Photo by Leio McLaren
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 worshipping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command.1 Kings 11:9-10
Solomon was a man who had the privilege of God coming to him in a dream and asking him to ask for anything. He asked for wisdom, God was so pleased that He gave him everything else his heart could desire. 1 Kings 3 There is no other person in the bible who gets this privilege. Yet, we see Solomon making unwise decisions even after his encounter with God.
Solomon became the wisest man to ever live. And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the shore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 1 Kings 4:29-30
What would make a man who had all this wisdom to make such bad decisions? Spiritual pride. Solomon fell into spiritual pride after God gave him wisdom, to the point of believing that he was above falling into sin. Solomon got to a place where he stopped watching over his heart because he believed his wisdom would protect him. We know it didn’t because the wisest man who ever lived later became the most foolish man who ever lived where following God was concerned.
Spiritual pride comes in when God exalts a person beyond their wildest imagination. There is a danger when a man receives everything he could ever want. Because he begins to think he is beyond the simple discipline of guarding his heart before God.
We can have such access to God that we become deceived that we don’t need to pray, or seek God, or bring God a sacrifice of worship. We begin to neglect the simple disciplines, when this happens we have entered into spiritual pride and are headed for trouble.
We can walk with God for such a long time that we become careless with our spirituality.
Most people fall because they become careless with the little things.
Solomon didn’t think he would fall into idolatry. After all, God had appeared to him twice. He became careless with God’s commands. He disobeyed God’s command on marriage. This led to a series of other events that led to his fall. God’s command was that the Israelites weren’t to intermarry with foreign women because they would lead them into idol worship. Deuteronomy 7:3
This is what Solomon did. He married not 1, not 10, not 50, but 700 heathen wives. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 1 kings 11:3
These women did exactly what God said they would. They turned his heart away from worshipping Yahweh to the worship of their idol gods.
Refusing to heed
Solomon didn’t out rightly set out to fall into idolatry. He ignored the warning God gave to him. We are told God specifically warned him against idolatry. This probably came at the onset of his journey as king.
There was something Solomon did to commence this tragic ending of his life. Solomon wanted to secure peace during his reign, so whenever there was the possibility of a battle between him and a king, he would quickly make a treaty. And in making these treaties, he would marry the kings’ daughters, which led to his acquiring all these wives.
But here is the funny thing; God had given rest and peace to Solomon so he wouldn’t need to go to battle. 1 kings 5:4 Solomon didn’t need to make these treaties to self-protect because God’s protection was already around him. His distrust in God’s ability to sustain him led him into making these treaties and marrying women who eventually led him into idolatry.
We often don’t set out to fall away from God. We do one thing, which leads to another, and another which eventually leads us away from God. Solomon thought he knew what he was doing, that even when God warned him, he didn’t heed that warning.
If you read through the book of Kings, you would see that not everybody who started well finished well. I believe it’s not how we start that really matters, but what we do in the middle that determines how will finish.
It’s easy to start on high with God, then enter into seasons of blessings and quickly forget the God who got us there. Those who started and finished well have one thing in common- they all watched over their heart in seasons of great exaltation. They didn’t neglect the simple disciplines of seeking God and walking in obedience. They refused to become spiritually prideful and stayed humble at his feet.
Our greatest pitfalls won’t come when we are going through the wilderness. Anybody can follow God when they have nothing. The real test comes when we have everything. When the opportunities come, when the influence and praises of men come, when the success come, when we receive our heart’s desires. This is when we will find out whether our devotion in the wilderness was as deep and sincere as we thought it was.
It’s harder to keep God first on the mountaintop. We have so many things pulling at our hearts. But if we have built the right foundations from the start, and refuse to place anything above our relationship with God, it doesn’t matter what comes, we will finish well.
Solomon didn’t plan to fall into idolatry, he became careless and fell into spiritual pride. We have to ask God to keep our hearts tender towards Him so that we will finish as great as we started.
May we not be the ones that finish like King Solomon, but among those who finish well!