Oh Solomon.

4/25
((from Natalie))

Sometimes we can’t even follow our own advice. Okay, maybe not just sometimes… more like often. Alright alright! More like… on a daily basis.
Christians blow it all the time. We put the “hip” in hypocrite.

Being a parent makes me keenly aware of just how easy it is to say one thing and do the other. I preach that “you can have self-control” to my boundary-pushing 4 year-old in one breath, and then turn around and buy another throw pillow just because it’s on sale (a pillow that I don’t need and I know my husband will hate, btw). I tell my first-grader that he can “be patient” and then growl because I missed the green light when I’m running late to ______ (everything).

The Bible is full of hypocrites too. Take Solomon, for instance. He was an Old Testament hero, a king described as “fabulously wealthy and wise” and he had it all: a stellar genealogy (son of David) with God’s blessing and will laid out for him, super-duper brains, a kingdom to rule over, skills with the ladies, he could make it rain with his riches, and he even had some endearing humility too.  In short, the guy was healthy, wealthy and wise.   He had all the faith and resources one could need to live a holy life, but in the reality of his human condition, he messed up.  He said one thing and did the opposite. Hypocrite.

Solomon’s knowledge is on display in the Bible as the author of Song of Solomon and he’s also credited to have penned Proverbs.

“Drink water from your own well—
    share your love only with your wife.
Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?
 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.”
              Proverbs 5:15-17

That’s what Solomon said, but what did he do? Well, later in life he had 700 wives and 300 concubines! And in doing so, he opened himself to women who worshipped other Gods. And then this happened:

“The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.  He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. So now the Lord said to him, ‘Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.  But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.’” 1 Kings 11:9-13

God wasn’t happy with Solomon. And Solomon faced consequences as a result of his sin.  The consequences were severe, but do you see the grace? God loved Solomon and David and all of his chosen people. God was not finished with Solomon. Late in his life Solomon was used to write the book of Ecclesiastes where he reflected on all of his pursuits he chased after for fulfillment on this side of eternity. He described them all as meaningless, “like chasing the wind.” At the end of the book he says:

“That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Here I am writing for a devotional about hope and guess what I am….
I am a hypocrite, just like Solomon.

I know the commands from God that are meant to direct us toward a holy, fulfilled, and fruitful life. I know where my Hope should be. But what do I do? I put my hope in the wrong things and I let envy take over my heart. I chase after the wind and sometimes I even abandon hope altogether.  (Hope-o-crite?)

Hope is hard. And Christians, in our human condition, we fail. So what do we do?
I’ve found that my perseverance is dependent upon others. If I am going to war against hopelessness than I need to connect to someone else. I’ve got to connect myself to someone who will pray for the miracles that my heart is too burdened to ask for. When I face temptation, turn away from the Lord, or sin, I need someone else to hold me accountable to God Himself. When I’ve failed, I need someone to pull me back to the path toward holiness. We Christian hypocrites, if our souls are to survive the human condition, we need one another not just to start us out, but to help us finish well. As the wise and imperfect Solomon said:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

Where are you living or believing contrary to Scripture? Who can you reach out to that will help pull you away from hypocrisy and back toward the Giver of wisdom and truth?

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