Just a word of caution… It is possible to be near the Lord, to sense His presence, to hear His voice, and to enjoy His wonderful blessing (even in unusual and special ways) and be drawn away from the Lord – even to turn away from the Lord! I mean it isn’t as though the Bible doesn’t warn against this! A significant passage in this regard is I Corinthians 10:12-13: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall! No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful! He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
King Solomon, blessed with incredible wisdom (and about every other imaginable blessing) is a case study in this truth and a warning for us… I probably could paraphrase it, but I won’t. Here it is, right out of the Bible! Please read the whole thing…
“Solomon loved the Lord! … At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your sevant David, my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward You… Now, O Lord my God you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people… Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil for who is able to govern this your great people.
“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this! And God said to him, ‘because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold I now do according to your word! Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments…I will lengthen your days” (from I Kings 3:3-14)
But here is the sad story – the tragic reality – “the rest of the story”…
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women… from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love… And his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God. Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem… And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.’” (from I Kings 11:1-11)
How did the writer of Hebrews put it? “Take care, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the Living God! But exhort [encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin!” (Hebrews 3:12–13)