Thursday 11 February 2010

Bible Book:
1 Kings

"For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David." (v.4)

1 Kings 11:4-13 Thursday 11 February 2010


This section of 1 Kings, beginning with the Temple dedicationand continuing through to Solomon's death at the end of chapter 11,charts a steady and catastrophic change in Solomon's attitude andhis reign. He began his kingship requesting nothing more thanwisdom from God, but here it ends with him seeking to murder hisadversary who appears in fact to have been called by God (1Kings 11:29-31).

Solomon's rather dubious use of his wealth in chapter 10 is matchedby a marked shift in his attitude to his household and personallife, and as his list of wives increases, we are told that hisattention turned to "other gods". Indeed his commitment to God'scovenant seems to dissolve altogether when he rebuilds preciselythe type of altars which his ancestors were called to eradicate.The king who began by praising God's covenant of love ends his lifewith fear and murderous intent in his heart. The story is atimeless example of the challenges faced by those called to liveout their faith in positions of great power and influence.

Nonetheless, chapter 11 is also a powerful picture of God's loveand patience with God's own people. Although Solomon is told thekingdom will be taken from him, God promises to preserve one tribein the hands of Solomon's son. Solomon may have failed to honourhis covenant promise but God is portrayed as reluctant to abandonthe people altogether.

In a world of great challenge and complexity, and at a time whenthe Church is facing difficult changes and choices, it isencouraging to see even in these most ancient of texts that God isfaithful and that God's power and providence can redeem thegreatest of humanity's errors and weaknesses. What matters is notthat we succeed in being perfect but rather that we strive to beall that God asks of us, and through the complexities of our humandesires and intentions, trust God's will to be worked out.

To Ponder

What does having a heart 'devoted to the Lord'mean for you?

How important are our own decisions if we believeGod's purposes are always worked out anyway?

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