1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against you–for there is no one who does not sin–…”
Solomon really doubles down on the subject of repentance. Paul was hardly being original when he wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) This becomes a problem for the believer when we shrug off our own sin and say, at least to ourselves, “Well, everybody sins.” I think that’s one of the things that happened to Solomon. The consequences for his sins hit his descendants more than they hit him, at least in this life, so he didn’t recognize the severity of his sins. Here he’s using defeat in battle and subsequent captivity as an example of the consequences of sin, but nothing so drastic happened to him personally, so he thought he was OK doing whatever he felt like. He didn’t realize that the emotional and spiritual emptiness so evident in Ecclesiastes was a consequence of his turning away from God. He needed to repent just as much as the hypothetical people he talks about in his prayer! We can be such experts at deceiving ourselves! (James 1:22) This is a major reason for the importance of appropriate, timely discipline in parenting. If we wait too long to apply appropriate punishment, the child will lose the connection between his actions and the pain. And yes, I’m talking about physical punishment, because “time-outs” and the like are far less effective. Abuse is never justified, but many discussions can be had on what constitutes abuse. It is only when we grasp that our actions bring us something that we really don’t want that we change our behavior. Personalities differ widely. Some people, from children to adults, are so sensitive that a strong word can bring them to tears, and nothing more is required. Others require something far more drastic! It is up to the parents to discern what is effective for which child, but they must remember that the goal is changed behavior, that is, genuine repentance.
I well remember when my parents applied the “time-out” method with me. (They called it a “thinking session.”) I would have to sit in a chair, isolated, for a specified period of time. Quite frankly, that never bothered me at all, because I had a very active imagination, and I would just sit there and go on adventures in my mind! One of the most effective examples of discipline I’ve been close to was the first time our older daughter “threw a fit,” lying on the floor and kicking and yelling because she wasn’t getting her way. She happened to be in our kitchen at the time. In a burst of divine inspiration, Cathy, while standing at the sink, drew a glass of water and dumped it on our daughter. In total shock, our daughter quit her “fit” and behaved, and she never took that course again. Interestingly, when her younger sister seemed about to do such a thing a few years later, she told her, “Don’t do that. You’ll get water thrown on you.” Our younger daughter never lay on the floor and kicked, either! I wish God’s corrections of me had been that effective! There have been times when I have recognized an unpleasant thing as being the consequence of sin, but all too often I’ve been oblivious. I see more similarities between me and Solomon than I like to admit! I need to acknowledge sin and practice genuine repentance, that is, fully turning away from the sin, so that I may be the son and the servant my Father desires.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the time of singing hymns with Cathy last night. Several were quite moving, and I woke up with one on my mind this morning. Help me indeed not deceive myself, but rather walk in the full obedience You desire of me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!