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Bible Ah-Ha! #12

In his own story, Surprised by Joy, CS Lewis tells how he left the faith during his adolescent years and then returned at about the age of 30. As an Oxford scholar and writer, CS Lewis, would later write, “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

I think that’s also a good way to see the Bible.

It is not to be an end in itself, but rather a window through which we look at everything else.

Just knowing a lot about the Bible can leave us proud, legalistic, and difficult to be around (1Cor 8:1-2). But when we use the inspired words and story of God the way Jesus himself did, they provide us with the live-changing wisdom through which, like CS Lewis, we too can be “surprised by joy.”

Seems to me that if there is a downside to being raised in a Christian environment, it’s that it is easy to look at the Bible, Christ, and faith in him, as old furniture to be replaced– rather than as windows through which to see the gift of meaning and purpose.

The story of Solomon is an example of how the Bible is a window for me. He was raised in an environment of faith mixed with all of the problems of growing up in  a difficult, blended, and very public home. At some point, he took it all for granted and ended up concluding,

“Everything is meaningless… “utterly meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work? Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t already exist long ago?” (Ecc 1:1-10 NLT)

Only in his return to the God of gods could he say,

“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. It will be too late then to remember him, when the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among the clouds. Your limbs will tremble with age, and your strong legs will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to do their work, and you will be blind, too. And when your teeth are gone, keep your lips tightly closed when you eat! Even the chirping of birds will wake you up. But you yourself will be deaf and tuneless, with a quavering voice” (Ecc 12:1-4 NLT)

Yet before it was too late, Solomon did return to the “Law” of God. He concludes his own “memoirs” saying,

“There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting! Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad” (Ecc 12:12-14).

Finally, with his faith restored, Solomon was at “the window” again.

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15 Responses to “Bible Ah-Ha! #12”

  1. paul bishop says:

    Word of wisdom and Word of knowlege ( gifts of the
    Spirit ). Christianity is what the world calls it,
    we know it as a relationship with the living Lord.

  2. Ayanfe says:

    I agree completely with this perspective. Two passages bring this home to me personally. The first (Proverbs 1:7) “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and the second (Matthew 6:33) “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added”. Effectively our faith and Christianity becomes the premise and prism through which we not only view the entire world but also engage and interact with it. It gives meaning to what (as Solomon indicates) would otherwise be meaningless.

  3. desert rose says:

    I was very surprised at your statement. I often have heard pastors say that Solomon never repented and that is why he had so many wives and why he went served the gods of his wives. But you are writing that he returned to the Lord by what was written in Ecclesiastes.

    I would think that if we have the security of the believer recorded in the New Testament the same would hold true in the Old Testament.

    So what are your thoughts? Why would Solomon’s heart be turned against God by other gods when God gave him wisdom beyond any other person prior to that time?

    I looked up the verses in I Corinthians 8 and it reminds me of someone I know who professed to be a believer, went to Bible college but now does not believe the Bible. I saw their life change when they were in Bible college and saw the sheer joy of learning the first semester. Now, they have gone on to higher education in secular colleges studying religion and they no longer believe the Bible is true as it is written.

    How do we lose our first love? How often I have seen individuals coming to the alter but never do they have any fruit afterwards. It must be like the seed that is sown and it falls on different types of ground.

    Can not we be like Solomon and forsake what is really true and pure. Phillipians 4:8 is a favorite verse of mine and I don’t watch a lot of TV because it does not fall in line with this scripture.

  4. poohpity says:

    I struggle with this myself. I have been around many who use scripture to assert what they want you to believe and it is done in an aggressive way which causes me to shrink back. When I read the Bible I do it sometimes out of a great desire to spend time with the Lord other times I do it out of duty. In those times I desire I experience His great love. I guess it would be compared to a marriage that loses it’s fire for complacency.

    The world can also cause a hardening of the heart and we can loose the newness of His love. This is a battle I go through almost daily. What I try to do is to reflect on the past experiences and remember his love or listen to music to make that love new again. It would be nice if we could rekindle our first love every morning as His mercies are new every morning. I would be interested how others rekindle their love affair with our Lord.

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    desert rose, apart from the record of Ecclesiastes there doesn’t seem to be any indication that Solomon came to his senses. I’m working from the assumption that Ecclesiastes is an inspired record of his spiritual lapse and eventual conclusion. The last chapter seems to reflect the words of a man in advanced age encouraging the young to avoid his mistakes. If someone else later wrote Ecclesiastes as Solomon’s story, it still describes him as coming to his senses in the end.

    As to whether real believers can wander so far from God, I’m convinced that a child of God can fall into the same sins as anyone else. That’s the idea behind our brochure, “Ten Reasons to Believe Real Christians Can Look Like They’re Not.”

  6. Mart De Haan says:

    Your words/story resonate. I could have written them as my own.

  7. Seyi says:

    I agree with your perspective…
    Knowing the Bible is actually a very great thing, however just knowing the Word again as you said can leave one feeling high and mighty. Something even more important that merely knowing the Word is looking at the world through the words of the Bible. Seeing the word, truth and wisdom of God in ordinary events that happen day by day and living a life according to the word.
    Funny you should mention Solomon, because recently I was consumed by a desire for worldly things (specifically money…not that money is bad, but the love of money should never overshadow the Love of God) but for some reason I couldn’t gain the satisfaction in desiring and actively pursuing these things. I then tried to understand how everything in life fit together, while saying that I know it’s through God, yet thinking outside God. Well, definately I was filled with extreme depression at the futility of life…to heighten things, God directed me to read te whole of Ecclesiastes…
    At first the depression seemed endless until I started progressing through the book and God actually showed me that there is no life without Him.
    And thanks be to God, right now I can live my life loving Him and deciding nothing shall ever take His place (#1) in my life again!
    yh well…guess I wanted to share this as a testimony and as an agreement to you post about Solomon

  8. desert rose says:

    Mart, thank you for your response. I am going to read your brochure. Sometimes I think we need to look at what our spiritual altitude is. Maybe we under estimate the spiritual warfare that is going on and we become complacent.

  9. GodsBride says:

    I know all about being raised in a home where both father and mother are ministers of God. Church was our second home. All of my life (as far back as I can remember), I’ve been in church. I began studying the Bible when I was about 10 years old–learned it just about through and through. But just like Solomon, I lost focus. I tried everything I could THINK of to try that was contrary to God’s Word. Finally, God allowed me to see myself, and I “saw” GOD. I came back to God at the age of 21–let me tell you: GOD IS FAITHFUL! For awhile, I was one of those “legalistic, proud” people, but thank You, Jesus! God showed me His “heart”–what it REALLY means to be called a “daughter, a son”. His love taught me love; His Spirit enabled me to know Him as He is known. To try and love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and spirit now enables me to not only strive to love others as myself, but to rely on the Holy Ghost to enable me to love as He ordained. I’m certainly NOT perfect–not by a LONG shot, but everyday, Poohpity, I’m reminded of what God did for me. I’m reminded of how even when I was “faithless” AND “unfaithful”, He did NOT deny Himself! I love nature; I adore it! In the sun, I see God. At night, in the stars, I see God. In my husband and children’s faces, I see the love of God. When the trees are gently bowing in the wind, I SEE GOD. Even when I struggle and suffer, He “holds” me, and whispers “sweet SOMEthings”!Everyday, THAT is enough to rekindle my “love affair” with the LORD. I CAN’T forget what the LORD has done for me, and brought me out of. I’m not above “slipping”; but with God “upholding” me (as long as I allow Him), I trust that I won’t fall.

  10. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Evening everyone, Mart, I believe for some people, in which i believe i am one of them, advercity, sickness, disease, and others things is what some of us seem to need to stay close to the Lord, even though i do not enjoy some of the things i believe satan has put on me the last few years, my desire to spend more time with the Lord, and to help others find the Lord has not been greater for many years, and because i believe spending time with the Lord first thing every morning, and desiring direction from the Holy Spirit throughout the day, and desiring to be doing some thing for someone else every day is one of my purposes in life.
    Loosing my wife Joy a little over 2 years ago, was very depressing for awhile, recieving the news I have A.L.S. about 9 months ago, added another reason to find out why i needed this also, these are terrible things that have happened that possibly could have been avoided if i would have opened my eyes to what all God had given me, but i believe Solomon was not much different than most of us today, we take God for granite, and every thing He has given us, and we do get complacent without even noticing it.
    Treasure the moments we have with God, and with your spouse, and those close to you, God loves you, Mart loves each of you, and i love, and desire to find a way that we could all get together even in this life.
    Nothing is impossible.

  11. daisymarygoldr says:

    Ah-Ha! The Bible is a window not only for people born and raised in Christian homes but also for those in non-Christian homes.

    After living a “meaningless” life spent in a vain pursuit of wisdom, wealth and women, I, Solomon the wisest and wealthiest king, the son of David, hereby conclude- “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person”.

    However, there is a greater than Solomon- Jesus Christ the King of Kings, son of David, Son of God even the ‘Wisdom of God’ whom God chose to reveal- not to the wise n’ wealthy nor the powerful and influential but to the foolish, weak, lowly and despised things of this world!

    Even as we live in an age where everyone is caught up in a foolish frenzy to gain the whole world only to eventually find everything to be utterly “meaningless”, it is a blessed privilege for followers of Christ to abide in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ the Wisdom of God and Him crucified (1Cor 2:2)!

    Ah-Ha! A yellow window is a good picture of the Bible filtering in the bright sunshine of God’s Wisdom into every dark heart:)

    Gale L. Jarvis, you are a true embodiment of Christ-like wisdom. I have personally benefited from your sagely advice that you hand out every now and then. Praying for your A.L.S…

  12. aoluleye says:

    Many thanks for this reading. When Christianity is our Faith; then we are like Christ. When it is our religion; then we are inventing things. Our Lord Jesus Christ showed the way. Every circumstance was used to advance the Kingdom business of His Father. It enveloped Him. It was His faith. As a teenager, I slipped too. How regretful because the years rolled by without being in the Lord. This brings it firmly. When we relate to God; thats when we are living. Every other thing/way is trash. God Bless.

  13. Gena says:

    I know a sweet lady who was raised in a fine christian home and is still actively involved in her christian life as a wife and mother. She once told me that she is always looking for fresh opportunities to keep the bible alive and I believe she truly does. Her son she says…appears to have left his “first love” and she knows he needs to get back. Her daughter is fine and still living a christian life as a wife and mother herself. But I know other fine christians who are busy serving the Lord, but who never give me a call “Hello” except if they need financial support. I guess what I am saying is… perhaps like Solomon we will all come full circle, but along the way don’t forget to love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and keep friends and family included …God loves them and watches over them too ~ your family and friends will want the joy you have and will want to make the Lord their Savior too.

  14. Ceelojr says:

    I have to admit Mart, this is a real deep issue with me. I’ve been going to church since I was six, and preaching since I was seven. Became a theologian, evangelist, then an ordained minister because I loved the study of the word so much, but I have found myself in situations where the word resonates in my head to follow up as a rebuke on the conduct and behaviors of others (I did this a lot with my ex-wife). God has shown me and confirmed through this selfless ministry of yours that He wants me to use scripture as a tool for discerning and not judging. Discernment takes place in a inward manner versus judging which excercises itself outwardly. This “epifany” has encouraged me to share in the nature in which we all fail to live up to the glorious standards upheld in God’s law and to reflect on His grace and love for all of us. We are all in the process of being transformed; that’s what His word does for me at least. The more I share my genuine struggle in this process and allow God’s word to speak to me, the more I can be an example and comfort others in the midst of their own shortcomings. Through The Word I see myself, the world, our past, present and future. This comfort I now receive is what I share instead of an outward rebuke towards others. May God continue to empower you with these revelations. Thank you Mart!

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