The sun had not yet peeked above the horizon, but the sky was ablaze in red and gold glory when I padded into the kitchen to let the dogs out. The light caught my attention, causing me to stop and stare and breathe out, “thank you” to God. How were the colors so bright when the source of the color was still hidden?
Clouds formed straight waves from the distant hills up to the sky’s highest peak above before dissolving into that cerulean blue of winter. Frost sparkled on the dormant grass blades, gently reflecting the colors of dawn.
The source of the color was hidden, but the colors were bright.
The world has become what I never thought I would live to see. I don’t have to list the issues here. You know them. Raising teenagers in this culture is a logistical nightmare. Jesus feels hidden, covered-up by the loud, angry voices and new-age practices that have high-jacked christianity and made it appear to be just like all the other religions, but it is not.
If you have ever heard of King Solomon, you probably remember hearing about how he was the wisest man who ever lived. The author of the book of Proverbs, we refer to many of his teachings when seeking wisdom for our modern-day predicaments.
But one thing that is often glossed over in the story books is the fact that he failed in some pretty significant ways.
Solomon built the temple, a glorious, extravagant earthly representation of the heavenly temple of God. It became the center of life for Israel, a place of pilgrimage, of sacrifice, and of worship.
But Solomon had a problem. He loved women. In fact, he collected them. Read this section from the book of 1 Kings…
King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn your heart away to follow their gods.” To these women Solomon was deeply attached in love. He had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred who were concubines, and they turned his heart away.
When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father David had been. Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not remain loyal to the LORD.
At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abhorrent idol of Moab, and for Milcom, the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites, on the hill across from Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.
The LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the LORD had commanded.
Then the LORD said to Solomon, “Since you have done this and did not keep my covenant and my statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.1 Kings 11:1-11 CSB
Because of King Solomon’s insistence on proving his status with his wife and concubine collection, he opened himself up to even more sinful concessions. Because of his “love” for his wives, he accommodated their idolatry and even built high places (places of worship) for their gods.
Today, we would call that tolerance. We might even consider it the right thing to do because we don’t want people to turn away from God due to being offended. “You do you,” we say. “God knows your heart.”
The heart is more deceitful than anything else,and incurable — who can understand it? I, the LORD, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.Jeremiah 17:9-10 (CSB)
It seems God does, indeed, know our heart. And it also seems that may not be a comforting thought for those who are not followers of Christ.
When Solomon accommodated his wives’ desire to worship other gods, God was not impressed with Solomon’s expression of love for his women. He saw it as a betrayal, a cancer. He who created us did so out of great love and desire for an intimate, monogamous relationship. I don’t know why He chose not to stop with the angels and all the heavenly creatures that surround Him, but He wanted Man and fashioned a beautiful earth with everything Mankind would need to not just survive, but thrive.
He gave us everything. He withheld only one thing…the ability to be God. Oh, we can be gods…at least in our own minds. Little “g” gods are everywhere. We fix our eyes on what we can see and touch, ignoring the Light dawning on the horizon. We exist only to please ourselves, seeking instant gratification through whatever means we can find it. We fill our minds with useless knowledge and engage in ungodly arguments and spiritual practices in order to medicate ourselves or puff ourselves up, while before us the shadows shorten as the Sun rises and illuminates our sordid activities from behind and above.
We think we are getting away with it. We think He doesn’t know or, worse, He doesn’t care. We ignore the warmth on our back and press forward with our plans, believing we know what we are doing. We have it figured out. We chase after other gods, just like Solomon’s wives, or we allow those we love to do so without calling it what it is, just like Solomon.
Refusing to acknowledge the truth is doing ourselves, and them, no favors. Pretending the Sun isn’t chasing us down doesn’t change the fact that the heat on our back is rising and all of creation around us is bending toward the source of life from which we hide. The flowers and trees know. They know that the Light is how they live. Survival depends on allowing the Light to sink into our cells, permeating our flesh and creating life-giving change within our bodies. A life lived in darkness is a life that becomes weak and sickly.
Yes, God knows our heart but that doesn’t stop Him. I praise Him for that. He knows the wickedness deep within the rebel, yet He still chases them down. He knows the hardness around the heart of His wayward child yet He chips away, chips away, chips away until He reveals the soft center He knew was there all along. He sees the walls we put up to keep Him away, the false temples we construct in the form of addictions, fixations, entertainment, and other forms of idolatrous worship. Yet still the Sun rises. Still He warms our back and beckons us to turn.
Turn like a bright rose in June. Look over your shoulder and feel the Light of Love warming your face. Repentance means turning, changing direction, a total 180 degree pivot to walk in the opposite direction from which you have been going.
Have faith to see the first molten edge of Sun as it emerges in the distance and realize the Son has been there all along…even in the darkest of nights. God does not share a bed with anyone. He wants you to Himself. He will not tolerate anything or anyone else being your focus of worship because He knows nothing else will ever satisfy you or bring true joy apart from Him.
Have faith to see.
It is never too late.
May this new year be the beginning. May it bring revival in your heart, your family, and beyond.
May the children of the Light run with shining faces, reflecting the glory of the Son that is able to penetrate the deep darkness of the world.
May we have faith to see.