A Very Solemn Solomon

Perhaps one of the greatest self-contradictions of all time: Solomon was the son of an ill-gotten marriage that followed from adultery and murder, not to mention judgment; he grew up in a contentious home where one of his brothers tried to kill their father; and he very nearly lost his access to the throne after his father died. Yet he became one of the wisest men of all time; he built the great Temple in Jerusalem; his descendants included Mary and Joseph; he wrote 3 books of the Jewish canon; and he became one of the most often quoted writers of the ancient world. Despite the very rough start, Solomon reigned 40 years. God blessed him beyond all comprehension, granting him wisdom, wealth, peace, and the task of building a permanent place where God could dwell among His people.

How tragic, then, that this man could squander all he had been given! As he aged, he became more self-indulgent, more careless about his relationships, and more idolatrous in his spiritual life. Having been given so much, there was far more to lose! As a result of his failures, the kingdom divided, descended into idolatry, and eventually went into exile. Everything Solomon had built was destroyed or carried off to pagan lands. Several passages come to mind …

To whom much is given, much is required, and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more (Lk.12:48).

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation (Heb.2:3).

Behold the goodness and the severity of the Lord (Rom.11:22).

Perhaps this is why the New Testament writers can speak of working out your salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God Himself that is at work in us (Phil.2:12-13), and why they often speak of remaining faithful to the end of life — not giving up or falling away or taking it all for granted.

The grace of God is amazing. He rescues us, gives us new life, adopts us, heals us, restores us, mentors us, includes us in His glorious mission to rescue others, and promises us an amazing future. We have come to "Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant" (Heb.12:22-24).

What an incomprehensible treasure we have been given — a treasure Solomon himself would have envied. How we handle that treasure is very solemn indeed.

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