The Temptation of Peace and Prosperity

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….  “He [Solomon] had 700 wives…and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father…. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord…” 1 Kings 11:3-6 ESV

Solomon reigned over an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity in the land of Israel. We read of his wisdom, his wealth and his esteem among the nations of the world of his day. We read Solomon’s words, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10 NIV)

Solomon bought into the idea of “You have earned it! Go ahead and enjoy.”  I recall the words of one leader when he warned, “unseized time flows to your area of weakness.” For Solomon that was women and the pleasures of life that were not tempered or interrupted by continuous war. Time eventually took its toll on Solomon’s heart.

Consider his coronation and the charge of his father as he began his reign,

“…keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…. ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” (1 Kings 2:3-4 ESV)

David gave a charge to Solomon that showed he had not only Solomon, but the following generations in mind. But war and the test of life tends to sharpen your spiritual focus and trust in the Lord more than times of peace and prosperity. We can observe it in the nation of Israel and we see it in the life of Solomon and we can observe it in our day.

As a result, twice we find a reference to Solomon’s failure to “wholly follow the Lord” to be “wholly true to the Lord.” This resulted in the Lord’s judgment, but it happened in the next generation. The nation of Israel would experience a split that would result in the formation of two separate kingdoms. Israel to the north and Judah to the south.

Remember from Solomon, the greatest challenges of faith and spiritual commitment may not be when difficulties comes, but when there is peace and “prosperity” and life is going well. It is in those times that we are tempted to lose our focus, to see our faith and perseverance lag and our wholehearted commitment become watered down.

Prayer for today…. Lord help us to be strong in our faith in the challenges of life. Help us to be steadfast in our focus on You when You bring times of peace and prosperity. When life is good, help us to always keep You in the forefront of our hearts and minds as the God of the “mountain top” as well as the “valley.”