Wisest man that ever lived. Had more wives and concubines than any other man in history. Was the most prosperous King in Israel’s history. Was part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Author of several books of Scripture. Heart turned away from God by women. Built the most glorious temple Israel ever saw. Sacrificed the most animals recorded in Scripture. Second son of Bathsheba to King David. Wrote a love poem/story. Said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”. Penned the words to a great American song 2000 years ago ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Which one of these would you like written on your tombstone? Each one of these statements are true of Solomon. Many of them are great, but one of them is the worst statement that you could put on somebody’s tombstone.
As we look at the life of Solomon we see a man that started out well and ended badly. You have read about the beginning of Solomon this week. This beginning was challenging but it is important for us to understand the significance of a few of these events. Today we will look at Solomon’s beginnings, God’s blessing of Solomon, the judgment of God on Solomon, the consequences of Solomon’s action. We will then close with some reflection for us.
First off, David honors a promise made to put Solomon on the throne (I Chronicles 22:9, II Samuel 7:12). David acknowledges his promise to put Solomon on the throne. Not only does David say this, but he puts his plan in motion to bring about the kingship of Solomon. He swore, saying, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.” (I Kings 1:28-30). A couple things we should take note of here. First, notice David’s declaration about who God is and what he has done. Is there any doubt that David is trusting in God! David acknowledges God as his redeemer. David trusted God so much that he would not harm the person that was God’s anointed as king. David waited until God removed all obstacles. This is what real faith looks like.
In 1 Kings chapter 3 we see these words about Solomon “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father,…” It should be noted that two verses before this it is stated that Solomon made a marriage alliance with the Pharoah. This is important note that you should remember. If you remember in the Old Testament, Israel was not to make any alliances but to trust in the Lord. Whenever we break God’s commands bad things happen. I do not think Solomon realized that this was a slippery slope. Still, God blessed Solomon because he obeyed his statutes like David his father.
Solomon is significant in that God ask him what He (God) might grant him (Solomon). How would you answer that question from God? Solomon ask for wisdom to guide the people of Israel. God is pleased with this decision, and grants even more abundantly than what Solomon ask for.
If only we could end the story of Solomon there, but we cannot. Solomon built the temple of God David wanted to build but God said no. (II Samuel 7:11FF, I Chronicles 22). We see that Solomon amassed slaves, land, gold and women.
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of pharaoh… He had 700 wifes, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was hold his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth…So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord… And the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away fro the Lord, the God of Israel who had appeared to him twice.” (I Kings 11:1-10).
I hope you feel the weight of these verses. There is a reason God told the Israelites not to collect foreign wives. They lead your heart astray. We see this multiple times in Scripture. This is one of the reasons why God tells us in Corinthians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers for what fellowship hath light with darkness, or God with idols. If we link ourselves to those who have a different world view and are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, they will lead us astray. There are few things as potent and powerful to pull someone way from the Lord then a love relationship with another who does not press you into Christ.
The Lord then promises to take the kingdom away from and raise up adversaries against Solomon. God tore the kingdom in half under Rehoboam, and from there the downward spiral of the Israel progressed. Solomon laid down with his fathers and slept.
During his life Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and most of Proverbs. It is amazing that someone who knew so much could still slide down the slope of sin so late in life. Solomon was old the text says when he was corrupted by his wives.
Now that we have looked briefly at the life of Solomon. There are some lessons we can glean from it. I hope these are a blessing to you as you meditate on this text.
- God is merciful and gracious, His steadfast love endures. All through this story we see God’s promises being fulfilled. We also see God’s mercy and grace. By letting David live and giving him a second son with Bathsheba. God blessing in spite of sin of (polygamy). This was culturally accepted but was not God’s design for marriage which is one women and one man. God had every right to destroy David and Solomon but he didn’t he mercifully walked with them, and blessed them. Even in the end he is merciful to Solomon. God had every right to take the kingdom immediately from Solomon but he did not he left it because of his servant David walked in His statues. God is gracious to us in sending his son in our place to pay for our sins.
- Slippery slope of sin. The small foxes spoil the vineyard. Solomon started making small concession. Then His pleasure ran away with him and he compromised his believes. “Sin will take us further than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay.” I don’t think if Solomon knew the consequences of his sin would he be willing to take the same course of action. What ways are you allowing small sin to take you down a path you do not want to go? Sins pleasure are fleeting.
- Guard your life until the end. I Kings 11:4 tells us that when Solomon was old his wives turned his heart away from God. We need to finish the race strong. The law of inertia states that an object will stay in motion unless acted upon. This acting upon will create friction. Friction in an engine will wear down parts so they need to be replaced or the engine stops moving. When we continually surround ourselves with the world thoughts and actions it will wear us down. This is the case with Solomon his pagan wives slowly wore him down over time, the constant influence on him. Please head the warning in this text to guard your heart. We are to go into the world and glorify God, but we are not of the world, we need to make sure that we are spending time with God and fellow believers who will not let us hold to, or be molded by the world and that will help catch us when we slip. Ways to guard our heart is to prayer, study of the word, biblical friendship/accountability, and not spending all our time in the world. We need go out into the world and actively seek to proclaim Christ.
- We must keep Solomon’s point of view in mind. In Ecclesiastes 1:14 he says: “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Without God, human wisdom is meaningless (2:14–16); labor (2:18–23); amassing things (2:26); life itself (3:18–22); competition (4:4); selfish overwork (4:7–8); power and authority (4:16); greed (5:10); wealth and accolades (6:1–2); and perfunctory religion (8:10–14). When Solomon says, “Everything is meaningless,” he did not mean that everything in the world has no value. Rather, his point is that all human efforts apart from God’s will are meaningless. Solomon had it all, and he had tried everything, but when he left God out of the equation, nothing satisfied him. That’s why Solomon ends his book this way: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
I hope you have grown by this brief look at Solomon. The Lord used him greatly, and it is sad to read those lines in chapter 11 that Solomon’s heart was turned away from God. But, we can see that little miss steps along the way lead to bigger miss steps. Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to show you how you are miss stepping. Confess them and Repent (change your practices). Seek is commands in Scripture and diligently obey them so we can remain steadfast in our fighting this battle for our King.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC
*Special thanks to Pastor Jason Taylor for his gospel partnership and help with this week’s devotional.