The Men Who Would Be King (Part 3)

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: Solomon, A Wise But Foolish King!

BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 2:1-4

God made it known to David that He was not happy about his decisions to take advantage of a married woman and to send her husband to the front lines of battle to be killed (see 2 Samuel 11-12). The illegitimate son of David and Bathsheba died, but God blessed them with another son. They named him Solomon, and “the Lord loved him” (2 Samuel 12:24).

When time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.

“‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, show your self a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in His ways, and keep His decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep His promise to me: “If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel”’”

PROPHECY CONNECTION #1: 1 Kings 2:46b; 3:5-14

Because (at first) Solomon showed his love for the Lord by obeying His statutes, as his father David had done, the Lord rewarded the young king . . .

The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon’s hands. . . .

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’

“Solomon answered, ‘You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?

“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

“’Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for ” both riches and honor ” so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And IF YOU WALK IN MY WAYS AND OBEY MY STATUTES AND COMMANDS AS DAVID YOUR FATHER DID, I will give you a long life.

PROPHECY CONNECTION #2: 1 Kings 6:1-38

David wanted to build a temple for the Lord, but God told him that He wanted his son Solomon to build a house for His Name (2 Samuel 7:1-17) . . .

“In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, [Solomon] began to build the temple of the Lord. . . .

So Solomon built the temple of the Lord and completed it. . . . He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. . . .

“In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.”

PROPHECY CONNECTION #3: 1 Kings 10:23 – 11:13

God honored His promise to Solomon, and he became wealthy and wise beyond all the other kings on earth. Unfortunately, over the course of time, King Solomon chose to share his “discerning heart” with 700 wives, 300 concubines, and the false gods they worshiped. And the Lord became angry . . .

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole word sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift ” articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

“Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he received fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses. . . .

“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women . . . They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods. Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord . . .

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. . . . So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but WILL GIVE HIM ONE TRIBE [JUDAH] FOR THE SAKE OF MY SERVANT DAVID AND FOR THE SAKE OF JERUSALEM, WHICH I HAVE CHOSEN.’”

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WHAT’S THE POINT?

Solomon started out on the right track, and God generously rewarded him. But when he began letting his heart rule over his head, Solomon sank deeper and deeper into the quicksand of sin, just like his father David had done. There was, however, one huge difference — ” David repented and asked the Lord God for forgiveness, while Solomon worshiped false gods and rejected his Creator.

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?

Jesus said it’s not easy for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. Though Solomon had everything he could possibly desire, he betrayed the One who had blessed him with all of that wealth and wisdom. What a sobering reminder that when He blesses His children with prosperity, the Lord God expects that we will continue to honor Him with obedience and sincere worship.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

God continued to honor His promise to David, even though his son Solomon failed to fulfill the conditions of the Davidic covenant. So instead of full authority over all the tribes of Israel, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was allowed limited rule over the southern kingdom of Judah — ” the tribal bloodline that would eventually produce Israel’s Messiah!

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“For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah . . .” (Hebrews 7:14, NIV).

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