Summary: Seven ways we can offend God
I’ve always admired people who can wear a T-shirt that’s so outrageous that you wonder what made them wear it in the first place. For instance, there was a retired guy who wore one that said, “At my age I’ve seen it all, heard it all, done it all. I just can’t remember it all.” Someone else had one that said, “I used to be horribly schizophrenic, but now we’re both O.K.” And then a mother with three very hyper-active kids had a shirt that read, “Now I know why animals eat their young.” One guy had a shirt that said in the front, “Bomb expert” and on the back it said, “If you see me running, you better keep up.” Then there was a deaf couple who were signing to one another and his shirt said; “Don’t yell at me.” And hers said, “I’m not yelling.” The one I really got a kick out of was the guy whose shirt said, “I’m with stupid” and he was all by himself.
Even stranger than what people put on their T-shirts is what people put on their gravestones. Here are a few I read, “Harry Edsel Smith of St Albans born 1903 died 1942 and then the phrase, “I looked up the lift shaft to see if the lift was on the way down. It was.” In a Somerset, England read one, “Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.” On the grave of Jobe Aikle in London, England it said: “Here lies Jobe Aikle, age 102, only the Good Die Young.” I guess that was his evaluation of himself. And then another one in London, England said, “Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann.” Now, here a strange one in Ribbesford, England and it makes you wonder what member of the family wrote it; it says, “Anna Wallace; the children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna. Clark Wallace wanted a wife and the Devil sent him Anna.” I don’t think that was written by Anna. In Kent, England one said, “Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.” And then in a Birmingham, England cemetery: “Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake who stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.” A lawyer’s gravestone in England said, “Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.” John Penny’s epitaph in Wimborne, England says: “If cash thou art in want of any, dig six feet deep and thou wilt find a Penny.” In a Hartscombe, England one reads: “On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went out of tune.” Anna Hopewell’s grave in Devon England says, “Here lies the body of our Anna, done to death by a banana. It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low, but the skin of the thing that made her go.” And then the last one was on a grave from the 1880s in Epping London: “Under the sod and under the trees, lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod. Pease shelled out and went to God.”
It’s nice that some people give us something to think about after they’ve gone and when we read about Solomon the first thing we think about him is that; he was the wisest man who ever lived, right? And he was; because God gave him the wisdom and then he went on to demonstrate how wise he was by the things he said and the many things he did. I mean, God used him to write the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs and then he built huge estates beginning with his own house which we’re told took him thirteen years to build and they say it was the size of a football field and then he built the Temple in Jerusalem; which as I said a few weeks ago; his father donated the first four billion dollars and then Solomon threw in the rest. On top of that he also had his own fleet of ships to support his shipping and mining businesses and brought in everything his heart could possibly imagine. He had so much money that he was considered to be the richest man who ever lived.
But listen; a good beginning doesn’t always mean a good end because we also see that the wisest man in the world did some really dumb things. For instance, he had a thousand wives and there are several suggestions why he did. I’m sure many these were part of his political alliances but there was a cost to this because many of these women led him into various forms of cultic worship to the point that God said about him in 1 Kings 11, “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.”