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Are You Fully Devoted?
"As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” 1 Kings 11:4
“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” (II Chronicles 9.22-23)
And yet, Solomon died in disgrace. The young man who’d prayed for wisdom, who’d built a temple, who’d led a country with extraordinary insight so that he was sought as an expert by other kings, failed. How? Once again, the three classic temptations raised their ugly heads: Money. Power. Sex.
Solomon began to accumulate enormous amounts of silver and gold (1 Kings 10:14-25). We hear of all wealth that came pouring in. We hear nothing of the way it was poured out. Is there a message here? An argument from silence about hoarding and not giving?
Solomon began to accumulate horses and chariots, the symbol of human power. It was like a president or prime minister today who builds the army larger and larger to project the power base of the country. Solomon wanted a reputation as an intimidator.
And, finally, Solomon began to collect wives--700 wives, 300 concubines—“and his wives led him astray” (11:2-3). Centuries before (Deuteronomy 17) Moses had warned that a king must not mass large amounts of silver and gold, large numbers of horses, and many wives. And Solomon violated this principle to the extreme.
As an old man, at the time he should have been at the height of his spiritual strength and intimacy with God, the Bible tells us that “the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away… [So God said,] ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees…I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you…’” (11:9ff)
Any man or woman who has been given stewardship of money, influence, unusual skill must read this story with great fear. It reminds us that life, in most cases, has many years. And that the early years of success to not guarantee that the latter years will be greater. It reminds us that great gifts can be squandered, misused, forfeited.
Solomon had great wealth; he hoarded it. Solomon had great power; he felt driven to enlarge it. Solomon was attractive to many women; he engaged with them in the wrong way. And this wonderful heart of his--which God had filled with wisdom--became clogged with the wrong things. And the wisdom that had ruled a nation was no longer powerful enough to rule the life of one man.