In today's Old Testament reading (1 Kings 3.1-15), do we get mixed messages about King Solomon? On one hand, we see acts that were clearly prohibited for Israel's kings. On the other hand, we see Solomon's clear devotion to God and selflessness. Solomon is a mixed bag, not without may flaws, faults, and sin, but also blessed and rewarded greatly by God. The bible's depiction of Solomon is that of a very real person, both saint and sinner (simul jutus et peccator)...in other words, just like us.
This passage gives me great hope, because here we see this great saint of the Old Testament, this giant of the faith, who is also deeply flawed and terribly relatable to a fellow sinner. We do ourselves a disservice when we search the Old Testament (especially) for 'character studies,' holding up people from the pages of scripture as exemplars for us to follow uncritically. In these cases, we tend to conveniently leave out the sinful messes that even the most highly praised bible characters make of their lives and the lives of others. We would do better to recognize the earthiness, rough edges, and faults of those in Scripture. To this sinner, the reality of fellow sinners blessed by God in spite of themselves is much more encouraging than holding up a deceptive perfection not found in the bible.
Thanks be to God for the gracious forgiveness we have in Christ Jesus.
Photo by Vitor Barros on Unsplash