Daily Devotion for June 15, 2017

'Detours'

1 Kings 3:5-6a, 9-11a, 12 NLT

That night the lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!'

Solomon replied, “...Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?”

The Lord was pleased with Solomon's reply...So God replied, “...I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever had or ever will have!

We all know Solomon's story—that he was the wisest man who ever lived. In the book of Proverbs, we can see not only his amazing “common sense” wisdom, but we also see God better through Solomon's descriptions of Him. Specifically, through the book of Proverbs, God is described as 1) being aware of all that happens (15:3), 2) knowing the heart of all people (15:11, 16:2, 21:2), 3) controlling all things (16:3321:30), 4) being a place of safety for us (18:10), 5) rescuing good people from danger (11:8,21), 6) condemning the wicked (11:31), 7) delighting in our prayers (15:8,29), 8) loving those who obey Him (15:9, 22:12), 9) caring for the poor and needy (15:2522:22,23), 10) purifying hearts (17:3), and 11) hating evil (17:5, 21:27, 28:9). Moreover, Solomon's book of Proverbs also tells us what our response to God should be: 1) fear and reverence (10:2714:26,27, 15:16), 2) obedience to God's Word (13:1319:16), 3) desire to please God (21:3), and 4) trust in God (3:5-6). (Study Bible side notes)

So Solomon was very wise! He had all the right answers! He knew what He was supposed to do! He knew how He was to live! Unfortunately, all his wisdom did NOT prevent him from folly—from radical disobedience. Although he didn't set out to stray from the path of wisdom, “there are four distinct detours Solomon took that led him on his downward spiral. By looking closely at these mistakes, we can learn to avoid them and the high price that always comes with folly” (“Detours” brought to you by John Orthberg).

Detour 1: Allowing a Little Wiggle Room

“The first step in Solomon's downward spiral was to leave a little wiggle room in his commitment” to God. “It all began with areas of compromise that many people may have thought were not that important. In 1 Kings 3:3 we read: 'Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.' When we read the word 'except,” we know Solomon is in trouble; we don't even need to know what comes next. This word is a clear indicator that Solomon has decided to leave some wiggle room in his devotion. He will try to love God and be devoted, except for a few areas. The simple fact that he says 'except' is a guarantee that he will be in deep water.”

Detour 2: Assuming We Are the Exception to the Rule

“At this point in the spiral, we don't dispute God's rules or disagree with them. In fact, we agree that they're fine for most people. But we just think that we're a little more mature and a little more sophisticated than others. We can handle it. We don't have to follow God's rules as closely as everybody else does. The problem with anything less than total obedience is that we're the ones who get to choose what we will submit to and what 'really doesn't matter.' When this happens, we become our own king, our own god. This becomes a form of idolatry.”

Detour 3: Failing to Deal with Predisposed Weaknesses

“We all have them. But when we refuse to look at them and resist turning away from them, we are headed for trouble. Solomon was not particularly discriminating when it came to women. He seemed to love them all! Even when God gave clear commands about this, he kept right on marrying women who were forbidden. We must stop and wonder why he struggled so much in this area of his life. When we consider Solomon's personal history, some clues begin to rise to the surface. Solomon had been exposed to sexual struggles his whole life. Reading through the Old Testament, we discover that David's family had one of the most dysfunctional households around. Likely, Solomon's problems stretched all the way to his father's bedroom. The sins and weaknesses of his parents infected him and impacted him for a lifetime.

Detour 4: Ignoring Correction

The final step on the downward spiral—and a sure sign of looming disaster—is to ignore or silence wise and loving correction. Such an individual is in a dangerous place. And when he or she has already followed the first three detours, sin has a way of deafening one's ears so that hearing God's voice is difficult. As Solomon grew older, he wandered further and further from God. God continued to call Solomon to a place of repentance, but Solomon continued to do things his own way.”

Heavenly Father, we come to you today knowing we are not as wise as Solomon—but also understanding that his wisdom and knowledge didn't prevent his folly. So instead of just praying for wisdom, Father, we pray for hearts that are Holy Spirit enabled to respond to You as we should: in fear and reverence, in OBEDIENCE to Your Word, in desire to please You, and in placing our trust in You. Moreover, we ask that You show us our weaknesses! Open our eyes to the areas we are giving ourselves “wiggle room,” where we are “assuming we are the exception,” where we are “failing to deal with predisposed weaknesses,” and where we are purposely “ignoring correction”...so we DON'T stray from the path of wisdom and end up living like fools! Yes, Lord—make us sensitive to Your Word and Spirit so we “avoid” the detours “and the high price that always comes with folly!” We ask this in Your Son's name, Lord...

AMEN!!!

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