Gradualism (Bible Ponderings#6)

Welcome to “Bible Ponderings #6” which finds me in 1 Kings 11 in the chronological reading plan. Every few weeks or so I hope to toss out there what I’m currently reading and invite you to ponder with me!

Ever noticed how an imperceptible change in course can lead to a widely different outcome in the destination? In aviation, it’s called the 1 in 60 rule. Basically, for every one degree you’re off course, the plane will miss its target by one mile for every 60 miles it flies!

Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.” (You can read the whole account in 1 Kings 11:1-13)

Wow. King Solomon had completed building the temple for the Lord and had made a wonderful prayer of dedication in the presence of all the people back in 1 Kings 8: 22-25. Solomon knows the deal…there’ll always be a descendant of David on the throne of Israel as long as Israel obeys God and walk in His ways, worshipping no other gods.

Who was the wisest guy on the planet? Solomon!

Who gave us the wisdom of the book of Proverbs? Solomon!

But…

…the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.1 Kings 11: 9-11 

Any missed destination starts with a one-degree deviation. Imperceptible at first.

Perhaps it started with the whispering of Solomon’s first wife? “Let me worship my god my darling, it won’t be any bother to you, I promise.”

Considering Solomon ended up with 700 wives, and 300 concubines, that sure adds up to an awful lot of potential wife pleasing!

Gradualism is a dangerous thing. A little compromise here, a little compromise there, and before we know it we’ve built a “high place on the hill that is east of Jerusalem.” If my geography is correct perhaps that high place was even in sight from the mount where the Temple of the Lord sat?

That makes me ask myself, and perhaps it’s a question we could all ask ourselves, have I got anything in plain sight that I have compromised on that isn’t pleasing to God? What could be the change in my destination if I continue to allow it, pursue it, or tolerate it?

Something to ponder!

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25 thoughts on “Gradualism (Bible Ponderings#6)

  1. Thank you for your thoughts! It’s true that the smallest of compromises can lead to major disobedience later on. The story of Solomon is so sad. He had everything! Including the favour and friendship of God. I think his first compromise was marrying his first foreign wife. He didn’t need to use marriage alliances with foreign powers to protect his kingdom, and marrying foreigners was also strictly forbidden by God. It was maybe a lack of trust in God’s protection right there. Or perhaps just his own pride and lust… A good thing to ponder though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great points you make Joy!
      So true. The compromise started long before we read the results. Even that he had chariots and traded in horses from Egypt both of which were also forbidden…as you say, he had everything! It is a sad story, but it seems that he comes to some kind of realisation at the end of his life from what we read at the end of Ecclesiastes. Lots to ponder!

      Like

  2. Just this morning I read these verses and went back to the verse when Solomon asked God for wisdom and discernment. I though about the drift that he had and here when I see your post it made me smile. Small deviations do lead one on a trajectory that ends up far from where one should be.
    A wonderful reminder and I very much enjoy your Bible ponderings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A little compromise, here and there, and the next thing you know you’re way off course. I’ve heard of plane crashes where a pilot flew into the side of a mountain because he following the wrong navigational beacon. The plane was only one degree off course, but it added up over time and distance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Powerful words! I have lived it and can testify to the truth of this. So we end up asking, ‘ How did I get here?’ Thank God He allows U-turns. However, the consequences can be life altering – even with grace and mercy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Solomon’s story makes me sad because he started off in the right direction, but slipped away, little by little. I appreciate the insight in this post, to help us looking for areas in our own lives where we might be letting small compromises creep in.

    Liked by 1 person

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