Hi everyone, Rob here. I got in trouble this morning. Husbands, you know the kind of trouble I mean. The kind where you get hit by a hurricane that you had no idea was coming. However, in hindsight you realise that you may have been a little foolish with your words and actions! Yep, I said a really dumb and careless thing this morning to a wife that’s been working hard, feeling stressed and is just a little on edge. I copped it and it was a fair cop. Ohhh, how I long for a wise and discerning heart!
That is what Solomon prayed for in 1 Kings 3:9 and God granted his request along with wealth and honour so “that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings (1 Kings 3:13).” His wisdom became so great that people travelled from all over the world to listen to him. And yet it all went so wrong for Solomon in the end. He married foreign women who “turned his heart after other gods (1 Kings 11:4).” Division arose in his kingdom, largely due to his oppressive labour laws while building the Temple and his palace (which took nearly twice as long as the Temple to build). He filled his palace with gold, ivory, exotic animals, silver and cedar. It seemed to be a massive exercise in hubris – destructive pride; the kind that comes before a fall.
Why do we do this to ourselves? We get given gifts by God and then forget that it was him who gave them to us. We start believing that we are the centre of the story and the lord of our lives. Solomon was given great wisdom but finished his life as a fool because he forgot why he needed wisdom in the first place: “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties (1 Kings 3:7).”
In order to keep growing in wisdom and discernment we also need to keep growing in humility and dependence. Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Luke 18:17).” Solomon’s story gives us new insight into Jesus’ words. Solomon lost his childlike wonder and desperate need for God. Fame and wealth fooled him into thinking that he created his own success. Instead of practicing thankfulness to the One who had lavished such gifts on him, he made himself the centre of his story. Israel became a divided nation because of the foolish pride of Solomon.
This morning was a lesson to me. I need God always. I need to be alive in him, awake to him and dependent on him. He is my life and he is my wisdom. I am reminded of John 15:4, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” I apologised for my rudeness and flippancy. I can’t fix all that is going on in my beloved’s heart but I can be God’s vessel of love and grace if I surrender my heart to his. If I practice humility instead of pride then we can be one under God, but if we choose independence then our unity is seriously threatened. Pride certainly does come before a fall.
Father, protect us, humble us and lead us. Raise up our childlike hearts and preserve our wonder and dependence on you. May we come to Jesus with joy and with open arms to receive his embrace. Amen.