Like everyone, I play different roles in my life.
I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, minister, neighbor, adventurist, and more. I meet and interact with different people groups in different settings. People on my block, families whose kids are involved in the same things my kids are involved in, people who enjoy the same recreational activities, people at church, colleagues who share my profession, and tons of temporary groups that I find myself among for short periods of time for various reasons.
I wonder: Am I the same person in all of these roles, among all of these people?
Something from this week's reading from 1 Kings in our 2020 Southwest Bible Project schedule (join us!) caused me to ask this question.
King Solomon's reign is coming to an inglorious end. While his father David was considered "fully devoted to God" as "a man after God's own heart", Solomon had a divided heart, with divided loyalties, causing him to divide his love, time, energy, and worship between many other priorities, or gods.
Do I do this? Do you?
As we will see, for Solomon, who he associated himself with tempted him to care more about what those people wanted and thought than he did about what God wanted and thought.
In the larger story of God, Solomon's divide here causes a divided Kingdom. Literally. The Kingdom of Israel, which was finally unified under King David, and began a glorious season of peace and growth under his son Solomon, ends up split in two from this point forward in the story.
And scripture is clear, it is because of Solomon's divided and disloyal heart towards God.
Do I live in a split Kingdom? Are there areas in my life, like Solomon, where I am all about God and His desire and His ways, but other areas where... well... things are "not so much" about Him? Do you?
This teaching probes deep. It confronts something that happens to all of us. With our eyes opened, and the light of day shining on our inconsistency, it feels horrible, ugly, and hypocritical.
But this teaching also promises something. God wants to turn our hearts back when we stray. He pursues us, proves Himself to us (again), and restores our relationship with Him. If we will let Him.