Monday, February 22, 2021

Staying Focused

1 Kings 11:1-43 describes how Solomon’s selfishness, disobedience, lust of the flesh, and defiance led to him turning away from his calling as Israel’s king, and ultimately caused the majority of the kingdom to be taken away from his lineage and given to his servants. The Lord explicitly admonishes in Exodus 20:3 and Deuteronomy 5:7 that humanity is to have no other gods before Him, and not to make any graven images [or idols] for worship.

The Lord had warned Solomon twice (v. 9-10) not to associate with or marry pagan women, explaining to Solomon that these women would turn his heart from the Lord because they worshipped idols and false gods. Solomon refused to heed the Lord’s warnings, and in his lusts and pride, he married hundreds of pagan women and took for himself hundreds of concubines. Not only did these women turn Solomon’s heart away from the Lord and toward their idols and false gods, but Solomon also built temples for their gods in which they were to worship and offer sacrifices.

In his disobedience, Solomon forsook the Lord. Further, he allowed himself to become distracted and haughty. Romans 12:3 warns that we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, and yet, Solomon did just that, and ignored the will of God, not realizing or caring that there would be dire consequences. 1 Kings 11:1-43 teaches many valuable leadership principles, much of which is learned by examining what Solomon failed to do. For example, Solomon was the wisest man alive, and yet he did not employ wisdom to follow the Lord’s instructions and warning.

Leaders are to be wise, humble, obedient, and selfless, and must always know and understand that all wisdom, power, and authority is given by God. Solomon failed to realize that as a leader appointed by God, he had a responsibility to steward over the kingdom, and to value his leadership as a gift from the Lord. When God gives leaders responsibility, we are to steward well over that which He entrusts us. 

1 Kings 11:1-43, which is from the Old Testament, is a type and shadow of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29, in which the master [ultimate ruler] took the talents from the servant who failed to produce a return and gave them to the servant who had the most. He did so because that latter servant understood the responsibility of stewardship. So, too, are we leaders to steward well over our calling, and not take it for granted.

Applying 1 Kings 11:1-43 to time management for my thesis, the first thing I had to bear in mind was the need to keep God first (Matthew 6:33), to pray and seek His will for my life and for my thesis, knowing that my thesis was (and is) a gift from, and a representation for, Him. I had to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and pray for wisdom (James 1:5), believing that God would provide me the wisdom and all that I needed to successfully complete my thesis (Mark 11:24). In my prayers, and as I asked others to pray for me, I consistently asked the Lord for wisdom to effectively prioritize my life, help me to be disciplined to adhere to a set study and life schedule, and to give me the discernment I needed.

Understanding that my thesis required a great deal of time, patience, and thought, I had to be humble and observe the wise counsel of my instructor, my Pastor and First Lady, and others whom I trust to provide sound and godly advice and guidance. Staying focused and determined was critical for me, and one way by which I remained focused and determined was to commit myself to write a thesis about which I am passionate, with my ultimate goal being to glorify Jesus.