June 9, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 9 June 2015
First Kings 9:1 asserts that when King Solomon finished building the Temple and the royal palace, all he “desired to do” was accomplished. Solomon began his building projects in the fourth year of his reign (6:1), and it took him twenty years “to build the two houses” (9:10). If he ascended the throne at approximately twenty years of age, then he was in his early forties when he accomplished all he “desired to do.” He was slightly beyond the halfway point of his forty-year reign (11:42).
King Solomon was experiencing the best years of his life, as he was at the pinnacle of his days as both a man and a king. As he reached halftime of his forty-year reign, Solomon was experiencing an enviable and unique experience of knowing that he had achieved all he “desired to do.” At the age of forty-four, Solomon was favored and especially gifted because he was responsible for the “Golden Age” of Israel. History remembers Solomon as one of the most successful kings of his nation.
Slightly beyond the halfway point of his reign, Solomon’s life appeared – by all standards – to be tremendously successful. Nevertheless, he never emerged from success to significance. The second half of Solomon’s life was not a success. Solomon’s kingdom was remarkable yet wholly superficial. Solomon failed as a king because he made compromises with God’s standards, which resulted in devastatingly enduring consequences.
Solomon’s life demonstrates several truths. First, success has the inherent potential to become addictive. Solomon accumulated greater fame and wealth, yet he lacked a compelling purpose and strategy for the future. His lifestyle became that of self-serving excess. Second, success can become deceptive because it may obscure one’s true being and circumstances. All the wealth that surrounded Solomon obscured the fact that his heart was drifting from God.
Near the end of his life, Solomon wrote that a life not focused upon God is meaningless and purposeless. “Vanity of vanities,” he remarked; all is utterly futile without the Lord God (Eccl 1:2). A greater accumulation of “stuff” cannot substitute for a relationship with God. Third, success can become illusory. Certainly, no one reading the end of First Kings 10 would imagine that all the resplendent success would disappear within a few brief years, yet that is exactly what occurred.
Evaluating our lives at halftime is especially urgent when experiencing tremendous success. Of course, none of us can “boast about tomorrow” because we “do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov 27:1), thus we should live each and every day circumspectly. Choices made in the present will determine whether we can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7); and, also will ascertain whether we hear the Lord remark, “Well done, good and faithful slave” (cf. Matt 25:21).
Apparent success can diminish what will genuinely endure, if we do not measure our lives by God’s standards. Authentic success can only be determined over longer periods of time. Genuine success is measured only by perseverance; in this sense, the life of the believer is not a sprint but a marathon. The goal and aim in life should be to persist in the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:10-14). Christians are not perfect, but let us pray that when we are aware of our sin we would repent and finish well the work that God has entrusted to us.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia