I am a news junkie.
Always have been. As a kid, I remember watching the evening news with my dad. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but something about being “in the know” pulled me in and made me feel special. I made up my mind that I was going to be the next Jane Pauley and even went so far as to get my Master’s Degree in Journalism before deciding a career as novelist was more my style.
But that need-to-know itch never quite left me.
Now, in the midst of this global pandemic, that small little itch has erupted into a full-blown rash. I am constantly reading, watching, or listening to the news. I’m scrolling social media, clicking on articles that may or may not be legitimate…but I’m reading them anyway. I’m talking to my friends about the news they’ve been reading, watching, and listening to.
My obsession has become a full-blown addiction.
And can I be honest? It’s all because of fear. I am afraid, and the only antidote is wisdom. I want to know anything and everything there is to know about COVID-19. The problem is I read one article that tells me one thing, then I immediately watch a show that tells me something else. The sheer amount of uncertainty and conflicting information exacerbates my fear and leads me on a constant search for more information. The next thing you know, it’s 2AM and I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, reading conspiracy theories on the internet while my husband snores beside me.
I need an intervention.
An intervention in the form of a king who lived over two thousand years ago. A king with more wisdom than I could ever find on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News combined. A king often is referred to as the wisest man in the world.
Solomon was son to King David and ascended the throne after his death. The Book of 1 Kings records a dream Solomon had while at Gibeon, in which the Lord appeared to him and told him to “ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5). Knowing the task that lay before him, Solomon answered, “…give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 King 3:9). This pleased the Lord so much that He replied, “I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning hear, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for–both riches and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings” (1 Kings 12-13).
With this wisdom, Solomon did great things. He not only built the temple in Jerusalem, a house for God and a place for His people to worship, but he also “spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life…he also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings in the world, who had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:32-34).
God gifted Solomon graciously, and Solomon used that gift to bring glory and honor to the Lord.
For awhile anyway.
Because, you see, Solomon had a weakness. And his weakness was women. Back in Deuteronomy, God commanded his people not to intermarry with people from the surrounding tribes. Although this directive may cause some nowadays to cringe, there was a purpose behind that had nothing to do with racism. The Israelites were God’s special people, set apart and chosen for the special purpose of bringing forth the Savior of the world. God knew the nature of intimate relationships–especially with those who did not know the Lord–would cause His people to go astray. “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods…” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4a).
And yet Solomon not only married Pharaoh’s daughter, he also “loved many foreign women…Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites…he had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines” (1 Kings 11:1-3).
Solomon did amazing things for the Lord. And yet in this one area, he thought he knew better. He believed his wisdom to be enough. So much, in fact, that he believed he didn’t need obedience.
And can you guess what happened? Yep. “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God” (1 King 11:4) and “the Lord became angry with Solomon” (1 King 11:9).
The first half of Solomon’s amazing life–all the things he did for the Lord–was marred by a distinctly different second half. God raised up adversary after adversary against Solomon, including some within the kingdom of Israel. There was war, strife, family conflict, and a promise from God to “tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates” (1 Kings 11:11).
Solomon chose his own wisdom over obedience to God. And the result was a stark, unsettling lack of peace, both internally and externally, for the rest of his days.
And that’s because wisdom, although not necessarily a bad thing, will never produce the life God wants for us in and of itself. For that, we need something more.
Fear can lead us to seek comfort in many different things. For me, I find it in knowing. If I know it, I can control it. But can I tell you something, friends? In these crazy chaotic times, all the wisdom in the world has never given me peace. It has never give me control. Only trust in and obedience to God can give me that.
In Solomon, we see a man whose wisdom outshone everyone and everything around him…including submission to the God who’d given him that very gift. Keep in mind, God never removed that gift; He never stepped in and took Solomon’s wisdom away. But, even with this gift from God, Solomon did not end up living the life God intended him to live. Because he chose self-sufficiency over self-surrender.
By all means, stay informed. Stay alert. Stay safe. But, most of all, stay in God’s Word. Stay in constant prayer. Seek His wisdom above man’s, His will above self-reliance. Listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit–and then do what He says!
Wisdom will only get you so far. But obedience will get you to the place He means for you to be. And, best of all, He’ll be right there with you.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
So let’s turn off the news for a bit and open up the Book that gave us the best news of all.
****This will be my last post for a few weeks. My Air Force husband has been instructed to move so we’re packing up bags and REALLY learning to trust God while buying a house, finding a new school, and traveling across the country during a global pandemic. I have a few more #historyfriday posts to run, but then I’ll return again in the fall with more and hopefully some devotions that won’t be centered around COVID-19. 😉 Stay safe, friends. See you soon!*****