Don’t Just Tweet Your Proverbs: Lessons from Solomon

King Solomon was the wisest man in the Old Testament. Yet, he had the most precipitous moral freefall of all the kings.

Solomon had spiritual riches, not to mention physical ones. He was immensely blessed by God. There are few men who are such illustrations of blessing like Solomon. Among the greatest of his blessings was the gift of wisdom to rule the people of Israel. God gave him this when He appeared to him at Gibeon. And how he used this wisdom! But wisdom for ruling was not the same as wisdom for his personal life, it appears. We should never think that just because God has blessed us that we are free to allow our heart to be turned from God. Dangers are everywhere for blessed men and women, and in some ways such believers become pet projects for the enemy.

 

I don’t quite understand it. Everyone knows that King Solomon was the wisest man in the Old Testament. Yet, he had the most precipitous moral freefall of all the kings.

The early Solomon loved God. “Now Solomon loved the Lord” (1 Kings 3:3).

But the later Solomon was out of control morally: “Now Solomon loved many foreign women.” “Solomon held fast to these in love” (1 Kings 11:1,2). What went wrong?

In fact, the marital alliances he made with the daughters of foreign kings, plus all the other wives and concubines he acquired, were of Olympic proportions. “He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” (11:3). For those who have trouble keeping up with one wife, this seems daunting, to say the least!

The man who had been given wisdom as a gift by God and was considered the wisest man of all time before Christ, who wrote thousands of proverbs, was skilled in music and science, built the kingdom of Israel up to its most productive GDP, and to whom God appeared twice, had an affection problem. The Bible records it this way: “and his wives turned his heart away” (11:4).

Poignantly, the writer of the history of Israel said:

For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites . . . . Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus Solomon did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.” (11:4-8)

On a mountain overlooking Mount Zion where Solomon constructed the impressive Temple to Jehovah, high places for all these gods were smoking with the incense and sacrifices of the gods of the nations. It was a visible triumph for Evil.

The Sad End to Misplaced Affections

Did God just overlook Solomon’s multiple marriages and sexual exploits because he was a king and this is what kings do? Not at all. The Bible records that “the Lord was very angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing” (11:9-10).

God said: “Because you have done this . . . I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.”

So God raised up adversaries to Solomon and eventually, in the rule of his son as God had prophesied, the kingdom of Israel was divided into the southern and northern kingdoms—a sad day for everyone because of one man’s sin.

What can we learn from Solomon?

Lessons from Solomon:

  1. Blessed men and women are not exempt from temptation

Solomon had spiritual riches, not to mention physical ones. He was immensely blessed by God. There are few men who are such illustrations of blessing like Solomon. Among the greatest of his blessings was the gift of wisdom to rule the people of Israel. God gave him this when He appeared to him at Gibeon. And how he used this wisdom! But wisdom for ruling was not the same as wisdom for his personal life, it appears. We should never think that just because God has blessed us that we are free to allow our heart to be turned from God. Dangers are everywhere for blessed men and women, and in some ways such believers become pet projects for the enemy.

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