Daily Devotional November 5th
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
King Solomon, the third king in Israel’s history, lead the nation during a golden age...literally. The Bible tells us that gold was so plentiful that silver was worthless (1 Kings 10:21)! Unfortunately, this man who began so well in his rule–he built the Temple, was credited with incredible wisdom and formed alliances that provided for Israel’s peace–had a propensity for self-indulgence. Just look at his harem–700 wives of royal descent and 300 concubines! God knew Solomon, both his strengths and weaknesses, and while quick to bless also provides this lavish king with a warning.
“If you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them’” (1 Kings 9:6-9).
But despite the warning, we discover that Solomon worshiped the gods of his foreign wives in his old age. He built monuments and temples to Ashtoreth, Molech and Chemosh–into whose heated arms the people would sacrifice their live children! God cannot turn a blind eye to this disloyalty; He declares that the majority of the kingdom will be ripped from Solomon’s lineage and divided...only for the sake of his father David will Solomon’s line not be completely destroyed. What happened? To have begun so well...only to fail so miserably. For all his wisdom, Solomon had not recognized the truth of Paul’s words many years later.
Though he had enjoyed a relationship with God, Solomon had lived for pleasure. Paul also enjoyed a relationship with God, but lived to obey. Each of these men lived with different ‘finish lines’ in the race of life–Solomon saw the grave as the end of life; Paul recognized that the grave was the door we must all walk through to gain entrance into life everlasting. Their focus or sense of purpose greatly differed–Solomon pursued personal comfort; Paul sacrificed his comfort for others. Their end goals determined their earthly pursuits–Solomon lived a life of exorbitance–gold, pleasure, possessions; Paul gave it all up for the sake of the gospel.
Who do you most resemble today? Solomon or Paul. Both had known God intimately in their lives; but while Solomon ended his life in disgrace and disillusionment (just read the book of Ecclesiastes), Paul ran strong to the end having given obedience to God preeminence over personal comfort and pleasure. How is your relationship with God, today? How will the end of your story read?
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!