This devotional was penned by Youseff.
Read 2 Chron 6-9
Today’s chapters describe the rise of Solomon as one of the most significant Israel kings. The reading starts with his impressive spiritual achievement, when he built the glorious temple to be a place of God’s indwelling among his people, Fulfilling God’s promise to his father David. Then he dedicated the temple by praying one of the most inspiring prayers in the bible in front of the entire community of Israel. It was a prayer which culminated in the awe-inspiring sight of the heavenly fire flashing down to burn the offerings, with God’s presence so glorious and powerful in the temple that the priests couldn’t even enter and Israel people couldn’t help but fall down on the ground worshiping God. What an amazing moment to witness!
I can’t claim to have ever experienced God’s presence that strong and tangible. While reading these verses I thought “if something similar ever happened to me while praying, I’m sure it will forever change everything in my life guaranteeing a victorious and glorious lifestyle for the rest of my days”. However, when I continued reading the rest of the story, I realised I was so wrong!
The rest of the chapters goes on to describe Solomon’s magnificent riches, amazing wisdom, and spectacular achievements. He became richer and wiser than any other king on earth (9:22) to the extent that his fame reached so far and wide that the queen of Sheba came to visit because she couldn’t believe what she had heard, only to find that “she had not heard the half of his great wisdom” (9:6). In fact, kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him (9:23).
It’s difficult to imagine anything but a happy ending to Solomon’s glorious story. But the ugly downfall of Solomon's character that followed was hard to believe. It’s not easy to digest that someone who had such intimate encounters with the Lord ended up breaking God’s commandments, marrying many wives including those God has clearly instructed his people not to marry. It’s even startling to read that the temple builder ended up worshiping other Gods!
Sometimes after experiencing God’s glorious presence we think we are immune against sin. We think our spiritual muscles became so strong that we can resist any temptation with ease. But Solomon’s story proves that this is not true. The bible instructs us to “stay alert and watch out for our great enemy, the devil, as he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). There is no spiritual status at which we should feel fortified against temptation. Our spiritual life shouldn’t be a memory of a strong encounter that we experienced once with God, however glorious it was. Our relationship with God should be built on regularly meeting him and continuously receiving his fresh love declaration to our lives!