An Almost Spotless Resume.
“Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, ‘My wife must not live in King David’s palace, for the Ark of the LORD has been there, and it is holy ground.'” – 2 Chronicles 8:11 NLT
Chapter eight of 2 Chronicles paints a very glowing picture of Solomon and his reign. It speaks of his political, religious and economic successes. He continued to build cities and fortify them. He won some significant battles and secured more land for the kingdom, spreading its borders farther than ever before. He successfully completed the Temple and made sure the sacrificial system was faithfully adhered to. Solomon’s wealth grew significantly over the years. His kingdom expanded. His army grew. His reputation spread. It was a grand and glorious time. But right in the middle of all this talk of success, there is a single verse describing a seemingly innocuous event in Solomon’s otherwise meteoric rise to the top. Somewhere along the way, he had married the daughter of Pharaoh – obviously a politically motivated marriage. And we’re told he moved her into his new palace because King David’s old palace had once held the Ark of the Lord and was therefore considered holy ground. So he could not have a pagan idol worshiper set foot anywhere near it. Seems like a wise move and it all appears innocent enough. But this one verse speaks volumes. To see what is really going on we have to turn to the book of 1 Kings. Here we read:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The LORD had clearly instructed his people not to intermarry with those nations, because the women they married would lead them to worship their gods. Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. And sure enough, they led his heart away from the LORD. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship their gods instead of trusting only in the LORD his God, as his father, David, had done. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Thus, Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’s sight; he refused to follow the LORD completely, as his father, David, had done. On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods. The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command. – 1 Kings 11:1-10 NLT
Wow! Solomon the wise wasn’t so wise after all. It would appear that he had a problem – women. He love them. He couldn’t live without them. He couldn’t say no to them. He couldn’t get enough of them. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Some guys collect rifles. Some collect cars. This guy collected women! And in direct opposition to the command of God. But his disobedience was going to have consequences. These women were foreign-born, idol-worshiping pagans. His love for them would lead to his worship of their gods. His uncontrolled passion would result in unfaithfulness – and God’s anger. He warned Solomon that He was going to rip the kingdom right out of his hands and give it to one of his servants. The only blessing was that Solomon wasn’t going to have to live to see it happen. All he had built was about to be destroyed – because of disobedience to the revealed will of God.
Solomon was wise but he wasn’t immune to the temptations of this world. He disobeyed God and the results to his kingdom would be devastating and long-lasting. It would not be long after his death that the kingdom of Israel would split in two. His disobedience would result in the disintegration of the nation. Things would go downhill from there.
So what do we do with all this? What can we learn from the life of Solomon? Here is a guy who had it all. Wisdom, wealth, success, and the favor of God. But in one significant area of his life he chose to do things his way. He allowed his physical appetites to influence his spiritual life. He let his worship of the things of this world interfere with his worship of God. His downfall was women. What could yours be? Is there an area of your life you refuse to hand over to God and give Him free reign? Solomon’s Achille’s heal was sex. What’s yours? Why not ask Him to show you any area of your life where your passions are getting the better of you? We’d all be wise to learn from the mistakes of Solomon.
Father, it would be so easy to look at Solomon and shake my head in wonder at his stupidity. But I see myself in him. I do the same thing time and time again. I know Your will, but I refuse to obey it because my sensual desires and physical appetites tell not to. They beg me to cave in to what they want. But You have something far better in store for me if I will only obey the wisdom of Your commands. Solomon started strong, but ended poorly. I don’t want that to be the story of my life. So give me the strength to obey You faithfully, trusting that obeying Your will is better than anything this world has to offer. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men