The Darker Shades of Obedience
Pivot Points . . . and Pivotal Choices
(This post takes about 3 1/2 minutes to read)
I completed my first book signing last weekend. Ha! I’ve never been to a book signing, let alone hosted one. But what a blessing to be encouraged by so many friends that could have been a million other places on a Friday evening!
I spoke a little bit about the book . . . where the word Metamorphyx comes from, the inspiration to write it, and how long it took—three years if you count all the publisher hoops one must jump through to get a book published.
When speaking to folks, I always look into their eyes to gauge interest and connection. When I mentioned “pivot points” in life—events or circumstances that force a choice on the pathway of life—everyone knew exactly what I was talking about. Their minds, I sensed, carried them back to their own pivot points in life. Pivot points can be wonderfully joyful like the birth of a child, a great new job, or a marriage . . . but nearly everyone agrees that challenging and traumatic events in life are the ones that we quickly recall and create memorable life change.
The Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) curriculum these last few weeks has focused on Solomon, ancient Israel’s wisdom-endowed king. King David’s son also had more riches than he could count . . . to include 700 wives, tons of gold, and thousands of horses and chariots. None of those were in God’s plan for him. But Solomon was on a journey, slowly morphing from the man whose heart centered on building God’s magnificent temple for Israel’s worship . . . to a guy who trumped God’s instructions with his own brand of wisdom . . . and who ultimately embraced darker shades of obedience.
Obedience in our culture is a harsh word. One almost always hears it in a head-bowed, eyes-down posture . . . or spoken in a corrective tone. I’d rather someone tell me that I made a poor choice than have them infer I was dis-obedient—because the latter suggests I knew exactly what I should do but chose the opposite pathway.
Such were Solomon’s choices later in life. He had specific God-given guidelines very clearly communicated to him, but his choices failed him as he slid from loving obedience to his God, to a half-hearted posture before him . . . and then into outright rebellion. Coasting on an early foundation of humility and success, Solomon began to rely on his own brand of wisdom and obedience. That led to a spiritual and leadership deficit . . . one that ultimately compromised his integrity and effectiveness as Israel’s king and set the stage for future disaster. Sometimes too, failing to make a choice—the default to “do nothing”—can be just as devastating in life as making the wrong choice. Such is the nature of pivot points.
All the above is splendidly laid out in the first dozen chapters of 1 Kings. This fantastically interesting section in the Hebrew Scriptures tells us a LOT about shades of obedience . . . from the fulfillment of joyful and loving obedience . . . to the darker shades of Solomon’s dis-obedience that close out the book of 1 Kings.
What shades of obedience do you aspire to? Are there “no decision” defaults in your inventory? What do you need to turn away from . . . or turn to with conviction? If you read Metamorphyx, as my friends on Friday night apparently intend to do, you’ll see plenty of evidence of how life can go off the rails when pivot points intersect our pathways of life. Some of those fall within God’s sovereignty and are beyond our control. Those demand an obedience of faith and perseverance. But there are other pivot points hatched by our own hand that usher in disaster . . . and life careens into a ditch.
“Show me the way I should go for to you I lift up my soul. Teach me to do your will for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:8,10).