Monday May 6, 2013
The gradual slip.
The slow fade.
The gentle slope.
Could it be happening to me?
Downfall doesn’t come in a day; it happens gradually, slowly, without bells and whistles.
Solomon seemed to have it all, and a slow fade had to be the last thing on his mind.
Extolled as the wisest man in the world, and likely the wealthiest, he even had a promise from God. Despite his humble request for wisdom, it seems he forgot the last part of that conversation with God. The part where God said, “If you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands…”
Solomon’s demonstration of wisdom came as two women approached him with one child; Solomon passed this one with flying colors. But as the years passed, more women came into his life and he forgot God’s decrees and commands.
1 Kings 11 tells us, “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women…they were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You shall not intermarry with them because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray…So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD.”
Solomon’s seven hundred wives of royal birth are further testimony to his turning away from God. These marriages were likely political alliances to help Solomon protect his kingdom. Who do you suppose Solomon should have been looking toward to help him protect the kingdom? I imagine God was just waiting for Solomon to turn to Him instead.
Solomon’s heart was divided, and that led to compromise.
Where do I look to protect my borders—my family, my bank account, my health?
Is my heart turned wholly toward God?
Do I give Him my fears? My future?
“There are some things I have to take care of. Things I need to worry about,” I may exclaim. “These are just little things, nothing spectacular—certainly not as big as 700 wives and 300 concubines.”
With those words, I may have just set foot upon that gentle slope.
In The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, the title character teaches Wormwood, an inexperienced tempter, how to undermine faith and tries to school him in working against the Enemy (God). At one point, he advises Wormwood:
“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge man away from the Light and out into the Nothing…Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
We all wander out onto the gentle slope from time to time.
With no signposts, no milestones, we may not even notice the gradual decline.
I’m asking today—wave me down, Lord. Send up flares if you have to.
Call me back, Father—away from the Nothing and back into the Light.
I'm linking up with Laura, Michelle, and Jen today.