The Flaming Heart
Two Sons of David
The contrast between these two lives is striking.
• Jesus was born in poverty and made a living as a humble craftsman in the community. He ascended heaven’s throne where He rules today.
• Solomon was born in a palace and lived his life in finery, but ended his life in the extreme poverty of the riches of this world.
• Adultery and murder shadowed the circumstances of Solomon’s birth, his father and mother laden with guilt.
• Angels sang, shepherds wept, and kings humbly knelt to welcome the baby Jesus into this world.
• Solomon was known as the wisest of men.
• Jesus was known as the greatest.
• Solomon composed works of poetry summing up the wisdom he gained throughout his reign.
• Jesus told stories, held conversations with anyone who asked him anything, and preached sermons.
• Solomon died in sin, his heart consumed by the strange fire of his foreign wives.
• Jesus died with no sin of His own, but laden with the sins of all.
• King Solomon’s story ended with his death; his only legacy the poetry he had written.
• Jesus’ story simply took a turn of the plot when he died for He left us more than words and wisdom. He Himself remains with us bringing heaven to earth in Spirit-empowered worship.
Perhaps Solomon’s greatest work is Ecclesiastes. The pinnacle of the words of Jesus has to be his marvelous Sermon on the Mount. These two documents, Ecclesiastes and the Sermon on the Mount each representing a son of David, describe deeply contrasting spiritualties that still drive worship today.
The Spirituality of Solomon springs from bitter human experience. If anyone in all the world could be said to have “had it all,” it must be King Solomon. Just as we see today, there is no such thing as enough. He begins his epic poem this way:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Eccl 1:2NIV
And it goes downhill from there. Cynicism abounds in this work and “live for the moment for tomorrow may be worse” attitude is the prevailing point of view. Before concluding his tome the king recapitulates his theme: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!” Eccl 12:8NIV
His conclusion, however, flashes a faint but rather fatalistic glint of hope. With fatigued resolution he writes:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. Eccl 12:13 NIV
To paraphrase, this son of David said, “I guess there is nothing left but worship so we might as well worship.”
Even in bitterness Solomon spoke true wisdom. “The whole of man,” the entire essence of every human being, is wrapped up in God. To worship/serve (these two things are really one thing) him with “heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mark 12:30) is our job description, our purpose, our reason for existing. Centuries later the Son of David completed the lesson.
The Spirituality of Jesus springs from His incarnation. He communicated a spirituality Solomon could never imagine. The spirituality presented in the Sermon on the Mount comes from another world, the world of the Spirit. This is the lost spirituality of the Garden of Eden when God and people walked together in the cool of the day, before sin broke that fellowship. (Genesis.3:8) This relational spirituality was the thing that was lost that Jesus came to seek and to save. (Luke 19:10)
An exposition of the Spirituality of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is the subject of a book I want to write someday and is far beyond the scope of this writing. I will sum it up by connecting it to Solomon’s conclusion. Jesus taught that the “whole of man” was this relational spirituality:
• Your life is important; it flows from your Father in heaven who cares for you deeply.
• He has given you the gift of prayer which is the blessing of time spent with the Father. It is not for show, but for deep fellowship.
• Now, live a life to bless others, even your enemies.
• Seek the Kingdom of God above all other pursuits and as you seek Him, you will find Him and fellowship with Him, as He meets all your life’s needs.
• You will be blessed, when you are poor in spirit, when you mourn, in your meekness, in your hunger and thirst, when you are merciful and pure in heart, when you are the peacemakers and even when you are persecuted.
• And you will build your life, not on the sands of cynicism as Solomon did, but on the solid stone of Jesus, secure no matter what storms rage against you.
New Covenant Spirituality
This is the spirituality of the Flaming Heart. On the road to Emmaus two disciples found themselves in company with the resurrected Son of David. (Luke 24:13-36) Eden-like, He Jesus fellowshipped with them as they walked along. He opened the scriptures to them, giving them insight into current events. As they walked on the path of life, Jesus kindled a flame in their hearts. This Flaming Heart is the greatest proof of the resurrection.
In the Secret Place and in the Sanctuary, the flaming heart is the Spirituality of worship.
For the next four weeks I will be writing twice each week on the spirituality of Worship Renewal on my blog at The Worship Renewal Center. Join me and let’s walk this pilgrimage together!
Dr. Stephen Phifer has a doctoral degree in Worship Studies from the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He currently serves as Creative Arts Minister at First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. Dr. Phifer has written numerous musical and literary works which have had extensive use in churches. He is the founder of TheWorshipRenewalCenter.com.
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