"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5.
Thursday's chapel during spiritual emphasis week focused on Solomon, the king of Israel, who was described in I Kings 4:31-33 as being the wisest man of all.
Chapel speaker Pastor Wes Collins invited students to turn to Deut. 17:14-17 for information on what a king should be like. The passage says the king of Israel must not acquire a great number of horses, must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold and must not take many wives or his heart will be led astray.
Yet in I Kings 10 and 11, Solomon is described as having more than 120 talents of gold (worth millions of dollars in today's terms), 1,400 chariots, 12,000 horses, 700 wives, 300 concubines and large quantities of spices and precious stones.
Collins explained that God's instructions for the king about horses, wives or gold were designed to make sure the leader of God's people would rely on God for strength, for provision and for God's guidance for living.
But the thousands of horses and chariots showed that Solomon was relying on his own strength, while the fortune in gold and jewels showed Solomon was relying on accumulating wealth rather than on God's provision.
And the problem of the many wives was not just that Solomon was not being faithful to just one woman but that he was using marriages with wives "of royal birth" from the neighbouring kingdoms in the hope of forming strategic alliances and achieving peace.
Using students to demonstrate, Collins explained that kings would hand their daughters over in marriage to other kings, and take their daughters in marriage in return, in order to establish peace treaties. Instead of trusting in God, Solomon was trying to work it out on his own, Collins said.
"Of course, the plan backfires and there is no peace," he said.
Worse, the wives turn Solomon's heart away from the Lord, Collins said. In Deut. 17: 18,19, the king was instructed to read the word of God "all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully are the words of this law and these decrees." But 1 Kings 11:4 shows that Solomon's wives turned his heart after other Gods. His heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, Collins said. Solomon followed Ashtoreth and Molek, and did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
"If Solomon, the wisest person on earth, crumbled to the ground when he leaned on his own understanding, what will happen to you if you lean on your own understanding?" Collins asked. "If Solomon, the wisest person in the world put aside God's word in order to do what he thought was best, what do you think will happen to us if we chose to forget God by ignoring what he wrote?"
Collins said one of the ways in which we ignore God is by seeking relationships with unbelievers. He told students to date a person who has a better relationship with Jesus than they do, someone who will "walk with you and pray with you and read God's word with you.
"When you begin dating and when God blesses you with marriage, date and marry someone who is a Christian," he said. "The Lord will provide for you, I am confident in that," he said. "The question is will you trust him?"
Here's a video of I Am Not Ashamed.
Important Note: Friday's chapel starts at 9:30, following choir rehearsal and Teacher R&D. All are welcome!
P.S. Pastor Wes Collins also confessed to the students that he's not wise, and tends to lay awake at night plagued by questions such as:
If mummies are from Egypt, then where are daddies from?
If you throw a cat out a car window, does it become kitty litter?
And if a kid refuses to sleep during nap time, is it guilty of resisting a rest?