Monday, March 15, 2010
While at Chick-Fil-A today Lili and I met three little boys named Jeremiah, Benjamin, and Solomon. The last whose name reminded me of some scripture God called to my attention last week during some of my study and prayer time. I was just thumbing through the Old Testament reading over some scriptures I had highlighted in the past when I noticed a startling difference between two seperate verses describing different phases of King Solomon's walk with God, and I became very disturbed, almost haunted by what the verses communicated. Let's look first at 1 Kings 7:41-43 As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come to a distant land because of your name-for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm-when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the people's of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel and may know that this house I have built bears your name. In these words of Solomon's I hear a heart for lost people and a whole-hearted dedication to the God of Israel for whom he had erected an ornate temple in obedience to the detailed specifications laid out in earlier chapters of 1 kings which he had received. His obedience as obedience always does speaks of a deep faith born most likely of his father, David's example, but later in Solomon's life we , sadly, see a completely different portrait of the same man. 1 Kings 11 1-3 &6, 11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women...They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites,"You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods. Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love....and his wives led him astray....So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord. he did not follow the Lord completely......So the Lord said to Solomon,"Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your subordinates. Whew, I almost feel sorry for him, I mean, he started out so strong in his faith, but because he refused to completely submit to the Lord, he lost his blessing:( It seems the Lord doesn't give a holy crap how grand Solomon's early gesture of faith was. He was only concerned with the current attitude of Solomon's heart, and once again, no matter how much we hate it, the attitude God desires from our hearts is total and complete submission...partial doesn't cut it! He wants us to obey even when its scary or uncomfortable and definitely when we don't want to because obedience in such areas communicates something even greater than submission...love and trust, so personally, what this spoke to me was, Cori, don't rest your faith and your relationship with God on past faithfulness, but rather be TOTALLY faithful with what God has given you NOW! My temple experience with God otherwise known as my grand gesture of faith was when I quit my job givong up its financial security to pursue whatever God called me to which happpened to be writing a book that shared my spiritual testimony up to that point. I have to admit that after having my book published and settling into life serving in the church youth ministry I got comfortable with the idea that I HAD BEEN FAITHFUL, but these scriptures clearly tell us that God isn't concerned with what I WAS...He wants faithfulness in the HERE AND NOW, and who says we can only build one temple in our lifetime? Through this blog, I hope to be establishing the foundations for the second structure in my life that bears Jesus' name! Now, I'm by no means, intending to communicate that for a gesture to be grand it must seem big to anyone outside the intimate circle that is you and God. You and God know what is grand in terms of your life experiences and talents. It may simply be making amends with a long time grudge or submitting to his will in an area of your life in which you have obstinately insisted on your way to your own detriment for years, or it may be submitting to his call to serve him in spite of your insecurities that have encouraged you to resist him in the past. Basically, what he is saying to us through this scripture is FINISH STRONG! Don't, like Solomon, start out your relationship with him all ablaze with fire and passion using your life to build grand structures that attract others to God by bearing his name only to die out to barely an ember of partial committment in the later days of your walk because no matter how grand your early gestures of love and committment may have been only the attitude of your heart in the here and now ensure God's blessing on your life. No matter what you've done in the past, if you refuse to submit in the present, don't be surprised if one day God justly tears the kingdom away from you. This brings to mind,Phillipians 3:12 Not that I have attained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I love this verse because it speaks of the effort necessary to grow and maintain a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Not to say that its something we can do that saves us because scripture is very clear that it is only by the grace of God that we are saved, but I do believe scripture clearly communicates a measure of active involvement and willful action is needed on our part to mature beyond infancy as children of God, and if a child is not properly nourished, we know he/she becomes weak to the point of death, so how can this not apply to our souls if we knowingly cut ourselves off from our source of spiritual nourishment by disobedience and half-hearted committment. Listen, once again, to Paul in Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Let's make this same committment with Paul to FINISH STRONG accomplishing that or those tasks for which God created us and called us to himself. Solomon got lazy resting on his past faithfulness and failed to remain faithful to the end of the race. He didn't continue to press on in service and committment to the Lord and his lacksidasical, half-hearted attitude left him vulnerable to temptation, and he fell away from God after a strong start....don't let your story mirror his!