Matthew chapter 1 lists the ancestors of Jesus. You will learn more about your Savior as we trace through segments of his family tree.
Like Solomon we find ourselves chasing after great projects, pleasure, or wealth instead of pursuing God’s kingdom first.
Thomas D. Kock
There are a lot of smart people in the world, aren’t there? I think of the people who built the first rocket to the moon. Wow! What a collection of brains that must have been! Or how smart does one need to be in order to invent a computer or a cell phone?
There have always been really smart people. The Great Pyramids in Egypt are just one of many testimonies to that fact.
SOLOMON’S UNWISE DECISIONS
One of those really smart people was Solomon. He was a builder; he constructed God’s temple, a magnificent palace, and other buildings. He wrote songs and proverbs. He described plant life—so we could say he was a scientist—and he was a teacher. In Ecclesiastes he’s called “the Teacher.” In fact he was so smart that God makes this amazing statement: “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart” (1 Kings 10:23,24). Wow! What a statement!
But we also read this tragic statement: “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women. . . . He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines. . . . As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. . . . So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD” (1 Kings 11:1-6). He was so smart, and yet at the same time he was, well, so dumb. He rebelled against the One who had given him his great wisdom and even turned his back—at least partially—on that wonderful God. Dumb!
And what a price he paid! In Ecclesiastes Solomon describes life apart from God. He says he pursued great wisdom, attempted great projects, poured himself into pleasure, amassed great wealth! The result? “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
GOD’S PERFECT PLAN
Is Solomon different from you or me? The all-wise, all-knowing God says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Wouldn’t it be smart to listen to the all-wise, all-knowing God? Sure! And yet like Solomon we find ourselves chasing first and foremost after great projects, pleasure, or wealth. The pursuit of God’s kingdom gets pushed to the background. We find ourselves stressed and struggling. And yet like hamsters on a wheel, we continue to chase after those earthly things. Sounds like we’re a lot like Solomon!
But Jesus doesn’t abandon us. Instead, he chose to enter our oh-so-foolish world, so that he, in whom all wisdom resides (cf. Colossians 2:3), could look oh-so-foolish as he died a criminal’s death, all in order to win life eternal for us humans. Yes, he chose to enter our world as a descendant of Solomon. He put our needs before his, pursuing God’s kingdom first so that we who so often fail to put the kingdom of God first will someday inherit the kingdom.
That doesn’t seem wise to us, but it was wise to God.
And God is much wiser than anyone, even Solomon!
Contributing editor Thomas Kock, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, is a member at Atonement, Milwaukee.
This is the second article in a nine-part series on people in Jesus’ family tree.
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Author: Thomas D. Kock
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015
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