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I sympathize with all of the people in our church who struggle to read the Old Testament. They trudge through books like 1 Kings and wonder, Just what exactly am I supposed to take away from the life of Solomon? Here’s a guy whose life is nothing like ours—fabulously wealthy, married to 1,000 women, ruling over half the ancient world, renowned for his wisdom. Then he crashes and burns in a blaze of phenomenally foolish glory.
It makes for an interesting story. But what is that to me?
Key - Problem - People - Stories - OT
The key problem most people have when reading stories like this is that they try to jump right from the OT character to themselves. So, Solomon made some terrible decisions, inevitably becomes the application: Don’t be an idiot like Solomon was. You could do worse, I guess. But that’s not the primary lesson of Solomon’s life. The writer of 1-2 Kings doesn’t want us to follow the path of Solomon. But it’s not simply because Solomon made foolish decisions at the end of his life.
We tend to think our problem is educational. We don’t know precisely the right way to go, so we want God to show us. But Solomon had more wisdom in his noggin than any of us. It didn’t help. The problem wasn’t with head knowledge but with heart-level obedience.
Problem - Way - God - Law - Railroad
That’s our problem, too. It’s not that we are oblivious to the right way to go; it’s that we lack the will to do it. God’s law is like railroad tracks pointing us where we ought to go. But we are like engineless train cars sitting on those tracks. We can see where we should go, but we lack the power to get there. Just like Solomon.
We don’t need more education to fill our minds. We need resurrection for our disobedient hearts.
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