By: Dr. Mark O’Farrell, College President.
In the Christian experience, there is plenty of room for personal choice … what you wear, where you live, the vehicle you drive, the trips you take, and on and on. Naturally, one should be praying with regard to these decisions, but there is room for personal preference. However, there is something EVERY BELIEVER MUST DO! This is a MUST! This requirement came to me in a new way as I was traveling through 1 Kings. I was enjoying again the simplicity and desires of Solomon, his pursuit of God’s will, his humility and his proclaimed need for God’s leadership and guidance. The Lord ‘appeared to him’ twice, giving unusual awareness of His Presence but also clear blessings for his submission. I read of Solomon’s Wisdom and Wealth, the acknowledgement of nations around him, the comments of the Queen of Sheba, and so much more. Then I read 1 Kings 11 … I was stunned new and afresh! When you read 1 Kings 11:1-8, your heart breaks … what has happened? The Bible says he loved many foreign women. The Bible says he was ‘deeply attached to these women in love.’ He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 were concubines, and they turned his heart away. (1 Kings 11:2 CSB) And then this Scripture appears: “When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been … he did not remain loyal to the Lord.” 1 Kings 11:4-6 CSB. My dear reader … This cannot happen to you or to me! How was this possible with so much blessing, divine direction, and amazing provisions of wealth and wisdom? My mind raced for reasons and here are a few. They are to be ‘warnings for you and me.’ Here they are:
1. The ‘push and pull’ of people outside God’s family or pretending to be in God’s family. I call it ‘PEOPLE PULL or POWER.’ They overwhelm you and take charge. Their interests, purposes, and desires are not yours or God’s!
2. The magnetism of desire and feeling not guided by God’s Word. Literally, Solomon disobeyed the Lord’s command. 1 Kings 11:2. Clear as can be! No doubt, he was honored and every human wish was put before Him. He did not say ‘NO!’ And think of this … he had everything one could possibly want before all this happened!
3. The deceitfulness of Evil. Evil slips in unawares … quickly, quietly, but consistently. One thinks that it can be handled but it grows and grows. It overwhelms, distorts, and conquers. It weakens common sense, correctness, and strengths of all sorts.
4. Self-Authority and Control. Solomon was King. You think you are King, BUT!! Life is about Choice. Man needs outside help to make the right choice regardless of the position in life.
5. Lack of proper Focus. Solomon lost focus. Other ‘things’ captured his attention. We cannot lose focus. The plain thing is the main thing and the main thing is the plain thing.
Other things are flashing through my mind and heart about this decision Solomon made, however, ‘WE MUST REMAIN LOYAL.’ A plethora of challenges are coming on the church and culture. We must remain true to what we have always believed. I have much to say on this but ‘STAY BY THE STUFF!’ Do not drift as the writer of Hebrews has stated. Reflect on his word:
“…We must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1 CSB And This Will Preach!