December 12, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 12 December 2017
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’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. Second, success can become deceptive because it may obscure one’s true being and circumstances. All the success 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]. 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.
Always it is crucial when a task is completed to consider God’s evaluation of our success, lest there be a feeling of disappointment leading to discontent (1 Kgs 19:1-15). The phrases “My name . . . My eyes and My heart” signify God’s immanence (nearness) toward his people (9:3), which is why He admonished “walk before Me . . . in integrity of heart and uprightness” (v. 4). If the Lord’s warning is not heeded, then his holiness and justice demands that He send discipline (vv. 6-9). God would rather destroy his Temple then permit his people to contaminate it with their sin. While it is possible to be triumphant in our own estimation, if the Lord’s evaluation of what is truly significant is not considered, then our spiritual life could be progressively degenerating behind the appearance of success (cf. Rev 2:2-5; 3:15-20).
'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love (Rev 2:4). 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. . . . 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent (3:17, 19).
Evaluating our lives 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 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].
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 aspiration and goal in life should be to persist in the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus [Phil 3:10-14]. King David set a standard for obedience (e.g. Ps 32; 51). David’s sins are glaring faults upon an otherwise faithful servant. The standard of King David is not perfection, but sin that is confessed, and when it is, there is repentance and wrong is made right.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.