1 KINGS 8:65-9:9
65So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him — a great assembly, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt — before the LORD our God, seven days. 66On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the LORD had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.
1When Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, 2the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me; I have consecrated this house that you have built, and put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 4As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, 5then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’
6“If you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7then I will cut Israel off from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a taunt among all peoples. 8This house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this house?’ 9Then they will say, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, worshiping them and serving them; therefore the LORD has brought this disaster upon them.’”
P --> Q; P; Q
If P, then Q; P; therefore, Q
Modus ponens is the most elementary valid form for propositional logic. Causal chains work this way (for example: If it rains, then the grass will get wet; it rained; therefore, the grass got wet.) Promises work this way (for example: If you do your homework, then I'll take you to the movies; you did your homework; therefore, I will take you to a movie.)
[I know I've written a devotional awhile back using modus ponens. Apologies to those thinking this and annoyed by the repetition. If you read it before, then you are annoyed; you read it before; therefore, you are annoyed.]
What's said to Solomon by God is a HUGE modus ponens. Basically, if you walk faithfully with me (God), then your royal throne will last forever. However, if you don't, then you (Israel) will be cut off. Needless to say, a lot hangs on Solomon's way with YHWH. Makes sense, since Solomon is king and he represents Israel.
How about you? Have you thought about the different modi ponens in your life? Promises made to you by the Lord? Consequences of certain decisions you've made for yourself?
Almost everything that happens happens because of prior choices. A sequence of choices and results and further choices and results determine the shape of your life. There's some mystery to how things turn out; but there's also plain old results based on good and bad decisions and actions. We live in a causally linked universe. No one is immune to the causal network that keeps things in place and in motion. Part of wisdom and commonsense is seeing this.
Thankfully God interjects, intervenes, rescues, and saves. But the Lord does not always pluck us out of trouble that we get ourselves into. Sometimes He'll expedite the process; other times, He'll just let us go through a mess slowly and painfully. That's life.
For today's devotional, I encourage you to consider not the small modi ponens in your life, but the BIG modus ponens in your life, similar to the one issued to Solomon by the Lord: if you follow me wholeheartedly, then ....; if you don't follow me wholeheartedly, then ....
Please share with others your thoughts about this. What do you think your life would look like if you went after God more fully and passionately without any reservation? What do you think your life would look like if you went after God half-heartedly?
Share and pray with others.
Let's pray: Father God, grant us the wisdom to see the contours of our lives as they are shaped by our decisions and actions. Help us to see that our choices make a big difference in what we get out of life. Thank you, Father, that your love and grace are ever with us and that despite our weaknesses and mistakes you are able to redeem lost situations. But may we be not so naive or presumptuous to think that we can choose whatever and live without painful consequences. Give us a mature view of things. In Jesus' name, amen.