I have been exploring the ‘mid-life crises’ of David and Solomon. They both started so well. Each man experienced God in amazing and life-changing ways. Both were exceptional. David was ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ Solomon was literally the wisest man ever. Ever! God had spoken to each of them and through each of them. And yet…
David and Solomon give me hope. Their brokenness encourages me, because it shows me that I am not alone. They were both warriors in God’s kingdom, and yet when they reached their 30’s or 40’s they stumbled. They faced a life transition, and they faltered. To use an automotive metaphor, they didn’t make the turn. They couldn’t shift into a different gear. David left the battle. He chose safety instead of adventure. He coveted other beauty instead of being content with the beauty that God had given him. Solomon ‘exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the Creation instead of the Creator.’ When Solomon built a home for himself that was greater than the home he built for God, it was the perfect outward symbol of his inner state. He lost sight of the adventure and battle that God had given him. The beauty and joy that Sheba admired was not enough for Solomon. He coveted other beauty, and that beauty turned him away from God. And he had no one to stop him.
The Life-Changing Difference
You see, Solomon created the bar graph of his priorities for everyone in the world to see, and he did not have a Nathan to ask him about his heart’s motive. Solomon had begun to believe his own resume. His press releases had skewed his view of himself. Everyone in his known world worshipped him. Every woman threw herself at him. He was not strong enough to resist, and he had no one to tell him “You are wrong!” (2 Samuel 12) And no one was there to set him straight.
David’s life could have ended just as tragically as Solomon’s. After all, he not only committed adultery but then tried to cover it up, even to the point of having his best friend murdered. He could have easily kept going down the path, stubbornly refusing to admit he was wrong. But instead, he came to his senses and repented. Why? Because he had a friend and ally who was brave enough and close enough to tell him the truth. Nathan saw what David was doing and boldly told him that he needed to stop. Because of Nathan, David’s flaws led to a confrontation, and he finished well.
David made his mistakes and wrote Psalm 51. Solomon made his mistakes, and he wrote Ecclesiastes…many years later. Instead of immediate repentance, Solomon’s was an end of life lament of the futility of it all. It is tragic irony that the author of the book on romantic love (Song of Solomon) and the book of wisdom (Proverbs) ended up wasting his life on shallow, selfish love and foolishness. Yes, he came to the correct solution: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” But he had to live through the futility of his poor decisions and a life half-wasted to get there.
Are You David or Solomon?
Men, you will be tempted to leave the battle. You will be tempted to maximize safety and sacrifice adventure. You will covet other beauty. You will feel like going passive. Be vigilant! Be alert! Make the right choice! But as we make small shuffles down the slippery slope, do you have someone to set you straight? Do you have a man or a team of men to urge you in the right direction? You need a Nathan, or your future just might turn out to be meaningless.