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Finish The Journey Of Life Well

Success is not a magic potion that brings joy, peace, and happiness. We probably all like success stories. But we can learn from failures – our own or the failures of others. Several Bible stories tell of men who started well but finished miserably.

Noah was the godly man who walked with God and built the ark that saved him and his family from God’s devastating judgment. But the last recorded event about Noah portrays him as a drunken, naked man.

As a young child and the son of King Ahaziah, Joash was rescued from the murderous plot of wicked Queen Athaliah. Jehoiada, the godly priest, trained him, and Judah crowned him king at age seven. Under the guidance of Jehoiada, Joash did right in the sight of the Lord, and God prospered him. When Jehoiada died, Joash listened to the advice of the young princes, and he and the nation turned back to idolatry. Joash even had Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, murdered because he spoke out against the king’s apostasy. Later, Syria defeated Joash and his army, and Joash was assassinated. (2 Chronicles 23-24).

Amaziah, the son of Joash, did what was right in the sight of the Lord – but not with a perfect heart. God enabled him to win a miraculous victory over the Edomites. But Amaziah brought back the gods of his defeated enemy and started worshiping them. God sent a prophet to Amaziah to warn him of impending judgment because of his sin. Later, a conspiracy arose and slew Amaziah. (2 Chronicles 25)

Perhaps the most remarkable Biblical example of a man starting right and finishing poor is Solomon, the son of David. At the beginning of his reign, God told him, “Ask what I shall give thee.” Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge to lead and judge Israel. Because he did not ask for riches, wealth, honor, or the life of his enemies, God said he would give Solomon wisdom, knowledge, riches, wealth, and honor superior to any other king. (2 Chronicles 1:7-12). Solomon went on to build a magnificent temple, a palace, – and a great nation. He became powerful and very famous. But during that same time, he sowed the seeds of destruction for himself and his kingdom.

1 Kings describes his sordid trail of self-destruction. He multiplied horses and chariots (10:26) – contrary to God’s command (Deuteronomy 17:16), demonstrating his lack of faith in God’s protection. 1 Kings 11:1 says he loved many strange women. The word “strange” refers to foreign women. They were from Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Zidon, and the Hittites. These were women of specific nations that God forbade them from marrying. (Deuteronomy 7:1-4). Solomon ended up having 700 wives and 300 concubines. They turned away his heart from God. Solomon built altars and worshipped Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and Molech, the abomination of Ammon. In addition, he built altars for all his wives, burnt incense, and sacrificed to their gods.

1 Kings 11:9 states that God was angry with Solomon. He told Solomon that he would rend (tear or split apart) the kingdom from him, save for the tribe of Judah. This split would happen under the reign of his son. Then God raised adversaries to Solomon: Hadad, the Edomite; Rezon of Syria; and Jeroboam, the Ephrathite.

Solomon, in all his wisdom and might, riches and splendor, chose to disobey God – and God would not let him get away with it. Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and a significant share of Proverbs. These books contain much valuable wisdom. But Solomon did not follow his own wise counsel. He went in the opposite direction, and God judged him and his nation because of it.

Solomon started out doing right and following the Lord, but let women turn his heart from the Lord. He tried to gain satisfaction from false religions, riches and splendor, pleasure, sexual immorality, much learning, and from many accomplishments in architecture, beauty, wisdom, writing, and governmental efficiencies. None of these ended up giving him personal satisfaction.

Solomon was one of God’s own but neglected to pursue the one thing that would give him satisfaction and peace. His father, David, was a man after God’s own heart. Solomon knew David’s God but was a man of his own heart pursuing earthly pleasures and self-indulgence. He gained the world for himself but lost all the important things. Solomon did not seek a right relationship with God. He missed the satisfaction and joy of a daily walk with God.

What about you? Did you start well and then turn aside from the Lord? Or did you begin well and remain faithful to the Lord?

Are you saved? If not, today is the day to turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

If you are saved, are you enjoying a daily personal walk and communion with the Lord? Are you obeying the Lord in what you already know to do? Success, money, fame, recognition, pleasure, immorality (yes, sad to say, some Christians are guilty), sports, and a host of other things will not bring peace and God’s blessing.

The psalmist said it well in Psalm 1:1-3. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Decide today to not only start well, but to finish well. Don’t let anything pull you away from walking with the Lord.  Joshua 1:7 commands, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law (today – all the Word of God), which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Dale,
    God Bless~


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