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The Solomon Syndrome

Commentary by Roger Oakland

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According to the Bible, Solomon was an extremely wise man. Solomon was granted wisdom because he asked God for wisdom.

His father David was described as ďa man after Godís own heart.Ē However, he could not always be called wise because of his actions and his behavior. David, like each one of us who claims to follow Jesus Christ, had a daily battle with the conflicting struggles between the flesh and the spirit.

Paul made it clear in Romans chapter eight that he too dealt with this same battle. [1] It is simply the nature of the Christian life. If you are alive and you are a follower of Jesus, you will always be faced with choices. You will either be led by the Spirit or by your flesh. The question is, who do you want to follow Ė Jesus or Satan?

Recently, a number of circumstances have happened impacting my walk with Jesus Christ. This has forced me to search my own heart and try to understand my own behavior as well as the attitude and behavior of those who are attacking me. I have come to the conclusion the best way to do this is to study the Scriptures. 

All of us know Christian leaders who were once respected and used by God as faithful servants. How is it possible then, you may ask, that someone who started out dedicated to Christ and His Word and taught the Word, can end up being trapped in a state of delusion? How can such a person be convinced that he or she is above the Word of God and does not need correction?

This malady that permeates and infects Christian leadership in our world today is what I call the Solomon syndrome. Great leaders are only great if they faithfully follow Jesus and abide in His Word. Often great leaders become great deceivers because they end up following Satan and their own flesh. Because they have large followings, they are looked up to as great men of the faith. Further, while they have led many astray, they may or may not know they have done this because they are convinced they are Godís agents.

Solomonís Trap

Satan is a master deceiver. He hates man and wants to destroy Godís plan of salvation. Satan is a schemer. In Ephesians, Paul describes how he works and uses the term ďwiles of the devil.Ē His plans are widespread, and he seeks to delude both believers and unbelievers. If he can seduce a believer who is considered a shepherd, then the sheep that shepherd is supposed to be protecting can be driven to market rather that directed by the Holy Spirit to heaven.

This is why the protective role of watchmen and watchwomen is so important for the body of Christ. At times, these watchmen on the wall must bypass  shepherds who cannot or will not see the danger coming because of their pride or their desire for money or power or fame, things which have blinded them .

The Path to Power and Possession

There are a number of ways that a pastor and a church can accumulate power and possession. A pastor or church can start out small and not even be interested in taking an offering.  This keeps the pastorís mind off man-given resources and helps him concentrate on teaching the Word and protecting the sheep.  Then as the church grows and the fruit becomes obvious, more people attend. They want to experience and taste the fruit too. They come in hungry; they are fed and then come back with their offerings.

Soon the small facility that housed the small gathering needs to be enlarged. Perhaps a home Bible Study moves to a strip mall. Some years later when that facility has maxed out, the board and the pastor look for a larger facility. Now they have a problem. Big buildings require big budgets, and big budgets require big offerings. Big offerings require generous donors who have a lot of money. People with big money have power and influence and like to control pastors. The love of money is the root of evil, isnít it?

While this pattern is being fulfilled many times, today especially in the circles where I have traveled the past twenty-some years, the pattern is not new. This is exactly what happened to Solomon. He was warned about three things that would take down his ability to serve God Ė too many horses, too much gold, and too many women. Horses symbolize power, gold symbolizes wealth, and Solomonís many wives and concubines symbolize sexual immorality.

History shows that Solomon was not as wise as he should have been. He fell on all three accounts. His mighty empire was taken down even though he was warned. In todayís standards, the largest megachurch would not even begin to compare to what Solomon controlled. The property of the largest megachurch would not compare to what Solomon owned. The power of the most powerful pastor today would dwarf beneath the power held by Solomon. Solomon stood in a category by himself.

Unfortunately, many of those who have followed in Solomonís footsteps have forgotten about the Solomon syndrome. Or if they have not forgotten, they are too proud, or they have too much power. They have no intention to repent and acknowledge their sin.

Or there may be another factor. They may even be covering something up they donít want revealed that others know about. They may even have been extorted.  Or they are being manipulated by relatives or acquaintances that have plans to inherit their kingdom after they drop dead or become too senile to make decisions.

David and Nathan

While David was a man after Godís own heart, Solomon was a man that left God and followed Satan. Solomon was seduced by his many concubines, and he worshipped their gods made of wood and stone. This was very grieving to God for the Scriptures are full of references of what God thinks about idolatry.

I suppose the question to ask is this: what if Solomon had a Nathan like David had? In other words, what if someone had come to Solomon and told him the bold truth rather than just keeping things covered up? What if this person or group of persons were alive today? What if they went to those in leadership who were deceived and deceiving others and encouraged them to repent and to say they were sorry.

It seems to me this would be the best solution. Maybe I am wrong, but I think not. Repenting is always the right solution to sin, isnít it?

Maybe the sin is the love of horses, or gold, or too many women. The best plan is Godís plan . . . not manís; wouldnít you agree?

Whether this suggestion is right or wrong, there is one thing I know for sure, there will be those who are angry and will be ready to destroy me for suggesting such a thing. The reason I know this is because I have been down this road before. Remember Ichabod?

Godís Bondservant

Watchmen and watchwomen have never been popular with the people. Their gift is usually considered a curse. No one wants to listenóespecially the pastors and the leaders. Their message is seen as too negative, and they are labeled divisive and troublemakers. The pastors and the leaders do not want to hear. The pastors and the leaders will even try to discredit the watchers on the wall and say they are crazy or that they have a slim grip on spiritual reality.

Sometimes the watchmen becomes weary. Sometimes their bodies breakdown from the stress. When they pursue the truth, those who call them liars attack them further. I know because this continually happens to me by those I once considered to be friends.

With regard to friends, they become fewer and fewer. People you once used to fellowship with, now knife you in the back. First, they put a bag over your head. Second, they spin you around to get you dizzy. Finally, they go in for the kill, so to speak, after dark.

These betrayers are like Judas. They love darkness. They operate in the dark. Their motives can be varied. Their loyalty is to man rather than to Jesus.

In spite of all this great opposition to cover up the light of the truth, watchmen and watchwomen must work fervently to walk as Godís word has instructed. They must not lose their tempers or their cool. They need the grace of God in which to stand (Romans 5:2) and the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Here are the words of Paul:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. [2]

As the current events are unfolding, it is apparent the time is very short. Soon this will all be over. When Jesus returns, what we do for Him will all have been worth it. For now, there is no other choice than to keep going even if it is one step at a time. The Gospel is worth dying for because Jesus died for us. It is a small price to pay for what He has done for those who are His.

[1]   Romans 8: 5-13

[2]  2 Timothy 2: 23-26

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