Monday, May 23, 2016

If I Had Only Known

When King Solomon dedicated the new temple, he prayed the benediction to open the festivities. As I read through that prayer, I realized it was a kind of prophecy, in part addressing the coming captivity.

(Leanna Paraphrase) "When the people sin and are carried into captivity by their enemies, if they truly repent, please forgive them and help them in that place." from 1 Kings 8:46-48

It was, in a way, a surprising prayer. Since they left Egypt, the people had known great prosperity and military victory, with very little defeat, but Solomon was right. Sin would come and, along with it, consequences.

The most remarkable thing about his prayer is that Solomon, in a way, started the journey to captivity. He did the thing he prayed against.

He married many pagans wives and followed them into idolatry. He set up high places and shrines to the idols. He sacrificed to them there. He worshipped Molech, the idol to whom child sacrifices were made. 

Israel never recovered from it. Idolatry became widespread in the nation. Idols were a problem until, 250 years later, they were taken into captivity by Assyria. Just as Solomon had prayed.

As I read his prayer, I wondered what he would have done differently if he had known what his sin would cost him. What it would cost the nation. 

Would he have believed it?

I look back on my own life and see how the sins of earlier years have brought consequences and results years later. If I had known what those sins would cost me, would I have done them? Maybe not.

And yet, we do know. The law made it clear that sin has consequences. It made it clear what those consequences would be. Deuteronomy 28 is filled with the specific results of ongoing sin. If they persisted in their sin, and refused to repent after all God's disciplines, He would scatter them and send them back to slavery. (Deut. 28:64-68)

Solomon did know. Yet he sinned anyway.

And we do the same.

We know sin has a price, but we don't believe it will happen to us. Even when we're told ahead of time. I do it, and you probably do, too, but it's not wise.

We can, however, make a different choice. A better choice. 

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants." Deuteronomy 30:19 nasb

We can have blessings if we want them, but we have to choose them with our lifestyle. 

Since we know better, let's do better. Let's take a step closer to Christ and follow Him. Let's love God first, with every fiber of our being, and love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. 

It's not just the right thing to do. It's the best way to leave a legacy of blessing for our children and grandchildren.
In case you missed it, here's the link for yesterday's post: The Crummy Soil and the Traveling Plants (

For those doing the Hosea study, the Chapter Four lesson is now live and here's the link: Chapter Four 
Here's a link to another blog post about choosing blessings or curses: Blessings or curses: We can choose