Problems have their own place in our lives. In a way, few challenges are required, to keep us focused (on God), balanced( in life) and humble and stay grounded and sensitive to His Holy Spirit. As too much honey isn’t good for our health, too much of peace isn’t a great idea either, because it shifts our focus from God to things that aren’t important in life.
Take for example King Solomon. His father king David (a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing giant Goliath) spent most of his time in agony and battles (with king Saul, who turns on David, worrying that David was trying to take his throne, then his own son Absalom).
David’s adultery with Bathsheba was despicable in God’s sight. God denied David the opportunity of building the temple ( House to the Name of Lord). Also God said, “Now , therefore, the sword shall not depart from your house, because you have not only despised My command, but have also despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. And I will raise up evil against you out of your own house” “ (2 Samuel 12:10-11). This word of God was fulfilled. David suffered much agony because of his lawless children. Amnon’s despicable behavior with his half sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:14) , then his consequent murder by his brother Absalom (2 Samuel 13:28-29). Absalom’s deliberate and rebellious attempts to win people’s heart to supplant his father (2 Samuel 15:6). David’s flight from Jerusalem with the mass of people against him (2 Samuel 15:14), David’s terrible battle in the forest of Ephraim, won by David’s men, while Absalom killed in flight (2 Samuel 18:14-15). David was mostly distressed and his agony of heart is echoed repeatedly in some of his psalms. Even when the king was in his deathbed, his son Adonijah was attempting to usurp the throne ( succeeded by Solomon), and later was killed as a traitor (2 Kings 1:5, 2:25). But amidst all these troubles, trials and tribulations, David’s focus was ‘GOD’. When David sinned in God’s sight, he was quick to repent (2 Samuel 12:13, 16-17). He was distressed in his heart (convicted in spirit) because of his sins in God’s eyes. He did not deny or try to cover his sins in front of God. He never departed from the Lord. He poured out his pains and agony of heart in some of the psalms. God took pity on him (in spite of his grievous sins).
But King Solomon, his borders were peaceful. God called him “Jedidah (beloved of the Lord) (2 Samuel 12:25). There was neither adversary nor evil confronting Him (1 Kings 5:4). Solomon loved the Lord, walking in His ways (at first), and God entrusted him the work of building the Temple. God blessed him with wisdom to rule Israel. People were greatly blessed with the way Solomon governed his people. He was organized, divided responsibilities amongst his officials (1 Kings 4:1-70). God gave Solomon exceptional wisdom and understanding and breadth of mind like the sand of seashore(1 Kings 4:29-30) and Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt( Abraham was promised by God that his seed would receive the land of Canaan for their inheritance, including territory as far as North as the Euphrates River (Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, Solomon’s time it came to fulfillment), they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of life ( archeological discoveries prove that precisely during the period 1100-1900 BC, when the kingdom of Israel was built-up, ‘the weak and inglorious dynasty’ was ruling in Egypt and at the same time Assyria went into a period of decline “ as per J.P Free, Archeology and Bible History, in recognition of the scholarly work of A. T. Olmstead, History of Assyria). This kind of exceptional wisdom from God helped Solomon with peaceful borders as well as happy subjects. He handled his diplomatic relations wisely and got everything from Hiram for construction of the Temple for the Lord (House to the Name of God, a token of God’s presence). The Temple and the king’s house took almost 20 years to finish. Solomon got the best of Cypress and cedars from King Hiram. Solomon made the House for the name of the Lord with the finest( since he had no lack, being the richest king). The foundation stone remains to this day. One of them is almost 39 feet high making it one of the most interesting stones in the world. It is the chief cornerstone of the Mosque of Omar’s massive wall, placed in its present position 3000 years ago. Markings represent culture of Phoenicia, since the building material came from Hiram)
Since everything was so peaceful, once on throne, Solomon went on to become a ‘power despot.’ And as the saying goes, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’” , that was the case of Solomon. He went on a building spree, and for maintenance of his extravagant lifestyle and courts, he resorted to forced labor and heavy taxation( 1 Kings 5:13-15). All political powers were taken away from the tribal sheikhs and given to the officers who were complaisant to Solomon. King Hiram gave the best of cypress and cedars, timber and gold for building the House of the Lord to Solomon, but in return he gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee (Cabul, unproductive land, or Kabul today), apart from the foodstuff 1 Kings 5:11). Resources of the nation, wasn’t used for public utility, but rather on magnifying, exaltation and maintenance of the Monarch.
Solomon was a blessed worshipper (1 Kings 8 :23 -54). He also originated 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1005. But no challenges to keep him busy, made him fall for all kinds of foreign women ( exactly what God had commanded not to do. Deuteronomy 17:17 , God warns Israelites saying “………you shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.”
Yet Solomon fell ( defiantly) for many foreign women—–the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. He had 700 wives, princesses and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:1-4). Imagine so many women with various upbringings and mindsets and gods of their own. It was but natural for a man to get deceived and go far away from The True God. Solomon’s focus shifted from God to women. At the end of Solomon’s reign, Israel became temporally and spiritually bankrupt and left with miseries, dissention, idolatry, and a weak economy.
Solomon was so fortunate to have experienced God’s presence personally (1 kings 3:5-14, 8:10, 9:2-9), yet he chose to deny God, did things that were forbidden by God. When God was supposed to be his focus, and his lifestyle, pagan women got all his attention. Ten tribes were lost (1 Kings 11:31), Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abominable idol of Moab (1 Kings 11:6-7) and all his wicked deeds kindled God’s wrath. Within a year of Solomon’s death, the land was divided into two kingdoms, and the course of Israel’s history was permanently altered.
We are assured of blessings every step of our life only if God is our focus. God reminded Solomon repeatedly ( in spite of all exceptional blessings, there has never been an equal to king Solomon in history, till Christ appeared) “If” you will walk before Me in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all I have commanded you, keeping My statutes and precepts, (1 Kings 9:4).
God cannot be scorned or sneered at, God is the great “I AM”.
Trials keep reminding us that we as mortals are absolutely incapable and powerless to change anything concerning our life. But if we focus only on God, our journey becomes easier. Our trust in Him makes God refresh our minds and hearts every moment with fresh ‘Manna’, “His word”. His presence in our life ensures we always chose the right path, His path, and not get distracted with the wrong broad way the world follows, which is a sure way to doom. If God is our sky, how big and magnificent our sky is.
So next time you are overwhelmed with a trial, ask yourself if you have had sweet fellowship with God of late? Has He been your ‘only’ concern? Also remind yourself, that God loves you and is in control of your situation. He wants you simply to trust Him and put your burdens on Him to carry you through.
(“”The writer has been a Cover page Model for various fashion magazines , anchored various musical shows for youth Channels and a (short film) filmmaker for Discovery Channel. Currently busy writing her own book””)