Written on May 15, 2016
“As for the other events of Solomon’s reign-all he did and the wisdom he displayed-are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon?…he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father.” 1 Kings 11:41-43
Solomon built the temple of the Lord. In 1 Kings 8, he performs a beautiful dedication of the temple. Those are some of the best things you hear about Solomon in scripture. God blessed him and he accumulated riches greater than most kings have or will accumulate. And with the riches came the foreign wives with their foreign gods. Slowly, Solomon began to give his heart away to these other gods instead of surrendering his whole heart to the God who promised him and gave him everything. So God took away his kingdom.
I wonder if Solomon dwelled on the good things he had done for the kingdom. He did so much for Israel! Didn’t he stimulate the economy? Didn’t he maintain peace? Surely these would be things people would remember him for.
But now, a few thousand years later, I read the story of his life in scripture and the only thing I know is that at the end of his life, Solomon did not faithfully follow the Lord. When God decided to split the kingdom and give 10 tribes to the future king of Israel, Jeroboam, Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. He refused to accept his punishment. He refused to surrender to the will of God.
Solomon scares me because he reminds me of myself. At the beginning of his reign, Solomon followed God completely. His wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all those who came before him. The book of Proverbs is filled with his eloquent and useful teachings. How could he let the foreign gods of his wives interfere with his intimate relationship with God?
How do I let my wants, desires, tasks, and gods get in the way of my relationship with God?
It’s silly to think that we let such mundane things like daily tasks or bigger things like worldly success have such an impact on our lives. But the truth is, ALL that matters at the end of our lives is whether or not we truly and relentlessly gave our hearts to the one true God without any reserves. That’s all that will be put in the books.
Today (Saturday) we went to a banzana, or a carnival, and just hung with about 300 kids all day. We couldn’t communicate with the kids in words as they spoke Swahili and I spoke English, but I could smile and be kind. That won’t feed them tonight. That won’t guarantee that they go home to parents or even people who love them. It definitely won’t guarantee a good and prosperous life. But I loved them. And that’s all I have to give. That all any of us really have to give. And I think that loving others is a way that our wholehearted commitment to God manifests itself. I think loving others without reserves is a way we serve God without reserves.
Because in the end, that’s all that matters.