Friday, May 12, 2017

"A Second Visit in Your Old Age"

1st Kings 11.4, 9 NIV


As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” 

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”

From his death bed David publicly proclaimed his son Solomon as the next king when the boy was about 18 years old. Even as a young man, Solomon was a decisive leader putting to death his father’s defectors and strongly establishing his position of political power. God appeared to Solomon twice during his lifetime, the first time within the first few years of his young reign. In a dream God offered Solomon any wish…

“Ask what you wish Me to give you.”
1st Kings 3.5 NASU

Solomon humbly admitted “I am but a little child” and asked for wisdom in his new role as king of Israel…

“So give Your servant an understanding heart…
to judge this great people of Yours”.
1st Kings 3.7, 9 NASU

God honored Solomon’s request. During the next 20 years the king completed a massive Temple and Palace building project and became known as the wisest (and wealthiest) man in the known world (1st Kings 10.23). Somewhere around the age of 40 God made His second appearance to Solomon offering him a conditional promise…

“…if you will walk before Me… in integrity of heart… then I will
establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever.”
1st Kings 9.4-5 NASU

The king did not fulfill his end of the bargain. In direct opposition to God’s command, Solomon intermarried with the pagan nations to form strategic alliances with neighboring countries. Taking on no less than 1,000 wives and concubines he extended his powerful realm at the cost of forsaking the God of his youth. Solomon became shamefully self-absorbed in the last 20 years of his life and failed to leave the glorious legacy God intended.

God’s second appearance to Solomon was as critical as the first. The king completed his building project. He achieved incomprehensible success and was at the political apex of a brilliant career. Now, more than ever, the king would need to refocus on his calling to serve the Lord and make his golden years count for something eternal. Instead Solomon took the easy path and failed to finish well.

It’s common to slip up spiritually in the latter years of life. We’ve built our careers. We’ve raised our kids. We’ve paid off our houses. We’ve finished our Temple and Palace projects. We’ve earned our rest. We deserve a few hedonistic pleasures. Right? Wrong!

Like Solomon, God now pays you a second visit. In this visitation , He reminds you that your life is not over. You’ve done a good job so far but there’s so far to go. Your latter years count for something more significant than you imagine. Don’t quit. Jesus expects you to finish well.

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King Solomon's life may be roughly divided into three 20-year periods... Solomon's youth, his early reign from approximately 18 or 20 years old until about the age of 40, and his final 20 years. Some sources state that Solomon lived until about the age of 80. But according to 1st Kings 11.42 and 2nd Chronicles 9.30, Solomon reigned as king for 40 years. If we start from the premise that Bathsheba birthed Solomon when David was in his late forties or early fifties, then Solomon would have been in his late teens or early twenties when he assumed the throne after his father's death at the age of 70. This calculation puts Solomon's death somewhere around the age of 60. 

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