- Lack of a prophetic voice
- Lack of discipline
- Lack of understanding
Lack of a prophetic voice
Ravi Zacharias has pointed out that one of the failings of King Solomon is that there is no evidence that he allowed a prophetic voice to be heard during his reign. David had Nathan who called him to account for his misdeeds with Uriah and Bathsheba. Solomon had no such person to confront him.
Solomon started out as a shining example of one who was dependent upon God and who followed after Him. Poor choices soon began to take their toll in his life and in the Nation of Israel. His many wives lead Solomon to worship idols and other false Gods. He also explored philosophies that are contrary to the revelation that he had available to him. He did all these things while not allowing a representative of the living God to call him to account.
Solomon became unfaithful because he stopped listening to God. In the same way, if I stop reading Scripture, if I shy away from fellowship, if I avoid Biblical preaching, I will walk away from God and will become unfaithful.
The prophetic voice is crucial to faithfulness.
Lack of Discipline
King Saul did not lack for a prophetic voice. He has such a voice in Samuel, who frequently was used by God to give instructions to the king. What Saul lacked was the discipline to put into practice the instruction of Samuel.
Saul’s disobedience with regard to the destruction of the Amalekites led to him being rejected by God as king over Israel as recorded in 1 Samuel 15. In the dialog between Samuel and Saul in this chapter, we find the famous line, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Obedience to what God commands is much more important than religious ritual.
In the same way, I can be undisciplined in my Christian walk. I need to be intentional in my efforts to read Scripture, pray and interact with other believers. If I do not have discipline in these areas, I will move in the direction of unfaithfulness. Left unchecked, gross immorality will be the result.
I should note this is not an endorsement of legalistic rigidity. The emphasis should be on the pattern and the motivation. I am not called to a “check box” mentality. If I am in relationship with God, I need to daily spend time communicating with him through prayer and Bible reading. Some days I can invest a longer time, some days shorter, but it needs to be daily. I need to be disciplined in this.
Discipline is crucial to faithfulness.
Lack of Understanding
One of the requirements that God placed upon the kings of Israel was that they were to write out their own copy of the Law. Obedience to this command would allow the king to understand the requirements and prohibitions that God placed on the king and the people of Israel.
Rehoboam is an example of one who displayed a lack of understanding. Solomon, his father, left the nation under a heavy tax burden. Instead of relieving the burden when he became king, Rehoboam increased it which resulted in much of his kingdom seceding under the leadership of Jereboam. Had Rehoboam consulted the law of Moses, he would have known of the prohibitions against building up an army and would have understood that his role was to protect and guide the people. The king was to function for the benefit of the people and not the other way round.
In the same way, I feel the need to ingest enough Scripture so that I understand God’s mind on the issues that face me on a daily basis. Lack of understanding is an enemy to faithfulness.
How can I be faithful to God if I do not spend sufficient time in his word so that I understand what he requires of me?
Understanding is crucial to faithfulness.
The common denominator
The common denominator in these three items is Scripture. I need to allow it to convict me, I need to be interacting with it daily, and I need to work hard at understanding it. These three activities are the antidote to the three enemies of faithfulness I outlined above.
By reading Scripture, I gain a sense of what to do. By practicing obedience, I can put the Scriptural commands into practice. By the reading of Scripture, I also gain a sense of when I am going wrong, thus allowing the prophetic voice to provide correction before I go completely off the path.
Thank-you God for providing such a resource. Scripture is crucial to faithfulness.