Travel day today. Made my way to a bit of paradise today to mark our 36th anniversary, remember the past 35, and take advantage of some extended quiet time (can Maui be considered one’s prayer closet? . . . hoping so).
Anyway, did my reading in the airport this morning before the plane took off and have had something running through my head from 1Kings throughout the day. And as I’ve been chewing on it throughout the day, I’m thanking God that the gospel covers the gap.
Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaohs daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. . . . Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.
(1Kings 3:1, 3 ESV)
Bible says: Solomon made a marriage alliance with Egypt, AND Solomon loved the LORD. Pete hears: Solomon longed to be a friend of God but was unequally yoked with the world.
ESV translates it: Solomon walked in the statutes of David, BUT also sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. Pete’s paraphrase: Solomon obeyed the law and he still ate at the table of demons.
Okay, so this is Solomon. Chosen by God through promise. Visited by God in a dream. Approved by God for asking for wisdom. Blessed by God with a discerning mind like no one else ever. Abundantly graced by God with riches and honor so that no other king could come close to him. And this is Solomon, in bed with Egypt (literally) and worshiping at the high places.
Follows the LORD yet sacrifices to other deities. Can anyone say, “Inconsistent?” Loves the LORD and loves the world. Does that sound like an oxymoron? I’m thinkin’ . . .
There’s a gap here. Solomon’s only firing on six cylinders. His elevator’s not going to the top floor. He’s straddling the fence. Playing both sides of the field. My instinct is to judge him. My gut reaction is to criticize him (maybe because I’ve read ahead and know how his story ends).
But the bottom line is that even while Solomon loved the LORD during the day and went home to an Egyptian wife at night, even while he was faithful to the law as his father David had been . . . except for the times when he wasn’t, even then God blessed this man who sought the LORD–though imperfectly. And God used this man to manifest His glory in and through His people.
Because, although with Solomon there may have been a gap, with God there has always been the gospel. Although Solomon’s flesh may have failed from time to time, God’s faithfulness never wavers.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:10-12 ESV)
. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show Gods righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins.
(Romans 3:23-25 ESV)
Divine forbearance. God knew what would be accomplished on the cross and, in His grace, applied Christ’s finished work as the covering for the inconsistencies in Solomon’s behavior. The blood of Christ was sufficient to cover the sins of those who, centuries earlier, by faith sought to follow the LORD.
The gospel covered the gap.
It did for Solomon then, it does for me now.
Not that I presume upon it. Not that it leaves me with license to court the world or permission to dine with demons, but, when I falter, when I fail, when I am tripped up by the flesh, when I’m living my own set of inconsistencies, there is an atoning sacrifice, once paid, which is sufficient to pay for my transgression and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
My gaps are covered by His gospel.
Such is grace. To Him be all the glory.