1 Kings 11:4-13
When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with the Lord his God as his father David’s had been. Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. He did what was displeasing to the Lord, and was not a wholehearted follower of the Lord, as his father David had been. Then it was that Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord the God of Israel who had twice appeared to him and who had then forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not carry out the Lord’s order. The Lord therefore said to Solomon, ‘Since you behave like this and do not keep my covenant or the laws I laid down for you, I will most surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. For your father David’s sake, however, I will not do this during your lifetime, but will tear it out of your son’s hands. Even so, I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. For the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen, I will leave your son one tribe.’
Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord the God of Israel
The journey of faith is not an easy one and it certainly is not for the faint-hearted. All of us are called to soldier on despite the many persecutions and torments that we face either in person or mentally. Perhaps it may be accurate to say that our faith journey is one like that of a marathon instead of a sprint where all of us are called to continue to bring the love of God to all those whom we meet. It certainly is not easy but it is persistence that will see us through.
I believe that King Solomon lacked the persistence to continue in the faith of his father, King David. Indeed persistence often stems from a firm grounding in a particular belief that allows a person to continue despite the many difficulties. Participants in a marathon will tell you that it is the belief that one can see the finishing line that drives him towards enduring the many aches and pains that make his life miserable in the course of the run.
A positive example of such persistence is found in the Gospel where the Syrophoenician woman persisted in asking Christ to cure her child. We need to be persistent in our praying and not give up after our own imposed deadline has expired. God does not work on our timeline but on His own time and basis.
However, we must also be prepared to take “No” as an answer. It is not easy but the persistence that we strive to have must not be based on the assumption that we will obtain the outcome that we desire.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord grant us the faith and persistence of the Syrophoneician woman
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who pray unceasingly.