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, and the consequences of Solomon’s action. We will then close with some reflection for us.
First, David honors a promise made to put Solomon on the throne (1 Chronicles 22:9, 2 Samuel 7:12). David acknowledges His promise to put Solomon on the throne. Not only does David say this, but puts his plan in motion to bring about the kingship of Solomon.
1 Kings 1:29-30 And the king 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.”
There are a couple of 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 trusts God so much that he would not harm the person that was God’s anointed king. David waits until God has removed all obstacles. This is what real faith looks like.
In 1 Kings 3, we see these words about Solomon: “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father …” It should be noted here that, two verses before this, it is stated that Solomon made a marriage alliance with the Pharaoh. This is an important note to remember. If you remember, in the Old Testament, Israel was not to make any alliances, but they were 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 blesses Solomon because he obeyed His statutes like David his father.
Solomon is significant in that God asked him what He (God) might grant him (Solomon). How would you answer that question from God? Solomon asks for wisdom to guide the people of Israel. God is pleased with this decision and grants even more abundantly than what Solomon has asked for.
If only we could end the story of Solomon there, but we cannot. Solomon builds the temple of God that David had wanted to build, but God had said, “No.” (2 Samuel 7:11, 1 Chronicles 22). We see that Solomon amasses slaves, land, gold, and women.
1 Kings 11:1-9 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh … He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old 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 from the Lord, the God of Israel who had appeared to him twice
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 worldview and are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, they will lead us astray. There are few things potent enough, or powerful enough, to pull someone way from the Lord than a love relationship with another who does not press them into Christ.
The Lord then promises to take the kingdom away from, and raise up adversaries against, Solomon. God tears the kingdom in half under Rehoboam, and from there the downward spiral of Israel progresses. Finally, we read that 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. We see God blessing in spite of the sin of polygamy. This was culturally accepted but was not God’s design for marriage—one man and one woman. 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 was merciful to Solomon. God had every right to take the kingdom immediately from Solomon, but He did not. He left it, because 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 are the slopes of sin. The small foxes spoil the vineyard. Solomon started making small concessions; then his pleasure ran away with him, and he compromised his beliefs. The saying going goes, “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 had known the consequences of his sins, he would have been willing to take the same course of action. In what ways are you allowing small sin to take you down a path you do not want to go? Sin’s pleasures are fleeting.
- Guard your life until the end. 1 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 its parts so they need to be replaced, or the engine stops moving. When we continually surround ourselves with the world’s thoughts and actions, they will wear us down. This was the case with Solomon. His pagan wives and their constant influences on him, slowly wore him down over time. Please heed 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, nor be molded by, the world, and they will help catch us when we slip. Ways in which to guard our heart are to pray, study of the word, being in biblical friendships/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 (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) are meaningless. When Solomon says, “Everything is meaningless,” he does 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 from this brief look at Solomon. The Lord used him greatly, and it is sad to read those lines in chapter 11 that say Solomon’s heart was turned away from God. But, we can see that little missteps along the way lead to bigger missteps. Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to show you how you are misstepping. Confess them and repent (change your practices). Seek His commands in Scripture, and diligently obey them so you can remain steadfast in your fighting this battle for your King.
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine