In 1 Kings 8 Solomon offered a marvelous prayer. As the one who wrote the Song of Songs, Solomon was very deep in spiritual things. Nevertheless, in 1 Kings 11 we see that Solomon’s "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" (vv. 9, 10). However, Solomon "kept not that which the Lord commanded" (v. 10). How far Solomon had fallen! His fall should be a warning to us. If we do not accept the restriction of God’s choice, we also may fall in the same way Solomon did. In fact, this has been the experience of a number of saints who once had part in the Lord’s recovery. They seemed to be very useful to the Lord in the building up of the church. At a certain stage, they were today’s Solomon building the temple or writing the Song of Songs. But due to some kind of lust, they eventually became divisive. They set up a "high place" for the satisfaction of their lust. I have observed this both in China and in the United States.
HIGH PLACES AND AMBITION
In 1963 those from certain Christian groups proposed to meet jointly with us in Los Angeles. At the start of this joint meeting, I gave a message from Romans 14, warning the saints about divisions caused by different opinions. I pointed out that we all must learn the lesson of oneness according to Romans 14. Nevertheless, after a very short period of time, at least two "high places" were set up: a "high place" that elevated speaking in tongues and another high place that uplifted the teaching of biblical doctrine. Those involved in these "high places," these divisions, had not the least concern for the unique place of God’s choice. In other words, they had no genuine concern for oneness. On the contrary, they cared only for the satisfaction of their desire, their lust. Furthermore, some became divisive because of ambition. As a result, ambitious to be leaders, they left the Lord’s recovery. Because their ambition could not be fulfilled in the church life, they turned their back on the church and even began to oppose it. At first, they regarded the Lord’s recovery very highly. But simply because their ambition for leader-ship was not fulfilled in the recovery, they left and set up a little "hill" to fulfill their ambition. This "hill," another "high place," was a cause of division.
It is crucial that we take heed to all the points in Deuteronomy 12. We must learn to fear the Lord our God and not to do what is right in our own eyes. Rather, fearing the Lord, we must do what is right in His eyes. Nothing requires us to fear God as much as the keeping of the oneness. If some Christians were to establish a place of worldly entertainment, we would immediately condemn that practice. However, not many would condemn just as vigorously the establishment of a divisive Christian meeting. At the most, the majority of Christians would say simply that they do not agree with that meeting. Some may even justify it, claiming that it helps people to know the Bible and to follow the Lord. Apparently such a meeting is designed to render spiritual help. Actually it is a division which has its source in someone’s lust or ambition. At such a "high place" something other than Christ is exalted.
When I first went to Shanghai in 1933, I met a particular brother who was very active in the church life. He had come into the church in 1927 and was one who sought the Lord. One day Brother Nee pointed out to me that this brother was ambitious to be an elder. Eventually, in 1948, seeing that his desire for eldership had not been fulfilled, he left the church. He started a meeting in his home and hired a traveling preacher to minister. He turned his back wholly against the church. Furthermore, the preacher hired by him wrote a long book criticizing and defaming Brother Nee and spreading rumors about him. After twenty-one years in the church life, this brother left the church in order to set up a certain kind of "high place."
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)