“And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
I Kings 11:3-4 NKJV
“Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. So he reigned over all the kings from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland. And they brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.”
II Chronicles 9:25-28 NKJV
Looking back through eyes of grace
I tell you the truth, getting old is hard. The more the years pass, and the more the pains and struggles of this life mount up, the harder it is to behave in ways that can be looked upon as godly. There was a time when I was concerned about perceptions of me, and battled internally with any misconceptions of which I became aware.
In my haggard and advancing years, I am at the point when I can say quite unequivocally that I do not care. In fact, I am finding that there is less and less that I care about with each passing day. In this day when people are canceled for the slightest thing done long ago, not caring has brought great refreshment.
I am so grateful that I serve a God who is faithful to forgive, who knows the end from the beginning, who knows that I am but dust. When the final accounting of my life is made, it will not be a listing of every sin, of every failure, but it will be a single page stamped blood red: “paid in full!”
I read the end of Solomon’s life this morning, and I found myself looking back at the account in I Kings, chapter eleven. In Kings you have the history according to man, the unblemished documenting of a glorious king brought low, with an accounting of his failures. In II Chronicles we have the view of God, looking back at Solomon’s life through eyes of grace.
Man can only see what we do, but the Lord sees our hearts. We, in our flesh see the sinfulness of others, and seek to make evaluations of their spiritual state. I know that I am guilty of this. We cannot see the heart of others as the Lord does.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
I Samuel 16:7 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, many of us are under extreme duress in these days, as economic, moral, and political pressures build up to push even the most spiritual to react at times in the flesh. Let us be like God, considering what people are enduring, and asking for the ability, through love, to see the lives of others.
Much is going to happen in coming weeks, as many bubbles are about to burst. As we press on into the coming storms, let us find confidence in knowing that we serve a loving God who knows us, and that the end of our stories is already written.
Let us put on love.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV
By showing love, we are quicker to see the human within, and in dealing with those who do not know the Lord, the sinner craving salvation. Let us also be gentle in the household of faith, considering all those we fellowship with as we go about our days of worship. We are all at different stages of spiritual development, and we are all dealing with a myriad of different things that bring great stress.
Consider each one as a work in progress, completed only upon death, or the coming of Jesus. Let us pray for those who are struggling, especially those in opposition, for we were all in opposition to Jesus before He saved us. We are all in an eternal race, and we must pray that each of us finish well.
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