The weekly women’s Bible study I attend is currently studying the books of I and II Kings. I admit to never studying the Old Testament much past the Pentateuch (the first five books). I also admit that when I heard our study this year was going to focus on the Kings, I was disappointed. What relevance could these books possibly have for my life today?
Well, in two words . . . A LOT.
You see, King Solomon had a divided heart. He loved and acknowledged God. Early in his reign as king, he even requested wisdom from God, and God was pleased to grant wisdom as well as material wealth and success. But prosperity soon brought complacency, and Solomon became distracted by worldly pleasures.
I Kings 11:4 says, "His heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God." A few verses later, I Kings 11:6 says, "So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord."
Did you catch that little word "wholly"? 50% isn’t good enough. 95% isn’t even good enough. God wants 100% of our hearts and our minds.
Solomon knew God. But he allowed himself to become preoccupied with worldly distractions. At the end of his life, he had disobeyed every command God had given him, and he was even blatantly worshiping other gods.
Shocking? Well, it shouldn’t be. Because while we aren’t building altars in the high places and worshiping little golden statues, we have our idols. Mathew 12:25 says, "A house divided against itself will not stand."
So what worldly preoccupations are distracting us from wholly following the Lord?
Our speaker this morning asked us these questions:
1) What are the little indulgences that distract you from being wholly devoted to God?
2) Do you treasure the gifts or the Giver?
3) Is there war within your heart?
4) Where are you focusing your attention? Spending your money? Your time?
These questions really hit home with me this morning. Because my heart. It is divided. Like Solomon, I get distracted by worldly pleasures. My mind is often preoccupied with worldly things. My time is spent on many frivolous pursuits. And God takes the back seat when He should be my co-pilot.*** It’s not that I can’t enjoy those things, but they must be kept in proper perspective. And all too often, I become consumed with the gifts rather than the Giver.
Psalm 139:23-24 is my prayer today: "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Ironically, that was the prayer of Solomon’s father, D — a man who knew great sin, but unlike his son, heeded God’s warnings, repented of his sins, and wholly followed the Lord.
***Kellie has made me rethink this sentence. Even as I wrote it, I wasn’t sure I had that right, and to be honest I didn’t give it a lot of thought. God really should be the pilot, shouldn’t he? Or is the whole analogy a little off? Food for thought.