You Can’t Take It With You.
“Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31 When he died, he was buried in the city of his father, David. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.” – 2 Chronicles 9:30-31 NLT
Chapter nine of 2nd Chronicles is an almost word-for-word copy of chapter 10 of 1st Kings. In it we read about the incredible wealth and wisdom of Solomon. It seems almost over the top and too good to be true. He was able to answer all the questions of the Queen of Sheba with ease. The opulence is palace left her breathless. This would be like Rupert Murdoch being impressed with the wealth and wisdom of Bill Gates. She was blown away. “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! I didn’t believe it until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. Truly I had not heard the half of it! Your wisdom is far greater than what I was told” (2 Chronicles 9:5-6 NLT). The amount of gold described in this passage is mind-boggling. His throne alone was worth a small fortune. Solomon had it all. Including a reign that lasted 40 years. But then the chapter ends abruptly. Solomon dies.
He knew this day would come. In fact, he wrote about it. “Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done? I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I thought in my heart, ‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’ I said in my heart, ‘This too is meaningless.’ For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!” (Ecclesiastes 2:12-16 NLT). Solomon knew death was inevitable, and all his wealth and wisdom couldn’t prevent it. He would leave it all behind, including his wisdom – in the form of the Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes. His son Rehoboam would have the legacy of his father to live up to and his magnificent palace to live in. But Solomon left behind more than he could have ever imagined. We find out later that Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king and his reign would last 17 years. For the first three years of his reign he would follow in the steps of David and Solomon. But he shared some of his father’s weaknesses, including his love of women. He had 18 wives and 60 concubines, 28 sons and 60 daughters. Idolatry would be a continual problem during his reign.
“And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, whom they provoked to jealousy with the sins they committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built themselves [idolatrous] high places, pillars, and Asherim [idolatrous symbols of the goddess Asherah] on every high hill and under every green tree. There were also sodomites (male cult prostitutes) in the land. They did all the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out before the Israelites.” – 1 Kings 14:22-24 Amplified Bible
Rehoboam would not inherit his father’s God-given wisdom and would end up making decisions that split the kingdom in half. The halcyon days of Israel would become a memory. The glory days would end. The writer of 2nd Chronicles sets up the rest of the story with a reminder of just how good things were right before Solomon died. He describes the good old days. But things were about to take a dramatic change for the worst. Solomon had built himself quite a kingdom. He had established for himself quite a reputation. But he couldn’t take any of it with him. He would leave it all behind. Would Solomon have been better off spending his time preparing his son to reign than amassing a fortune and turning Jerusalem into a show place? Rather than putting all his wisdom on paper, would he have been better off pouring it into his children? There’s an old saying that says when it comes to our children “more is caught than taught.” Rehoboam was watching his dad. He would try to emulate his father’s wisdom and ways. He would try to rule like Solomon. But he would eventually fail. Solomon left behind a lot more than he ever imagined. What about me? What am I leaving behind?
Father, I don’t want to leave behind a reputation or a portfolio of achievements and assets. I want to leave behind children who love You and who know how to obediently serve You. I want them to know how to live wise and Spirit-filled lives. I want them to live in dependence on You, not themselves. Help me not spend my years on this earth obsessed with myself and my own achievements. Give me an eternal perspective that looks beyond my days here on earth. May my children be my greatest legacy. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men