The Solomon Problem
Dear Brothers and Friends,
“We’re blind to the fact we have an obligation to five billion people in the world. This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of lost souls.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill (see Romans 1:14)
In Genesis 13 we learn that the Jewish people through Abraham were to be “a people for all peoples.” The Nation of Israel was to be a peculiar people, a people set apart for God. They had the promises of God. Through them the world was to be blessed in the knowledge of God.
When King Solomon came on the scene he had an opportunity to build on what his father, David, had accomplished. Solomon failed because he stunted the operation of the gifts God gave him. Solomon used the gifts God gave him to benefit himself. Maybe in benefiting himself he thought he would be benefiting others as well, but God had a larger purpose in mind.
We often do the same thing with the gifts God gives us or we fail to develop and use the abilities that He has given us because of fear like the one talent man (Matthew 25:15-26). I have often seen church leaders and pastors narrow the focus, concentrating the talents God has given them on their own church. This is too narrow a focus. God is not interested in this. God said it was too small a thing for His Servant [Jesus] to restore His people. God is interested in bringing salvation to the world (Isaiah 49:6).
At the end of His life Solomon said, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment including every hidden thing” (Ecc. 12:13-14). At the end of his life Solomon realized he had not used his talent wisely and thus he had committed treason against his King, the Lord of Lords. How did he do this? He used the wisdom God had given him for himself. Whenever you put yourself first you will find yourself breaking God’s commandments—do not lie, do not steal, do not covet, do not have anything more important than Me in your life.
What should Solomon have done? Can you answer that? I will give you my answer. He should have used the gifts God gave him to accomplish God’s purposes. What are God’s purposes? That the world would be filled with the knowledge of God. Because Solomon failed, God was angry with him and tore the kingdom from his descendants.
Many people in this postmodern culture hate it when the Bible is preached authoritatively because it destroys their assurance of salvation in the “Jesus” they have created in their own minds. Since the Bible is at odds with their idea of Jesus, usually it is the Bible which is doubted and finally thrown out as being authoritative in their lives. So the commands of Jesus to give up everything (Luke 14:26-35) and bring the knowledge of God to the ends of the earth and to make disciples for Himself are ignored (Matthew 28:19).
So how can we avoid the error of Solomon? Simple! Seek first the kingdom of God. This goes for every true Christian. It ends up not being so simple because our flesh fights against it. Everything will come ahead of the kingdom of God if we are not careful: our family, our work, fixing our house, our fun time, our doctor visits, even our pets. There are only two things that are permanent in this world, the Word of God—The Bible, and the souls of men. Seek first the kingdom of God and these other things will be added to you: family, work, a home, recreation, good health, and friends (Matthew 6:33).
Church leaders must also put the kingdom of heaven first ahead of their church. If you are concentrating on church building you often will not see the larger picture of the kingdom of God. Many men have created large churches using their God given talent which end up becoming their own private kingdoms instead of advancing the kingdom of God. This is where Solomon lost God’s call on his life. If you are concentrating on the kingdom of God, then do what Solomon failed to do, train up men to fill this world with the knowledge of God. Then send them out by all possible means. Send out your very best and most talented men. This is what God expects and this is where His heart is. God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
Young men be anchored in Something bigger than yourselves. Don’t waste the life God has given you on the trinkets this world holds out to you. They are useless in the end. Your life will be over before you know it. If you keep your life for yourself and your family it is like building a sand castle at the beach with the tide coming in. In the end no matter how hard you try, you will be left with nothing. Give your life over to God and live only for God no matter what the cost. Don’t be like Solomon who regretted his life at the end. Though he had everything, he ended up with nothing.