The Review and Herald

1419/1902

February 22, 1906

Lessons From the Life of Solomon—No. 23

“Stedfast Unto the End”

EGW

The life of Solomon is full of warning, not only to the youth, but to those of mature years and to the aged, those who are descending the hill of life and facing the western sun. We see and hear of unsteadiness in youth,—the young wavering between right and wrong, and the current of evil passions proving too strong for them. But we do not look for unsteadiness and unfaithfulness in those of mature years; we expect the character to be established, the principles to be firmly rooted. In many cases this is so, but there are exceptions, as with Solomon. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” When Solomon should have been in character as a sturdy oak, he fell from his stedfastness under the power of temptation. When his strength should have been the firmest, he was found the weakest of men. RH February 22, 1906, par. 1

From such examples as this we should learn that watchfulness and prayer are the only safety for either young or old. A man is not one whit the safer because he occupies an exalted position, and has been given great privileges. Those who for many years have enjoyed a genuine Christian experience, are, nevertheless, still exposed to Satan's attacks, and are liable to fall into grievous sins. In the battle with inward corruptions and outward temptations, even the wise and powerful Solomon was vanquished. His failure reveals to us that, whatever a man's intellectual qualities may be, and however faithfully he may have served the Lord in past years, he can never with safety venture to trust in his own wisdom and integrity. RH February 22, 1906, par. 2

Whenever man accomplishes anything in spiritual or temporal lines, he should bear in mind that he does it only through the grace and co-operation of his Maker. When left to himself, man reveals his natural temperament; selfishness appears; human wisdom occupies the throne of the heart. But those who make God their efficiency, realize their own weakness, and the Lord supplies them with his wisdom. As day by day they depend upon God, carrying out his will with humility and whole-heartedness and strictest integrity, they increase in knowledge and ability. By willing obedience they show reverence and honor to God, and are honored by him. RH February 22, 1906, par. 3

From the beginning there has been opposition between the forces of good and evil. God declares, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 4

Man vainly attempted to exalt himself by following his own way, in harmony with Satan's temptation, and in opposition to the will of God. He thus gained a knowledge of evil, but he gained it at the cost of his loyalty; and his disobedience opened the flood-gates of woe upon our world. Ever since, men have been trying to exalt themselves by the same means. When will they learn that the only way to true exaltation is the path of obedience? Men's plans may seem to them to be exceedingly wise, but there is safety for those only who walk in accordance with a “Thus saith the Lord.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 5

The originator of evil, Satan comes with stealthy tread, presenting plausible theories to the people of God, telling them that if they do this or that, even though it may be questionable, they will gain great advantage, and the end will justify the means. He tries to persuade them that the eating of the forbidden fruit will be to them a source of great good. When men listen to him, the spiritual insight is dimmed, and the power of distinguishing between good and evil is lost. RH February 22, 1906, par. 6

Nothing has been so difficult for the people of God to learn as loyalty to the pure, elevated, unselfish principles of heaven. And as a result, sin and suffering make up a large part of their history. The words spoken to Daniel by the angel are positive: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand.” Satan, as a strong man armed, is continually on the watch, seeking to bring in questionable methods, and thereby mar the work of God. He would be well pleased to eclipse the brightness of God's principles by the selfishness of the principles on which he works. If he possibly can, he will tarnish the pure gold of character. If he can place the false where the true should be, his object is gained. RH February 22, 1906, par. 7

Shall we give heed to the warning of Solomon's apostasy, and shun the first approach to those sins that overcame him who was called the wisest of men? In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy. God has bestowed on man great light and many blessings. But unless this light and these blessings are received, they are no security against disobedience and apostasy. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness, and how great is that darkness! Their entrusted capabilities are a snare to them. They become an offense to God. There can be no mockery of God without the sure result. RH February 22, 1906, par. 8

Till the conflict is ended, there always will be a departing from God. Satan will so shape circumstances that unless we are kept by divine power, they will almost imperceptibly weaken the fortifications of the soul. We need to inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” As long as life shall last, there is need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. Not one moment can we be secure only as we are relying upon God, the life hid with Christ in God. The safeguards of our purity must be watchfulness and prayer. We must do nothing to lower the standard of our religious principles. RH February 22, 1906, par. 9

Notwithstanding the warnings that God has given in his Word and through his messengers, many have closed their eyes to danger, and have gone on in their own way, infatuated, deluded by Satan, until they fall under his temptations. Then they abandon themselves to despair. This was the history of Solomon. But even for him there was help. He truly repented of his course of sin, and found hope. Let none venture into sin as he did, in the hope that they, too, may recover themselves. Sin can be indulged only at the peril of infinite loss. RH February 22, 1906, par. 10

All who enter the city of God, enter there through the strait gate,—through agonizing effort. But none who have fallen need give themselves up to despair. Aged men, once honored of God, may have defiled their souls, sacrificing virtue on the altar of lust; but there is still hope for them if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God. He who has so graciously declared, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” has also inspired the invitation, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God hates sin, but he loves the penitent, and declares, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 11

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 12

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 13

“My beloved brethren,” the apostle Paul wrote, “be ye stedfast, unmovable.” God desires us to “hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.” RH February 22, 1906, par. 14