Awake Somnambulist!

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.  For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? – Ecclesiastes 8:6-7 (ESV)


Solomon… If ever there was a man who had it all, it was Solomon.  He sought God’s wisdom, and received it in great abundance.  He was blessed by God to be chosen to build the temple – an honor his father, David, had been denied. 


The Lord set Solomon in a high place indeed, as king of Israel.  And it is good to be king!  God not only blessed Solomon with great wisdom, but great earthly wealth as well.  His annual income in gold has been estimated at over $1,000,000,000 (yes, that’s billion with a “b”).  He received gold by the boatload (literally).  Do you remember the TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”?  Chump change compared to Solomon.


And women… One thousand of them.  700 wives and 300 concubines. And the Bible tells us Solomon loved all his wives.  (Men, go ask your wives what they think of that.  Better yet, don’t.)


Solomon had it all.  Right?


In the end, it all had him.  All this wealth, all these women, all this earthly pleasure seems to have lulled and dulled the wisest man who ever lived into a somnambulist.


A sleepwalker.


And the results were dire.  Among Solomon’s wives were women from other nations who worshipped other gods.  This included the daughter of Pharoah – a fact that, considering their understanding of the Exodus, should have rung loud alarm bells to Solomon that something was amiss in his life.  “And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:3b-4, ESV).


Now, here is the part that should put a cold chill down your spine:

9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.”

14 And the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon…


I’m no genius.  But even I know that, when you’ve stirred up God’s wrath to the point that He rises up an enemy against you, this isn’t going to be pretty. 


Or comfortable.


Indeed, Solomon’s folly led to Israel’s downfall.  He led his people to destruction.


Here is my point:  Today is a great day to stop a moment and take stock of your life. 






None of us knows how many days we have on this earth.  Don’t spend them in a fog, sleepwalking through life, so engrossed in the details and minutae of work and home and school and kids and soccer schedules and bills to pay and football and trivial stuff that God gets shuffled to the background.  We are called to seek God and His will and His path for our lives first and foremost.  Nothing is more important.


Nothing is more important.




One day all this world will be gone.


Don’t let the junk of this life weigh you down.  Let nothing come between you and the Lord.  “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9, ESV).


As Solomon wrote, after the wages of his sin had begun rolling in, “The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:17-18, ESV).



One Morning’s Thoughts (or, I Was Walking Along Minding My Own Business When…)

The heart of man plans his way, but The Lord establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

I am truly getting a deeper sense if just have debilitating perfectionism can be. I realize that, without a solid plan and some assurance of success, it is really really – really – difficult to launch and see to fruition any project.


Most mornings I get out of bed and head downstairs for my morning jolt of caffeine. As I descend the stairs in the predawn dark, I try to be conscious of where the landing is. Like the old saying goes, be careful of that last step. It’s a dooooozy!

Most mornings I succeed in not overshooting (or underestimating) that last step. I have been known to step out one step too soon with painful, noisy and humbling results. Yesterday my foot blindly landed on a very disgusting little gift our dog created – evidently not more than a few minutes prior to my unpleasant discovery.

Life is like this. We are walking in the dark, unsure of what is just ahead of us. We may think we know. We may feel very sure of what will come next. We have planned every step meticulously. We have counted each footfall as we go downstairs in the dark.

What we didn’t count for was what the dog did in our path.

When we step in the unexpected, we can yell and bark and be disgusted and shame the dog. Or we can stop, clean up the mess, wash our feet and continue.

Life should come with these instructions: plan loosely. Proceed. Mess up. Clean up. Learn. Apply. Repeat.

You don’t have to know the outcome. God has that covered: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV).

Don’t let uncertainty lull you into inactivity. Go. Do. Trust God. Remember: perfection is way out of our pay grade.

(C) 2014 by Chris Courtney. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share this piece of encouragement with anybody who you feel would be blessed by it.

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