Lessons for Life from the Old Testament- Solomon
Lessons for Life from the O. T. : Solomon
One of the really interesting people in the Old Testament is Solomon, who in many ways stands for everything we would like to be. He was one of the richest men of his time (1 Kings 10:14ff) and perhaps of all time. He spent seven years building the temple for God and thirteen years on his own palace ( 1 Kings 6:38; 7:1). He was blessed with wisdom that brought people from far and wide to come and be amazed: “Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30). The Queen of Sheba was one such person who made the journey to his palace, as quoted by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 12 42. Solomon was largely responsible for writing the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The Song of Solomon is attributed to him. He had 40 thousand stalls for his horses (1 Kings 4:26) and that makes the Queen of England’s and the King of Saudi’s stables look like a joke. He also had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
All this wisdom and wealth goes back to the promise by Go at the time of his youth. When he was called to take over the rule of the Kingdom of Israel from his father David, God revealed Himself to Solomon. Although he was the second son of David and Bethsheba, he was, according to 2 Samuel 12:24 “loved by the Lord”. The first time the Lord appeared to Solomon he was asked to make a request and Solomon requested wisdom to rule and so God added “riches and wealth and honour such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like” (2 Chronicles 1:7-12).
With these great blessings comes great responsibility and when looking at the rest of the facts about Solomon’s life, it becomes apparent that he failed dismally on many counts. While he accepted God’s blessing when he started out, he neglected to put into his life the love and care for his fellow citizens that was needed. Before David died he called his son to his side and said: “I go the way of all the earth, be strong, therefore, and prove yourself to be a man. And keep the charge of the Lord to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgements and His Testimonies as it is written in the Law of Moses....” (1 Kings 2:2, 3 - NKJV).
The first indication of problems came with the 13 years he spent on building his palace, before he built the temple for the Lord. He also drove his citizens relentlessly in achieving his goals. His son must have seen this and we learn about this in the statement made by the people when Jeroboam came to follow his father as king. Jeroboam was told by the people, as recorded in 1 Kings 12:4: “Your father made our yoke heavy, now therefore lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you”. The resultant failure of Jeroboam to do so led to the division of the south and north parts of the nation into two kingdoms, Judah in the south, and Israel in the north.
But it is really the influence of the foreign wives in his life that lead to a sad situation. In 1 Kings 12:1-13 it is recorded that Solomon did not follow the advice of his father David and broke the laws about marriage as set out in the Law, leading eventually to the sad statement in verses 4, 6: “His wives turned his heart after other gods” and “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord and did not fully follow the Lord as did his father David”. Here was a man who had all that this life can offer, as promised by God. He somehow got caught up in his own power and position and forgot what was really important in life.
In fact in the book of Ecclesiastes he confesses to this failure. In this great book he explores all of life as he had experienced it with his God given wisdom. It is sad that he failed to apply what he learned in his own life and so we are left with his final words, as recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work unto judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil”. Sobering words that speak of his life, and as a warning for lives in every age.
If we then could rewind the life of Solomon and re-picture it in a less worldly fashion, it would be much different in many ways. The trouble is that for many today his life is an example to be followed and not a warning as to what to avoid. As the world rushes on along the road of greed, self importance and selfishness, and finally destruction we follow blindly in the search of meaning. So we miss out on God’s blessings when we forget Solomon’s warning, to put God first in our lives, then everything else will fall into place.
References: NKJV Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.