Solomon was known for His God given wisdom. When I think about King Solomon, two main things come into my mind, a man who asked God for wisdom above anything else and the one who build the temple for God.
We read in 1 Kings 4:29-31a “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man.”
Solomon’s humility and desire to be the kind of King God wanted him to be is evident in 1 Kings 3:5-9
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ask for whatever you want me to give you. Solomon answered, you have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.So, give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Let’s just take note of what Solomon said in the verses above besides asking for wisdom. He acknowledges that King David was faithful to God, righteous and upright in his heart. Solomon understood that God’s promise to David was conditional on his obedience to that which God asked of him, which is to follow in HIS ways.
Understanding the importance of faithfulness and obedience to God is one thing but to live that out all our days is another thing.
Was Solomon faithful to God all of his days?
Solomon spent a good part of his time building things. He began with the building of the temple for the Lord, which took seven years. He spends thirteen years building his royal palace. He continues to build another palace, villages, fortified cities, and ships, detailed out in 1 Kings 9:10-28 and 2 Chronicles 8.
In his quest to build, he started right, with the temple, but over time he seems to have focused more on building a lot for the now and not focusing on building his own spiritual life.
In 1 Kings 11:9 we read “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord…Although God had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.”
For us: We can do seemingly great things for God but we have to constantly and consistently abide in Him so that we do not veer off in our walk with God.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 we read God’s instructions to the one who would be king, they are to not acquire great number of horses, not take many wives or his heart will be led astray and not accumulate large amounts of gold or silver. Verse 18-19 says “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.”
Even though God clearly conveyed to Solomon that He wanted him to follow His ways and keep the laws, Solomon broke all three of the laws mentioned above.
Solomon had many wives who eventually led him astray, he built places of worship for their gods and he also partook in their worship and rituals (1 Kings 11:4-8). Horses, gold and silver he amassed (1 Kings 10:26,27).
For us: Wisdom does not automatically equate to obedience in the Lord. Wisdom from God lets us know right from wrong and the path that God would want us to take. But there is that element of choice and surrender of our will that should come along with wisdom. Jesus says in Mathew 7, the wise man is one who hears God’s word and acts upon them. God never forces anyone to follow Him, it is up to us to make that choice every day to follow Him, to keep Him pre-eminent in all aspects of our life.
Solomon had many wives (1 Kings 11:3), David had many wives too although the exact number is not mentioned, besides the eight mentioned in scripture, 2 Samuel 5:13-16 says he took many wives and concubines.
Did Solomon justify his many wives based on the fact that David had them too? God’s hand and favour was still upon David even though he did not rightly follow the law mentioned in Deuteronomy? But unlike Solomon, David did not worship the gods of his wives.
For us: When we look up to someone who demonstrates the spirits presence and leading in their lives like David did, it does not mean that everything they did was right. We know all too well that even though David was known as a man after God’s own heart, he sinned. So, to model our actions based on what someone does in their lives and lean into the excuse that they did that and God still seems to be blessing them, so I can do it too, is to keep our desires above what God’s will is for us.
God told David and Solomon to follow HIS ways, not another godly person before them. However godly someone is, they are not sinless like Jesus.
May we always remember not to fall into the trap of keeping anyone else in the position we should rightly reserve only for God.
It is not enough to just start faithful, but in His grace, seek Him and walk faithfully every day.
God gives us His word to enable us to live our life the way He intended. But He never forces us. He gives us the choice to follow Him. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that everything he did to find joy or fulfillment outside of God was meaningless. His wise counsel in Ecclesiastes 12:13 is “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”
May we remember these words and surrender to Him every day so that it is His will and ways that we follow, starting and staying faithful through all of our days.