Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 9-11; 2 Chronicles 7:11-9:28
I love my job! I thank God all the time for this incredible opportunity, yet there are times when the job is so big and the responsibility so heavy! I find my heart heavy over big decisions that have to be made. I pray for the gift of God’s wisdom – the same gift He so generously gave to Solomon, and the same gift He promises to each of us, if only we will ask.
King Solomon asked for wisdom and was blessed by God with wisdom and so many more blessings. God was generous with Solomon, equipping him to lead well and blessing His people through Solomon’s leadership. Yet, as with many previous leaders, Solomon lost his focus on the source of everything good in his life. 1 Kings 11:6 says that Solomon “refused to follow the Lord COMPLETELY as his father, David, had done.”
God had given Solomon so much – wisdom and riches and honor among everyone who heard of his wisdom – yet Solomon desired what God had not given him. The Lord had specifically instructed Solomon not to marry foreign women because they would turn his heart to their gods and away from the one true God. “Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord” (1 Kings 11:2b-3).
Immediately my heart feels conviction at these words. How often have I desired what God has NOT given me instead of resting content in what He has given? I could easily change this verse to say, “Yet Sherry insisted on _____________ anyway.” Maybe it is because I am the youngest child in my family. Maybe it is because I am a stubborn and determined person. IT’S HARD NOT TO GET WHAT I WANT. Anyone with me? My nature is to want to manipulate and beg and stubbornly hold onto desires when God has already told me “No”.
God reduced Solomon’s reign to only one tribe in response to Solomon’s unfaithfulness. He then placed Jeroboam on the throne of the other ten tribes and God’s generosity was poured out on someone else besides Solomon. Solomon’s selfish decision divided God’s people. Some were still under the reign of King Solomon and some were now under the reign of King Jeroboam.
God laid out the expectations right away for Jeroboam, giving him instructions that can also help us avoid a fall such as Solomon’s.
“And I will place you on the throne of Israel, and you will rule over all that your heart desires. If you…
- Listen to what I tell you and
- Follow my ways and
- Do whatever I consider to be right, and
- If you obey my decrees and commands as my servant David did,
THEN I will always be with you.” – 1 Kings 11:37-38a
And this is where God brought me again today – to a familiar passage in 2 Chronicles. These verses popped off the page, giving me a good way to end my morning coffee time and begin my day:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy – a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart” (2 Chronicles 7:12-16).
Here is that dance of life between God and man once again. God is sovereign and He is good. We are meant to let Him take the lead in our relationship with Him. But, just like the Israelites and like King Solomon, we often pull out of His arms in a desire to do our own thing or in a gesture of pouting over God’s response to our requests. These verses we just read in 2 Chronicles are so powerful. He is God! At times He may bless us and at times He may take away His blessings in order to get us to once more call out His name, humbling ourselves and submitting to His lead.
Oh, may I not lose focus on the source of everything good in my life! Lord, you have my attention! Today I choose to follow you COMPLETELY. May I not insist on anything in my life that is not what You desire for me. Please change the desires of my heart to match what you desire for me.
Please give me wisdom as I listen to what you tell me, follow your ways, do whatever YOU consider to be right. Give me a spirit of obedience. Lord, this morning I humble myself before you and seek your face. Please forgive me, open your eyes to me and be attentive to my prayer. May your name be forever honored through my life. Today may I hear you say, “YOU ARE DEAR TO MY HEART!”