The life of King Solomon, as recorded in the Bible, is at once glorious and frightening.
The glorious part: he met God three times, and witnessed the Holy Presence fill the temple at its dedication.
The frightening part: despite a great beginning, and despite his intimacy with God, he later married foreign women and worshipped other gods, rejecting the God who had so lavishly blessed him.
Keep that in mind as we look at some verses in this passage.
V9 A man’s heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. V12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness.
V16 How much better to get wisdom than gold.
V17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.
Solomon had wisdom. He had gold and women — lots of women!
He did not guard his heart and keep his eyes on the Lord, as David had trained and warned him.
He came to believe that his wealth and success were of his own making, forgetting that God was the source of his ultimate strength.
He ended his days worn out and cynical. As Chuck Swindoll says of Solomon, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
Thinking of Solomon has reminded me of the need to guard our hearts and not allow distractions to deflect our attention from him.
Acts 22: 22-23
This is a fascinating account of Paul’s fateful decision to rely on his status as a Roman in order to secure justice.
The notorious Paul is in Jerusalem, speaking to Jews at the temple. They are in uproar, incensed at his imagined attack on their law and tradition. He forcefully recounts his conversion and testimony.
He is arrested at the insistence of Jewish leaders, then informs the Roman tribune that he is a citizen of Rome by birth, while the tribune himself confirms that his Roman citizenship was purchased.
The parallel to Christianity is striking. We are not citizens of the empire of Rome, but citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Throughout Church history, many have sought to acquire entry to, or citizenship in, heaven through good works or even monetary means.
Properly understood, our only means of acquiring heavenly citizenship is also through birth, but instead, a new birth in Jesus.
The only guy who has read Pastor Ian’s Doctoral dissertation!