kingsolomon

Day 31- 1 Kings 7-16

Solomon started his reign as king very well. He loved the Lord and obeyed Him in everything. One day the Lord appeared to Solomon and asked him what he wanted. The Lord was prepared to give him anything. Solomon could have asked for riches beyond measure or even long life. Instead Solomon asked for wisdom and understanding to rule the nation. This pleased the Lord so much, that He decided to not only grant Solomon wisdom but also riches and fame that he did not ask for.

True to His Word, we find Solomon’s fame spread. Even the famed Queen of Sheba wanted to find out if what she has been hearing about Solomon was true; as it sounded too good to be true. From the moment she arrived, she was overwhelmed by Solomon’s wisdom. Everything was of the highest of standards, from the food on the table, to the utensils used, to even the organization of his officials, to the point the Queen of Sheba was so overwhelmed.

Solomon’s riches kept growing. Every year he would receive over 25 000Kg of gold. He became the richest and the wisest king the world has ever seen. The Lord indeed kept His promise.

Unfortunately Solomon had a serious weakness. In 1 Kings 11, the bible tells us that Solomon loved many foreign women. In fact he married as many as 700 wives, all of royal birth and 300 concubines. The Lord had instructed Israel not to marry foreign women, as they would sway their hearts from Him. This was one thing Solomon disobeyed the Lord in and it ultimately led him to leave the Lord.

For the love of these women, Solomon slowly turned his heart from the Lord and began worshipping the gods of his many wives. In fact he even built temples dedicating to these gods. In His mercy, the Lord appeared twice to Solomon and warned him about these counterfeit gods yet Solomon refused to listen. In the end, the wisest man who ever lived, the man who wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”, did not heed his own wisdom, because he allowed counterfeit gods (women) to steal his heart.

It’s a case of would have, could have and should have….Even though Solomon was the wisest and richest king the world has ever seen, he never did hit the peak of what God wanted to lead him to. Unlike his father David, Solomon never did hit his prime and fulfill his destiny. I wonder what would have happened if Solomon had continued to trust in the Lord with all of his heart.

Day 12- Proverbs 30- Eccl 12

                                  Vanity of vanities; all is vanity! 

Solomon is the Preacher of Ecclesiastes. Solomon had every opportunity to examine life in its complexities given the choices he made.

Ecclesiastes is the record of his intense search for the true meaning and satisfaction here on earth. Sadly despite being the wisest man on earth, he did not take his own advice and did life away from God. He amassed wealth, became the most powerful and influential man on earth at that time, and gave himself to every pleasure imaginable, in his search for meaning of life. When his search finally came to the end, his conclusion was apart from God, everything else ends in vanity; fruitless, futile, empty. In his own words he says, “Pleasure …is vanity…laughter….is mad…silver and gold…wisdom…the labour that I had laboured to do…all is vanity….there is no profit under the sun (2:1-11)

No matter how much power, prestige and pleasure one has, it can never fill what Pascal described as “the God shaped vacuum” in everyone of us. Solomon focuses on the futility of life under the sun draws the only conclusion and that is the ultimate satisfaction comes only when we fear, honour and obey the Lord.  He alone can put life together into a meaningful whole.

If life to you seems meaningless, then you could be on the verge of the greatest discovery of your life. God has many ways of drawing you to Himself. Max Lucado calls Him the “Hound of History”; He will hunt you down….He will pursue you. With Job He used tragedy; with David He used the life of a fugitive and with Solomon, He used emptiness of existence on earth.

Sadly, throughout the Book of Ecclesiastes, the personal name of the Lord is never used. Instead the Hebrew word used to describe God is the word Creator of the universe. Solomon is not speaking of God that he knows personally but God who is far above that personally know.

Has your emptiness led you to know the personal God or just the God of the universe?   

 

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Write down what words of wisdom have really been resonating with you lately.

I can’t recall which day it was but it was on one of the hard days I had in the past two weeks that brought me to a small revelation: the book of Ecclesiastes is the book of wisdom. I truly agree with King Solomon: everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1). I read the first eight chapters in one setting & I have carried much of it with me since that day. King Solomon had the most wisdom, the most money, & probably the most pleasure in those days, but he concluded that all of those is just vanity.

Ecclesiastes can depress some people but there is a cynical aspect of it that resonates with me & I appreciate how honest Solomon is for that. He acknowledges that life is beautiful & good, & encourages us to eat & drink & make merry. But he also reminds us to never place expectations on things that are temporal. I found my love for this book because I was suddenly able to see that Ecclesiastes was ultimately a balance of pessimism & certainty. Even in Solomon’s desperate search for meaning & significance in life, God remained present as the obvious answer & his only hope. Solomon was fully aware that the Lord is better than wisdom, money & pleasure, & like a drunk grandfather giving advice, Ecclesiastes tells us to try to keep that in mind if we want a shot at any happiness at all.

& with so little in my life right now, I should simply be thankful for God’s presence because He is essentially everything I would ever need. The temporary should never bother me.

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