Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, “You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.” Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father. – 1 Kings 8:25-26 ESV
1 Kings 8:22-53
Solomon was wise, powerful and wealthy. He had just built a magnificent building designed to be the dwelling place of God. He was a success by any stretch of the imagination. As king of Israel, he enjoyed an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity. But he knew that his success had little or nothing to do with himself. It was the work of God. He knew that he was completely dependent upon God for everything, including his position, power, and possessions. It had not escaped Solomon’s attention that his kingship was the result of a promise made to his father, David, by God. God had told David, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men” (2 Samuel 7:12-14 ESV). And God was not done. He went on to promise David, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16 ESV). God had made a promise and Solomon had seen God fulfill it. His kingdom was established. He had built a house for God. And he was going to learn that, as God’s king, when he sinned against God, he was going to be disciplined severely.
But Solomon also knew that he had a role to play in all of this. He was obligated by God to live obediently and submissively to His divine will. He was to pay close attention to the manner in which he lived his life. The longevity and success of his kingship would be based on faithfulness and obedience. God had kept His promise to David, but it was going to be up to Solomon to stay committed to God. The sad reality is that Solomon failed to do just that. His kingship started off well, but ended poorly. He ended up having a “slight” problem with women. We read in 1 Kings that, “King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kings 11:1-3 ESV). Solomon’s love affair with women would be his undoing. They turned his heart away from God. “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, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4 ESV). Solomon became an idol worshiper and proved to be unfaithful to his covenant-keeping God. As a result, God would split the kingdom of Israel in half. And the future of the divided kingdom would be one marked by continued apostasy and unfaithfulness. The number of wicked, unfaithful kings would far surpass the number of faithful, obedient kings. In punishing Solomon, God had kept His promise. He always does.
And He would also keep His promise to establish David’s kingdom forever. We know historically that there was an end to David’s reign. We know that Solomon’s reign ended with a divided kingdom. We also know that there came a time when no king sat on the throne of David in Jerusalem. In fact, Israel has no king at this moment. But God keeps His promises. His Son, Jesus, is the rightful King or Israel. He is the King of the Jews and the King of kings and Lord of lords. And there is a day coming when Jesus Christ will rule over the entire world as king, sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 ESV). Concerning Jesus, the angel Gabriel told Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33 ESV). God will keep His promise. God will give Jesus the throne of His father David. He will one day reign in righteousness over all the world, just as God has promised. He is the promise-keeping God. We can trust Him. We can rest faithfully in Him.