May 5, 2007 – TheScroogeReport.com Post
GREG LAURIE – A NEW BEGINNING
Greg Laurie pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship (one of America’s largest churches) in Riverside, California. Laurie is the author of 12 inspirational books, which are available online.
Have you ever seen someone with tremendous potential just throw it all away? The Bible tells us about such a person, named Solomon, who was given a “blank check” from God to do good, but instead made a series of foolish decisions that ultimately led to his downfall.
So what happened to Solomon? Why did he fall away and lose sight of what was of lasting value? In a word, he compromised. He forgot his commitment to God and then allowed his heart to become divided. Let’s look at some of the false steps he took.
No. 1: He compromised his walk.
Solomon was given the awesome privilege of building the Temple in Jerusalem for the worship of the one true God. The Bible records his dedication ceremony and his passionate appeal to the people to follow the ways of the Lord (I Kings 8).
But even before the Temple project began, Solomon’s heart was compromised. You see, earlier he made an alliance with the king of Egypt and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live with him until he could finish building the Temple. But the problem was she was a non-believer who enticed him to offer sacrifices and burn incense at the local altars to the pagan gods (I Kings 3:1-3). Because he became yoked with an unbeliever, Solomon began to compromise his single-hearted devotion to the Lord.
It’s an old, old story, and one I’ve heard many times about relationships. To keep peace in the home, it is usually the believer who makes compromises to appease the nonbeliever. And this is precisely why God tells us “to not be unequally yoked” (II Cor. 6:14).
No. 2: He compromised his wealth.
Solomon amassed a huge fortune by imposing tribute on the surrounding nations. But as time passed, he began to trust those riches more than God. After all, if you’ve got everything you need – all the money in the world – it’s all too easy to forget about how much you need the Lord.
Money, as they say, is a wonderful servant, but a hard taskmaster.
As a servant, money can be used to bless others and serve the Lord, but you must trust that the Lord will provide for you and bless you when you give:
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!” (Malachi 3:8-10)
Money can also be a hard taskmaster, demanding your allegiance and attention, fearfully insisting that you keep it for yourself and your own “needs.”
Did you know that most American Christians give an average of just 2 to 3 percent of their income? And nine out of 10 give nothing at all. In the passage above, God challenges His people to step out in faith and be obedient with their finances – and watch what happens!
Let me ask you: Is your money serving you, or are you serving it?
No. 3: He compromised his morality.
If it wasn’t enough to marry a non-believer, Solomon started a collection of them! Can you imagine having 700 wives (not to mention another 300 concubines)? Not only was this wrong morally (as well as a headache during the holidays), but this practice turned Solomon’s attention to other “gods,” contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture.
In fact, the Lord had clearly instructed his people not to intermarry with the pagan nations, because He knew that the women they married would lead them to worship their gods. Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway, and in his later years Solomon turned his heart’s affection away from the one true God. “Thus, Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’S sight; he refused to follow the LORD completely, as his father, David, had done” (1 Kings 11:2,4,6).
Hindsight is 20-20: Live life without regret
As an old man now, looking back on so much tragic waste in his life, Solomon recalled: “I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 1:13).
The word translated “seek” means to investigate the roots of a matter, as in doing a research paper. For all practical purposes, Solomon committed himself to research the roots of human behavior. Why do people do what they do? As he pursued this theme, he set aside all spiritual principles and truth, neglecting both his family and the affairs of state as king. Whether it was various pleasures, the amassing of money, or even getting the best education, he was obsessed with finding out everything he could about each.
To “explore” means to examine all sides. He was saying, “I will not only study these things – I will personally experience them.” If one woman was good, 1,000 would be better! If one drink was good, enjoying drunken parties would be better! If learning was good, studying to be the wisest of men upon the earth is better! Solomon was prepared to try it all – unfettered sex, drinking, partying, unlimited materialism, entertainment, collecting art, the best education and even great building projects – but in the end he found himself face to face with a miserable and empty state of existence.
After so many wasted years, Solomon finally came to his senses. Here’s what he finally understood:
Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Solomon wrapped up his memoirs by saying, “Look, I know this from the hard knocks of experience! If you leave God out of the picture – no matter if you have all the carnal pleasures of the world, or have all the world’s riches, or even the very best education – your life will be empty, meaningless and futile.”
Sadly, Solomon threw away his whole life figuring this one out, but God gave us his memoirs as a warning. You don’t have to waste your life like Solomon did! You don’t have to self-destruct by forgetting the truth about God. Why needlessly throw your life away like a fool?
We all have two major dates in our lives. You can see them on the headstone of a grave, separated by a little dash: The date of our birth and the date of our death.
We can’t choose our entrance, and we can’t choose our exit. But what we do with that little dash in between is all ours.
Fear God and keep His commandments.