A devotional thought from Jonathan Leeman for “The Kings”
1 Kings 11:4: “When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him to follow other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been.”
Notice how this verse does not begin. It does not begin “When Solomon was young and imploring the Lord for wisdom” or “When Solomon had just completed building the temple” or “When Solomon read the Bible every day and loved his small group with the zeal of a new convert.” No, it begins “When Solomon was old.”
Worldliness, you see, creeps in slowly. It doesn’t ask Christians to sin drastically when they are young and have their defenses up. No, it sits down and talks like a friend. “Hey, the new model of your phone just came out.” “Wouldn’t your wife be happy if you took her on this vacation?” “How is your retirement account?” All harmless conversations, right?
Worldliness does not, at first, talk to you about bad things. It just talks to you about…things. And slowly, the eyes of your heart will become heavy, they will start to close, and eventually you will fall asleep. You’ll stop reading the Bible, stop praying, stop evangelizing, and keep your Christian friendships at the surface. Then, when weeks habitually pass with nary a thought of God, even as you move your mouth to praise songs at church, worldliness makes the decisive move: either it pulls you into drastic sin, like leaving your spouse, or it pulls up the blanket and makes you so comfortable that you don’t awake. It’s hard to know which strategy is scarier.
Perseverance is one of the biggest challenges of the Christian life (see Matt. 10:22). And to persevere you need more than knowledge, of which Solomon had plenty. You need to refresh yourself daily with God’s love in the gospel so that you don’t forsake your first love.
Pause and Reflect
• In light of your personal strengths and weakness, what strategies will worldliness likely take with you over time for inducing you to fall asleep?
• What strategies do you have for refreshing yourself in the gospel daily and then recommitting yourself to loving Christ most?