Everything was going great, until…
The anointing of Solomon to succeed his father on Israel’s throne was a miracle of grace to begin with. The expected and correct choice would have been David’s eldest surviving son, Adonijah.
That’s what Adonijah thought also.
But God had other plans and chose Solomon to reign on the throne of his father, David. And to start off it did look like a great choice. Solomon asked for wisdom from God and got strength, favor and amazing leadership abilities.
So far so good!
Until the first sign of trouble, when 1 Kings 6:38 tells us that it took Solomon 7 years to build the temple for the presence of God. And then the very next verse in chapter 8 tells us it took him 13 years to build his own palace. Hmmm.
Then we read about an entire addition to his palace just to accommodate his new wife, Pharaoh’s daughter. Oh, I can just hear all his plausible-sounding arguments in favor of bringing a foreign wife, with her religions, culture and gods into Jerusalem. But the truth of it is that, from the time of Joshua, God had warned His people about the danger of inter-marriage with pagan nations.
I guess Solomon didn’t think that applied to him.
Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple was amazing… praising God’s steadfast love for all His servants “who walk before you with all their heart.”
But then we read about what Solomon had set his heart on.
He imported 50,000 lbs of gold a year from Ophir, plus rare wood and precious stones (1 Kings 10:11). He imported 1,400 chariots and gathered 12,000 horsemen. Silver was as common as stones (1 Kings 10:27).
The last piece of damning evidence in Solomon’s slide into apostasy was that he “loved many foreign women… 700 wives and 300 mistresses (1 Kings 11:1-3). “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” (1 Kings 11:4).
This was the king who built a temple for the Name of the Lord to dwell. He brought the ark of the Covenant up to its resting place in the Holy of Holies. He prayed a powerful and anointed prayer at the dedication of the temple. He witnessed the fire from heaven consume the dedicatory sacrifice on the altar. He saw the priests unable to stand under the weight of the glory of the Lord that descended on the temple.
How in the world could he have forgotten all that and embraced wealth, women and the gods of his foreign wives?
One fateful choice at a time!
One rationalizing argument at a time.
One self-justifying decision at a time.
And by the end of his life he was far from God and left a sad legacy of apostasy for his children and the nation.
God, keep us close to You, with hearts daily stirred by Your Spirit and Your Word to walk humbly before You! God give us hearts that easily respond in repentance.
God, send us friends who are not afraid to speak up when they see gold, silver, horses and chariots taking the place of worship in our hearts that is rightfully Yours.