Transformation Garden - Aug. 10, 2012

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Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”
II Corinthians 12: 9
K.J.V.

“His grace is great enough to meet the great things-
The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
The sudden storms beyond our life’s control.

His grace is great enough to meet the small things –
The little pin-prick troubles that annoy,
The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy.”
Annie Johnson Flint

Today’s Study Text:

“When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not perfect, complete and whole with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abominable idol of the Ammonites.”
1 Kings 11: 4,5
Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION:

“5 Lessons From The Life of Solomon” Part 1

Lesson #1: Who Has Your Heart?

“To sanctify the Lord in their hearts was to love Him supremely, and trust in Him alone, desiring that He might be exalted and glorified above all creatures forever.”

Samuel Hopkins
(1803)
“The Reason of the Hope of a Christian”
Sermon

How would I answer the question, “Who has my heart?”

Is there any part of my heart that I am holding back from God?

Have I ever found myself worshipping another god than the God of heaven and earth -- the God of Sarah, Miriam, Ruth and Esther?

“Let your soul be filled with so entire a love to Him that you may love nothing but for His sake.”
John Wesley

INSPIRATION:

“And He (Jesus) replied to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.”
Matthew 22: 37, 38
Amplified Bible

Before we begin our series regarding the division of the kingdom of Israel and the women whose lives intersected with the tragic turmoil in the nation, I think it wise to take one more look into the life of Solomon and to identify some of the critical lessons which we can learn from him. Let’s remember, this was a man who had Bathsheba as his mother and at least 1,000 women as wives and concubines. To say that Solomon’s life touched a lot of women would certainly be an understatement. Furthermore, this won’t be the last time we’ll look at Solomon’s contribution to the Bible for we will be spending time in the coming months exploring the wisdom he left behind in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

However, it is the lessons that we can learn from Solomon, which apply directly to our lives in the 21st century, that I want to examine for the next five days, beginning with the question, “Who has your heart?”

This crucial question is at the core of what went wrong in Solomon’s life. And as well, this question gives us guidance as we uncover the challenges we face when it comes to having a heart which is “perfect.” In 1 Kings 11: 4, it is revealed that Solomon’s heart was not “perfect” with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. I wanted to check out what the word “perfect” meant in the Hebrew and it means “whole.”

There’s more to understand from this passage in 1 Kings, and it has directly to do with the word whole.

If I told you that I ate the whole thing, whatever the “thing” was, you would not expect to find a morsel left for yourself to eat. And the dictionary concurs with my assessment when the word “whole” is defined as “containing all.” There’s even more though, to the definition of “whole.” This word also means: “not divided or disjointed. A complete entity.”

It is with the expanded definition of perfect, or whole, where we begin to clarify the comparison between Solomon and his father David. When I first read this text, and thought about all of David’s behavior -- adultery, lying, murder -- it appeared to me that David was certainly not a shining example of an individual with a “perfect” heart. But, and this is important, when David fell morally, he returned to God -- the One and only God. His entire heart was renewed. We read his own words in Psalm 51: 10 where he penned these words: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” David did not want a partial cleaning job done on his heart -- he wanted all of his heart to be wiped pure, so he willingly gave all his heart to his heavenly Father.

Sadly, in 1 Kings 11: 5 & 7, we are told that Solomon did not give God a whole heart. Instead, he gave part of his heart in worship, no less, to Ashtoreth, god of the Sidonians and to Milcom, god of the Ammonites, and to Chemosh, god of the Moabites, and to Molech, the “abomination of the children of Ammon.” Solomon had what we would call a “divided heart.”

Now for discussion sake, if we add the God of Israel into the list above, it seems that since there are five “gods” mentioned, that Solomon could only find it in himself to commit 20% of his heart to the Lord God of Israel, who was the only God who had bestowed upon Solomon the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity. In return what did Solomon do to show his gratitude? He gave God just a small portion of his heart. And I asked myself, “How about you, Dorothy? Does God get only a small percent or does He get all your heart? 100% of your heart?”

In his terrific study on the book of 1 Kings, pastor and professor Dale Davis offers several vital points regarding Solomon’s behavior. First of all, as we studied over the past few days, there are some real seductive temptations that come along with affluence, excess, and extravagance. Solomon, after being such a kind and gracious ruler at the beginning of his reign, turned into a very oppressive monarch as he levied taxes and forced servitude on the subjects of his kingdom in order to pay for his indulgences.

Second, in the first half of the book of 1 Kings 11, where the extravagance of Solomon is revealed, there are not many negative words regarding Solomon’s behavior. Instead, it is in the latter portion of 1 Kings 11 where we are directed to the fact that this was where God showed his great displeasure, and as Dale Davis called it, Solomon faced an “infidelity so subtle” because, “it begins in the hidden depths” of an individual. As Pastor Davis points out, Solomon’s heart being turned away from God, “took years -- the result of the creeping pace of accumulated compromises the fruit of a conscience de-sensitized by repeated permissiveness.”

Finally, this is a story that begins with 1 Kings 3: 3 which says, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father,” and ends with 1 Kings 11: 1 where we find that, “King Solomon loved many strange women.” Solomon exchanged the love of the God of heaven for the love of the things of this earth -- and what a tragic trade this was.

Solomon never officially stood up in front of the people in his kingdom and renounced God -- he just chose to give God a partial piece of his heart. I love this thought expressed by John Wesley, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth whom I desire besides Thee.” When this is the commitment we have to give our hearts totally and wholly to our Father, as Bill Gothard so aptly observes, “there won’t be any affection left over for other delights that compete with God.” We won’t be giving God only 20%!

In the words of the hymn-writer F. E. Belden:

I would be, dear Savior, wholly Thine;
Teach me how, teach me how;
I would do Thy will, O Lord not mine;
Help me, help me now.

What is worldly pleasure, wealth or fame,
Without Thee, Without Thee?
I will leave them all for Thy dear name,
This my wealth shall be.”

“See that your chief study
be about your heart:
that there God’s image may be planted;
that there His interests be advanced;
that there the world and flesh are subdued;
that there the love of every sin is cast out;
that there the love of holiness grows.”
Jonathon Edwards

AFFIRMATION:

“To You, O God,
every heart stands open and every will speaks; no secret is hidden from You.
I implore You so to purify the intention of my heart with the gift of Your grace
that I may love You perfectly and praise You worthily.”

Anonymous
(c 1370)

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too. 

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508. 

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

 
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