Your closest relationships have the biggest chance of turning your heart away from the Lord. In taking wives outside of the parameters God set, Solomon already showed his weakness in that area. From there, it was only a short trip to giving in to these women’s desires to worship other Gods.
If the wisest man to ever exist can fall to this temptation, you can too! Be diligent in putting Jesus first. Follow His commands. Follow His guidelines.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” –2 Corinthians 10:4-6, ESV
“But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.” –Ecclesiastes 5:9, ESV
Growing up as a “city girl” in a farming community (“city” being 2300 people), I learned a little about farming. In areas of dry-land farming, the farmers quite truly wait on the Lord for the weather they need to make the crops grow. As a church, we would sometimes pray for rain to help the crops sprout, or not rain so the sprouts wouldn’t rot, or snow to cover the planted seeds and protect them from the cold. Relying on the Lord to bring the harvest was a continual reality.
But this city girl didn’t quite understand the whole process. What exactly does a farmer do after planting the seed and “just waiting” for it to get to the point of being harvested? My understanding focused on the crop, not the cultivation. Though I still have city girl understandings, I learned there is much tending to do between the planting and the harvest. From machinery maintenance to weed control and protein measures and market watching, not to mention the decisions of when to sell last year’s crop should it have been previously decided to store at the harvest rather than sell. And don’t even start to talk about land acquisition decisions.
Solomon tells us gain for the land in every way happens when the king commits to cultivation. Though you may not be a farmer, how can you focus on the time of cultivation in your various life circumstances? What falls between the planting and the harvesting that needs attention and care? Commit to cultivating and the harvest will be that much sweeter.
“For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” –Ecclesiastes 1:18, ESV
Do you long for wisdom? Solomon forewarns that wisdom comes with sorrow. Partners, these realities have what researchers call a positive correlation: as one increases so does the other. Parents: imagine how your perspective changed on car safety once you had kids. Children brought a deeper understanding of safety importance than you had prior to being responsible for carrying this small being through the dangerous streets. Or someone with a finance degree understands the complexity of the markets, and the difficulty in making economic policies far more than one who only holds a cursory understanding. For with wisdom comes an understanding of the inner workings, the deep issues of a situation, bringing a deeper level of struggle.
We seek wisdom and forget that it comes with sorrow. We seek marriage relationships and forget it comes with two different people learning to live together for the rest of their lives. We seek children and forget they come with decades of repeatedly sleepless nights.
Count your blessings. Pray for your heart’s desire. Simply remember that they come with their challenges.
“These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work: 550 who had charge of the people who carried on the work.” –1 Kings 9:23, ESV
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, delegated. his vast work, the expanse of his kingdom, and the many massive undertakings given by the Lord and his father David, and Solomon knew he could not do it alone. He knew he could not even oversee all of it himself. Identifying chief officers to oversee the work was the only way the work could get done.
This challenges me. As I see the many projects and time commitments in my days, I wonder what I should delegate. Frankly, I also wonder which I should not undertake at all. I, and judging by the number of books on the topic, many others, struggle with staying clear on your purpose and saying no to those things outside of our purpose.
I believe that Solomon’s call for the kingdom would have been radically different had he not had the people resources to manage the work. Just as I believe that God has given each of us calling and purpose according to that which He has or will provide. God may give me something that is beyond what I can handle alone, and it may be required that I recruit others to join. Or in some cases it may be that I, myself, have identified something outside my ability, but rather than recruit others to join, I should probably let that one go. If it didn’t come from God’s storehouse for my life, then I need to be okay stepping away and either let others step in or let the thing fall completely.
Do you struggle with focusing your energies? Seek the Lord and learn what He would have you do.
“Now therefore, command that they cut down cedars for me from Lebanon; and my servants will be with your servants, and I will pay you wages for your servants according to whatever you say. For you know there is none among us who has skill to cut timber like the Sidonians.” –I Kings 5:6, NKJV
Solomon building the temple required work from all over the land. The king summoned materials and workmen, bringing them together to make the work happen. In this verse, Solomon called for cedars from Lebanon. Though cedars tend to grow at about 3-feet per year, I can only imagine that the one who planted the tree had no idea its end purpose. For who, when planting a tree, thinks that it will be used in the house of God? Who believes the greatest of honors might bestow on the tomatoes in their gardens? They were just planting away. Then the king called, the trees cut, and some farmer dude sees the side of the temple and thinks: “I planted that. Glory to God, I planted that.”
You are the same, you know. Sometimes you are the seed nobody thought to believe for great things. Sometimes you are the farmer just planting away your seeds, never guessing what they might become. Sometimes you are the skilled Sidonian, sent to cut the tree of another because of your great skill. And sometimes you are the king, summoning the best from all over, seeking to build the best thing you can.
Whatever your place, embrace it. For the Heavenly King will call. Be ready with whatever role He called you to play.