Thursday, February 23, 2012


I was studying Solomon last week for some writing that I do and an element of his life really peaked my interest.

The book of first Kings opens with the curtain coming to a close on King David's life and his son, Solomon, being appointed as the successor to the throne. Chapter 3 begins and tells us that Solomon loved the Lord. That he walked in his father's footsteps but then we are given a description that will ultimately define Solomon's legacy, "he also made sacrifices and offerings to other gods." He had a dream and the Lord said to him: "Ask for whatever you want, and it will be yours." Solomon's response was humble and admirable to say the least.  He acknowledged God's provision and protection to his father and asked only for wisdom on how to be a good king to his people. This pleased the Lord greatly. He honored the request and along with it gave wealth and fame beyond what any other had ever known.

Just a few short chapters later is where the plot thickens. In the opening of chapter 11 we find Solomon with quite a menagerie. 700 wives, princesses and 300 concubines. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure of the difference between a wife and a concubine, but however you shake the thing down, the only word available to describe the situation is excess!

The scripture says he clung to them (the wives) in love. (1 Kings 11:2) He loved them so much that eventually they turned his heart away from the undivided devotion to the one true God, the very foundation of his childhood training and experience as a Jew. What in the world would make a man cling to a lifestyle of this level of excess? How do you get to a place where your heart is attached to this kind of extravagant living? And was 1000 enough? I would guess not.

I began to think about David's childhood and what that must have been like as a shepherd. Scripture records that he had an experiential and intimate relationship with God. (1 Samuel 17:33-37) And then I began to think about what Solomon's childhood must have been like growing up as royalty.  Blessed and without want I would assume. I am in no way trying to paint a picture about money or lifestyle, but I am trying to suggest that David felt satisfied in God. And I think Solomon was still looking for something. With everything at his disposal and whim, what was he still missing?

In his blessed and bountiful upbringing, and wisdom and wealth filled reign, over time he forgot the connection that all he had the Lord had provided. Instead he bound his heart to what could not satisfy.

One moral of the story is that wrecked lives happen slowly. No one wakes up and says: Today, I will ruin my life and destroy all I have.  I don't believe one acquires 1000 women and comes to love them with a love that would deny all upbringing overnight. This dulling of the senses and out of control appetite I imagine snuck in slowly.  That's often the way the enemy lures us away. One glance at a time until our hearts our given fully to something other than Jesus.

It made me consider what sorts of excess is in my life. I don't really want to tell you about my craft room. The fact alone that I have a whole room in the house for crafts, sewing and the like suggests I might possibly, maybe just a little bit, be dealing with a smidge of .... lets call it blessing! Grin. Oh conviction. Lets move on. haha And I surely don't want to confess how many countless hours am I spending on FB and Twitter and Pintrest gathering thoughts and quotes, recipes and ideas. All with good intentions, mind you. I want to connect with people, have great nuggets of wisdom, and make something fun and creative for my family and friends. Side note here, Pintrest may or may not be contributing to my "craft room."Anybody else on Pintrest feel a little bit like a virtual Hoarder?  Is that going to be the next TLC show?  HA! I digress. The fact is, after a quick peak at my own life,  I'm sure not ready to fight for some grounds for accusation at the lifestyle of what was the wisest man on earth.  

But really, what's going on here? What is it that makes us constantly want more? Why does it seem at times we are never satisfied in a space where clearly, abundance flows? 

Solomon had no comparison. There was none wiser, none richer, none more famous. If I crafted and sewed every day from now till next Christmas, I wouldn't be able to use all I had, or run out of ideas or connections for more ideas. The excess is profound. 

But I don't believe that excess is the problem. We serve a God who is able to do exceeding above all we can think or imagine. And he tells us that when we give it will be given back to us; pressed down, shaken together and running over. I think the issue at hand is our appetite. I believe God made us to crave and that there is no fault in desire. The key is however, what is it that we are going to try to fill ourselves with? I think Solomon was keenly aware of the empty hole. His own words in Proverbs say 'above all else a man desires unfailing love.' What I think that David understood more than Solomon was that God alone is the only one who is unfailing. Here are some of David's thoughts in the Psalms: 
Your steadfast love is better than life. 
My soul will be satisfied (in you) as with fat and rich food.  
My soul clings to you. 
The old saying 'you can't fit a square peg in a round hole' is true. God made us to crave, but the only thing that deeply satisfies is Him. Things of coarse will always fail us somehow even if only in getting old. And one does not have to live much life at all to realize that people, even 1000, will fail us also.  It is against this backdrop of unfulfilled excess that there is a new sweetness to Jesus' words: 
                                   "My grace is enough for you."

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

1 comment:

MarySue said...

Funny. Our group came to the same conclusion about David and Solomon last night! Hmmmm.

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