A mentor shared this gem, “We can’t solve the problem until we can identify it.” The context was our debugging of a newly designed and vastly complex circuit board, but his words apply in the broader scope of life. I’ll never recognize the need for a solution until the problem comes into focus. At the spiritual level, as my knowledge increases and my opinion of my performance rises, I can fool myself into thinking that I’m approaching perfection. I can develop spiritual blind spots, tolerance for something that is detrimental. The harm I’m causing myself may be obvious to others, but I move forward in blissful ignorance.
Consider Solomon. As he assumed command from his father, David, Solomon experienced a once in a lifetime moment. God offered Solomon one wish. Imagine the possibilities. What would the new king choose?
So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? 1 Kings 3:9
The new leader recognized that to govern rightly he would need copious amounts of wisdom. God granted Solomon’s desire in a big way.
It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.” 1 Kings 3:10-12
Later the writer of 1 Kings amplified the degree of Solomon’s wisdom,
Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 1 Kings 4:29-30
Most of us recall the first challenge for Solomon’s wisdom. Two women came before him, and both claimed to be the mother of the same infant. Solomon discerned the truth in a judgment that continues to marvel readers today. Israel recognized that their king possessed the wisdom of God.
When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice. 1 Kings 3:28
Would a person with Solomon’s level of wisdom suffer from spiritual blind spot syndrome? Satan looks for the tiniest opening into our lives then hammers on that spot to enlarge it into a harmful defect. His goal is to render us soiled, unholy, and unfit for service to the Lord. Consider this analysis of Solomon with its revelation of his personal blind spot.
Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 1 Kings 3:3
What were the high places? These were the preferred locations for Canaanites to worship Baal and other gods. Note the clarity of God’s directive to Israel as they took possession of the land.
Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places;” Numbers 33:51-52
Israel, infatuated with the practices of Canaanite worship, adopted some of the local customs and worshiped Jehovah from these sites. Solomon may have promoted high places with good intentions, but when his son, Rehoboam, took the throne the people embraced instead the Canaanite rituals.
For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree. 1 Kings 14:23
Every king of Judah from Solomon onward, with the exception of Hezekiah, tolerated the high places. Solomon missed the bigger picture painted by his partial obedience to God’s commands. He never saw any harm. After all, the people worshipped God.
Solomon’s stellar career included the completion of the temple and his palace. He brought to Israel peace and economic prosperity at levels no one imagined. Silver became so plentiful it was considered of little value (1 Kings 10:21). Solomon’s success story seemed one for the ages, but his spiritual blind spot led to his downfall. The crack into his life widened to include other detestable practices.
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:1-8
Stop and consider. This was the wisest man from history, the one whose wisdom surpassed all others. From that level of grandeur and awareness, he missed his own blind spot. His seemingly insignificant tolerance of the high places desensitized him to other temptations, and he tumbled.
There’s a warning to be heeded in Solomon’s life. Let’s open our eyes in humility and recognize our blind spot. Then, let’s solve the problem.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3