“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour; so does a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.”

Ecclesiastes 10:1

As someone once said, “You give an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
A foothold soon becomes a stronghold. A momentary indiscretion may soon lead to a lifetime of regret. An ill-advised decision in a moment of weakness can turn a life upside down.

In reality, these are all self-evident truths. We need not be a trained theologian or learned, practicing philosopher to know their reality. All we have to do is watch the news, read the headlines, watch those around us or, sadly, sometimes just look in the mirror.

Solomon knew this all too well.
He’d started out strong. Entrusted by God and his father with building the long-awaited Temple (I Chron. 28:1-29:25). Blessed with great wisdom and wealth (II Chron. 1:1-17). Promised a continuing kingdom and Temple presence IF he continued to lead the people to “humble themselves, pray, seek God’s Face and repent” (II Chron. 7:12-22).

But, such was not to be.
His “700 strange wives and 300 concubines turned his heart after other gods. . .and he did evil in the sight of the Lord and went not fully after the Lord, as did David, his father” (I Kings 11:4, 6). His once-prosperous life and kingdom became as “dead flies that cause the ointment from the apothecary to stink.”

And, dear Pilgrim, the same will happen to us—even if we have a “reputation for wisdom and honor”—if we, like Solomon, engage in “folly and foolishness.”
Assuredly, there are none of us who are perfect or always tow the mark. We all “wobble in our walking” and “fall short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). But, by God’s Grace we daily seek to “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him” (Lk. 9:23). And, in those times when we stray, we must “come to ourselves, arise and go to the Father” (Lk. 15:17-19), Who will come to us just as we are, welcome us Home with a Holy Kiss and restore us to our former estate (v.20; I Jn. 1:7).

What strongholds are there right now in your thought life or deeds that are keeping you from full surrender? Are you harboring unforgiveness and nurturing a bitter root in your heart? Are you, like Solomon, involved in some type of idolatry (materialism, hedonism, etc.) or immorality that’s grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit?

If so, the solution is simple: Repent. “Turn from your wicked ways” (II Chron. 7:14a)—for only then will the Lord “hear your prayer, forgive your sin and bring healing to your soul” (v.14b). Only then.

Always remember: As someone said, “It only takes a few rotten apples to ruin the whole barrel.” And, it only takes a few unconfessed of and unrepented of sins to ruin a witness and cause a foul aroma to replace the Savior’s sweet fragrance.

July 25, 2011