Hey, Calvary Fremont –
Is it important to end well? Well – ask any wife if she wants her marriage to be happy and healthy for her whole life. Ask her if she wants security and fidelity and happiness all through her marriage. Yes, she wants to end well. Ask the same of any husband. They, too, want to end well. A bad ending puts a long-lasting sour taste in your mouth – like when the bad guy gets away with it at the end of a movie.
A poor ending is the result of under-developed character. Ending poorly casts a temporary shadow on a person’s reputation and tarnishes their legacy. It’s important for you to live life and end life well. And that means dealing with any character flaw that you are aware of. It is crucial that you bring your character flaws to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your soul.
King David and King Solomon both began well but ended poorly. And their poor ending began with a woman. And let me be quick to say that it wasn’t the fault of the women – it was the failing of undisciplined men. The Bible is not misogynistic – it is not woman-hating. Who was first to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? That’s right – it was Eve. Who is blamed for the fall of mankind into sin? Hint – it’s not Eve. The blame is squarely placed on a man! A golden opportunity to stick it to women forever was missed as Adam, and not Eve, bears the responsibility for the plunge of mankind into its present state of misery.
King David began well – very well – exceedingly well. He had one of the best beginnings in all of history. From slaying Goliath, to acting with courage and wisdom and humility toward King Saul (who was trying to kill him), to becoming King of Judah. What a great story! What a great beginning! And his son Solomon had a great beginning, too. From building the temple in Jerusalem, to becoming the wisest king ever known – his wisdom is legendary. Kings and Queens from the then known world came to his court seeking his wisdom. Additionally, he made Israel so prosperous, and gold was so plentiful in his days that silver was basically valueless. What a great beginning both kings had.
The story is well known. Later in life, David saw a naked woman who was the wife of someone else. His desire burned within him. He had sex with her and got her pregnant. He had her husband murdered and then married her. It was utterly shameful! Then one of his sons raped one of his daughters and then another son murdered the rapist. And King David did not discipline his sons! His family fell apart and he just stood there and watched it happen. Then David did something that cost 70,000 lives. And not much later he died. That’s a poor ending in anyone’s book.
King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (a concubine has less status than a wife). With all the children he had he could populate a small mid-Western town! And a lot of these women were foreigners who came with their own gods and modes of worship. The Bible says that King Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from the Lord and he worshipped idols and foreign gods. The wisest man in the world committed the greatest folly. That’s a poor ending.
It was a woman’s sensuality that started King David on his disastrous course to a poor ending. For Solomon, it was women’s spirituality that launched him on his downward spiral toward a poor ending. David wanted to accommodate his lust, whereas Solomon nurtured a wider sympathy for the culture around him. Instead of insisting on the strict monotheism of his Jewish heritage, Solomon affirmed the truth claims of the various religions represented by his many wives and concubines. Solomon was urbane and cosmopolitan whereas David was all passion and sweat. Solomon was ruined in a temple where he didn’t belong, whereas David was ruined in a bed where he had no right to be. David was in pursuit of pleasure, whereas Solomon just wanted to fit in.
A poor ending is the result of under-developed character. David had shown great moral restraint earlier in his life when he didn’t kill the man wanting to kill him. Yet his earlier moral restraint was overwhelmed in this unguarded moment of sexual desire. And his earlier faithfulness didn’t prevent his later unfaithfulness from causing him great damage. Solomon had written many things inspired by the Holy Spirit promoting the glories of knowing the one true God. But his earlier revelations didn’t prevent the damage resulting from his descent into idolatry.
Whether wanting to satisfy your sensual desire or wanting to relax your Biblically informed values and standards to fit in with the culture around you – you face the same dangers as did David and Solomon. Only a character forged in the fire of the Holy Spirit can withstand the subtle – and not so subtle – temptations you face. Every day should find us calling on God and praying, “Lead us not into temptation.” If a man with the heart of a King David can be lured into sexual sin – so can you. If a man with the mind of a King Solomon can be seduced into spiritual compromise – so can you. Pray daily, “Lead us not into temptation.” Make it even more personal and cry out to God, “Lead me not into temptation.”
It’s never been more important to end well. And the only way to end well is to live well. And the only way to live well is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the wisdom of His Word, and in the fellowship of the Church. You can’t end well alone.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim