Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29, Acts 8:14-40, Psalm 130:1-8, Proverbs 17:2-3
In I Kings 9-10, God provides Solomon with some very clear instructions.
4 “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
6 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 7 then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations.
The contrast is stark. For Solomon’s dynasty to continue forever, he needed to follow God wholeheartedly and with determined obedience. By comparison, God promised to reject Israel if they did three things:
- Abandon God
- Disobey His commands and decrees
- Serve and worship other gods
Sometimes I view the Old Testament as a long story of judgment by a harsh and unforgiving God. However, this passage reveals that God is longsuffering – we must intentionally and habitually reject Him and replace Him in our hearts with other gods before He rejects us.
The three steps I listed here feel like a so-called “slippery slope.” I’m not sure if step 1 (abandon God) or 2 (disobey His commands and decrees) comes first, but I think the normal progression is that we take those two steps, then we start to serve and worship other gods. Maybe that is the general pattern for human nature.