I love to read. (Who knew?) And while I do love a good novel, one that will sweep me away into story, I also enjoy digging into history to discover new things (or rather old things) I hadn't known before. I like to figure out the "why" questions, and to attempt to understand what makes people tick. So when I start a new writing project, that's where I begin. I read books and websites that will help me to put the story into perspective. I'm at one of those points right now. I finished first round edits on Rebekah earlier this month and am taking a much-needed break from actual writing. (It feels like vacation!) Loving that part of this too! But I am also using this time to study Solomon's life.
I have "cast" my actors and models into the story, so my Idea Boards are coming along. It took awhile to find my Solomon, but I think the guy I found is perfect for the part - at least in visual format. I'm glad I don't do casting for real-life movies!
The hardest part now is trying to understand Solomon's heart. How could the wisest man who ever lived (apart from Jesus) make such a foolish choice as to marry many foreign women and worship their gods? The thought seems preposterous. Shouldn't a wise man always make wise choices?
But as I pondered his life, praying for understanding, a verse from Scripture came to mind where Jesus told the Pharisees,
"The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here."
One greater than Solomon. Jesus spoke of Himself here. His wisdom was far wiser than Solomon's. His understanding greater. His choices purer. His love stronger.
What Solomon lacked as a flawed human being, Jesus did not. While Solomon clung to his many foreign wives "in love", I daresay he did not quite understand the true meaning of the word. If he had, he would not have let his love for God grow cold. He would not have worshipped foreign gods or married so many foreign women who turned his heart away.
I think 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says it well:
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burn but have not love, I gain nothing."
Solomon spoke many proverbs with gifted speech, understood all mysteries and had immense knowledge of the natural world. And while he did not become a martyr, he did offer extravagant sacrifices on God's altar. But his love for God waned as he aged.
And I wonder, how even the most gifted among us can fall away. Even the most committed, the most sought after, the most commended for their accomplishments. It is only by God's grace that we do not follow Solomon's path. Surely, he had the wisdom to do better, to choose other than he did.
Jesus once said, "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
And in another passage He said, "And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold." False prophets of today or false gods of Solomon's time, both lead to loss of love for our Creator God and His Son Jesus.
These thoughts kind of put my research into a more modern light. And when I compare Solomon's choices with ours today, it gives me greater insight into his character. It's research that causes me to grow and learn. There is no better kind!