"Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places." 1 Kings 3:3 (emphasis mine)
King Solomon was the wisest, richest man who had ever lived. The scriptures tell us that God said, "I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. I have also give you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days." (vs 12, 13)
Solomon suddenly inherited the Kingdom as a young man (think twenties) from his Father David. Actually, his brother was trying to take over the Kingdom but God saw it fit that Solomon be King. He loved the Lord just as his father, but I found it quite interesting that scripture qualifies his love for God with "except..."
It got me thinking: what is my except?
Have you seen those shirts "I love Jesus but I cuss a little"? Pretty cheeky and clever, if you ask me, because most of us probably do cuss a little (especially when we slam our finger in the car door). But what happens when the exception begins to become the rule? Solomon loved the Lord - genuinely - but he didn't do all that God commanded him to do, nor is there any evidence that he tried to. He continued to allow sacrifices to other gods on the high places.
This was his except.
So what would the scripture say about you?
Now, Becky loved the Lord, walking in the statues of God, except she never participated in corporate worship.
Now, Becky loved the Lord, walking in His statues, except she never completely trusted Him.
Now, Becky loved the Lord, walking mostly in His way, except she gossiped.
Now, Becky loved the Lord, walking in His statues, except she couldn't submit to her husband. (Mmmmhmmm, I went there).
Fill in your own blanks.
It's very convicting when I think about it, y'all. God wasn't qualifying Solomon's love here by pointing out that he was just a sinner, because of course he was! God qualifies the King's love because it was deliberate and calculated disobedience to God's command!
So what commands in my life am I am deliberately turning my back on? What seed of conviction am I ignoring in the depths of my heart?
Interestingly enough, we learn later on in Kings that Solomon's except was his ultimate downfall. Because he didn't tear down the High Places like God commanded, slowly but surely, idol worship became a huge part of the culture in Israel. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (can you imagine, y'all?! Talk about sister wives) and the Bible says "his wives led him astray" from the Holy One into idol worship.
If those high places had actually been torn down as God intended, wouldn't it have been much harder for Solomon (and his wives) to participate in idol worship? Even when it seems insignificant, God's plan is always for our good, y'all! Always!
We will always have an except this side of heaven. We will always struggle with sin, always be turning away and always fall short of perfection. The important thing for us to learn from King Solomon is to know where our heart is along the way.
David, Solomon's father, obviously, sinned - and sinned big time! He had an affair and then to cover up the unwanted pregnancy, David killed her extremely honorable husband. I would say that in a world that weighs out sins, that is a TEN on the scale, my friends.
But God doesn't remember him at the end of his life for the BIG sins, y'all! He remembers him as a man after God's own heart! The distinction to be made between David's sin and Solomon's sin is that David was utterly destroyed by it! He was shattered from the inside out. (Go read Psalm 51). He ended up broken, contrite and begging for God's forgiveness and healing.
His heart made the difference.
Were there consequences for David's sin? Absolutely! He didn't escape those just because he was broken! But God did redeem him afterward, because He is gracious, loving and faithful! Solomon continued to walk further and further away instead of repenting and humbling himself.
So, whatever our except is, are we dealing with it? Are we broken by it? Or do we just laugh, brush it under the rug and chalk it up to a personality flaw?
Do we act like our sin is no big deal when it could very possibly end up being our downfall?
It's a slippery slope, y'all.
Sin keeps us from the relationship that we could have with our Father! Sin chips away at the sensitivity of our hearts and forms callouses when not addressed. We cannot let our except be our downfall! We cannot continue to excuse what we might see as small but what is enough to separate us from all eternity apart from the blood of Jesus!
God requires perfection.
Since we will never achieve that, God sent Jesus to cover our imperfection. But this is not license to sin! This is not our excuse to covet, gossip, lie, cheat or steal! This is our freedom to pursue Jesus with all we have! Throwing off anything that hinders us and running hard after Him with all of our might!
Let's address the little things before they become big things that set us up for destruction! Let us be a people who are wrecked over our sin! Let us be women who regret our words, who change our actions and beg forgiveness!
Let us rise up as a church who focuses more on fixing our own sin than pointing out the sin of others! God is so good and forgives us continually!
"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer." Psalm 32:1-4
David writes "when I kept silent, my bones wasted away". Unadressed sin hurts us from the inside out! My prayer for us today is that God would convict us of the sinful battles that are raging within us so that we can make it right and restore our relationship with Him through the blood of Jesus!