For a good chunk of my life I always thought of Israel as a firmly established kingdom, continuous, and contiguous. For most of history however this was not so. There were really only three (it can be argued 2) kings over all of Israel; Saul, David and Solomon. Solomon, fresh off of building the temple stumbles and stumbles hard. Following the whims of culture, political pressures and his many many wives, He worshiped other god’s and built temples to them.
Solomon, for all his wisdom, fell short and did not keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes and things fell apart when Solomon died. The fault lines of this breakup were set long before his death and at his death, things got really messy. We will get to that in the days ahead, but for today our reading sets the stage.
God is good on his word, but those to whom he makes these promises, are not. This doesn’t stop God however, God is always at work, seeking the good, the beautiful, and most importantly our salvation even when we are dead set on going the other direction.
When I was in Boy Scouts, we were working on, the “lifesaving” merit badge at the pool at Stoughton High School. I remember our instructor emphasizing that when you are saving someone who is drowning they often fight against you and your efforts to help. I imagine God knows this feeling well. We want control, we panic when things go bad, and instead of leaning into God and his saving help, we fight God off, we struggle we kick and we pull away. I see this in Solomon’s story, yes he was wise, yes he was rich and famous, and all those things got in the way of what God was trying to do for him and for all people. But as I said, that doesn’t slow God down, he is constantly at work trying to save us, keep us, and bring us safely home. Thanks be to God!
Keep all those folks who are dealing with the after effects of Sandy in your prayers today. There are many who are helping on the ground already and I give thanks to God for them, and pray for their strength even if I can’t be there in person to help.