all those marriages were supposed to prevent! Political turmoil from outside the nation marked the ending years of Solomon's rule. Strife also arose internally as Jeroboam was divinely sent by God to lead a faction of Israelites who were dissatified with Solomon's cruel policies of forced labor among his own people. The kingdom crumbled as Solomon's character crumbled. It is a sad degeneration from what the queen of Sheba once praised God to witness.

As hard as it is to observe the last good words about Solomon, his decline is a warning to guard my own heart. Rusting out is a greater danger than just blatently turning away from God. Christians must watch out for the subtle erosions that our actions and choices may bring. God knows I could rust out and if I am not careful, I will do it without noticing. It is one reason why I begin my mornings looking to Him. It is more than a habit. It is corrosion inspection time.

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