An Old Fool; July 12, 2019

1 Kings 11:4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

To me, this betrayal approaches that of Judas. Few people in history have been as blessed, as privileged as Solomon, yet somehow he forgot where all of that came from and turned to other gods. For all of his smarts in some areas, he was incredibly stupid. The very idea of “700 wives and 300 concubines,” as the previous verse specifies, is the height of absurdity. Granted, marriage was considered a tool of statecraft in those days, but with numbers like that, he couldn’t keep up with who was a wife and who wasn’t! The background for the nihilistic tone in Ecclesiastes becomes very clear. This verse specifies that Solomon’s idolatry happened “as he grew old,” but I don’t think we could chalk this up to some sort of senility. If it were medically based, his personal responsibility would be reduced at the very least, but there’s no indication of that. He just allowed the physical to blind him to spiritual reality. He himself said that “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10) That’s no recipe for spiritual maturity! Recently the news has been full of reports of someone who seems to have used his great wealth to prey on young girls. That’s one of the grave dangers of seemingly unlimited wealth, which Solomon certainly had. When you have that much, everything becomes an item to be purchased, but as Jesus said very clearly, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) Solomon ended up serving his flesh, and that was a tragedy indeed.

I have never been “rolling in money,” but I too was incredibly blessed from birth. My genetic and spiritual heritage was magnificent indeed, but like Solomon, I have tended to take it for granted, as though I somehow deserved it. You can’t earn something you’re born with! One reason Solomon’s story hits me so strongly is that I can identify with so much of it. Because I rarely struggled in school, I thought I had all the answers. Thinking back, I think I could easily have become a sociopath, but God in His grace protected me from that. Actually, my whole life is a testimony to God’s amazing grace. At this point I am at an age where stupidity would immediately classify me as “an old fool,” just as Solomon was. I need to be conscious in my choice to fear, love, and obey God, because that is true wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10)

Father, thank You again for Your grace toward me. Thank You for helping me see some of that from which You’ve protected me. I have lived much of my life in more danger than I knew! May I be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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