The Sad Story of Solomon

The just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38 NKJV).

The Bible tells it like it is.  It does not “sugar coat” God’s people.  There are stories of some who were great examples of faith throughout their lifetime.  Unfortunately, there were also those who had great beginnings with God’s hand of blessing upon their lives, but because they did not remain faithful, had very sad endings.  Solomon is a prime example. 

Even before he was born, Solomon was David’s son of promise (2 Samuel 7:12-16).  Although David’s desire was to build a house for his Lord, God told him instead his son would do it.  At Solomon’s birth, God declared His love for him (2 Samuel 12:24).  On David’s deathbed, his last words were to his son Solomon, charging him to continue to follow and obey God (1 Kings 2:1-10).

As Solomon started his reign, he must have remembered his father David’s love for God.  When God appeared to him in a dream and offered him anything his heart desired, Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge God’s people (1 Kings 3:9).  As this request greatly pleased God, He not only gave Solomon the wisdom he asked for but riches and honor as well (1 Kings 3:11-13).  When the Queen of Sheba came to check out Solomon’s reputation as a great, wise and powerful king, she noted that his wisdom and riches were even greater than what she had heard (1 Kings 10:7).

As God had predicted, Solomon did build His temple (1 Kings 5-6).  Upon completion, Solomon led a dedication prayer and then directed his people to keep their hearts loyal to God and to keep His commandments (1 Kings 8:61).

Solomon wrote thousands of proverbs as well as the book of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. His own assessment of life, having tried every pleasure available to man, was that devotion to God was above everything else (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

So, what happened?  Why was the ending of his life so sad?  How is it that the wisest man in the world did not take his own advice? As a result of his willful disobedience, his kingdom was divided and there was conflict among God’s people from that day on.

David and Solomon’s lives ended differently. It was not a case of “like father, like son.” Both David and Solomon reigned for forty years (1 Kings 2:11, 1 Kings 11:42).  At the end of David’s reign, we find him instructing his son to stay true to God.  At the end of Solomon’s reign, we find a very sad word: but (1 Kings 11:1). Just like the church in Ephesus, he had left his first love (Revelation 2:4).

Solomon’s love for foreign women did exactly what God had warned him against. It caused him to allow them to bring their gods with them.  As he established places of worship for their false gods, his own heart grew cold toward the one true God.

All Solomon’s wisdom did not keep his heart in tune with God’s. Although he knew that one must trust the Lord with all his heart (Proverbs 3:5), he did not keep all his heart dedicated to God.  His inspired proverbs became a case of “do as I say, not as I do.”

Both David and Solomon sinned, but we often find David in acts of true repentance.  David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  His heart was dedicated to Him.  When he strayed from God’s plan and God brought it to his attention, his own heart was broken because of the sorrow he had brought to God’s heart. In confession and repentance, he reestablished fellowship with God.  He did believe what he said, You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You (Psalm 16:2 NKJV).

Christians know that God examines one’s heart and it is with the heart that one trusts in Christ (Romans 10:9-10).  It is not head knowledge or even wisdom that brings about a spiritual birth. Even the devils believe in the existence of God, but they are not saved (James 2:19).  God searches for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).  Which legacy would you rather leave, that of David’s or Solomon’s?

For further study, run Scripture references above of the life of Solomon and answer the following questions:

  • Why do you think Solomon did not follow his own advice?
  • Paul told Timothy (through God’s inspiration) that God’s word is given for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15).  How can we learn from someone like Solomon, who was led to write part of Scripture himself, but failed miserably at the end?
  • How hard is it for you to “keep the faith?”  How often are you tempted to make it easy on yourself and give in to the world, like Solomon did? What can you do about it?
  • What do you want God to say to you when you first greet Him in heaven? Do you want Him to be pleased with your life?  How do you do that?

© Stephanie B. Blake

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