It’s hard not to feel a sense of sadness as we read about the later years of Solomon’s life. Here is the guy who has everything, including the blessing of God in his life. God had appeared to him in a dream and had given him wisdom and insight far beyond anything the world had seen. He had been chosen by God to build the Temple which would house the presence of God. Because of God’s blessing in his life his wealth was beyond measure. God had given the nation he was ruling peace with the surrounding nations. The only thing he needed to do to keep it all running smoothly was to simply do what God had asked him to do. The Bible makes it very clear what happened.
1 Kings 11:1-4 (NIV)
1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.2 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. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 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.
God had already told him in advance what would happen based on what he would do. Now we may not be as wise as Solomon was in his early years but let’s try to work this out. The all-knowing God of the universe, the One who put the stars in space comes to Solomon and says, “Don’t marry foreign wives. I have looked into the future, as only I can do, and I see that if you do, they will turn your heart from me. They will erode away your devotion to me and our relationship which is so wonderful right now will grow cold. Now what I want us to ask ourselves is, “What about this is rocket science?” It is so simple a child could grasp it. Even a child when taught and told that if he or she touches a hot stove, that it won’t be a good thing, can easily make the decision to not touch the hot stove. In fact, after being taught by my parents not to touch a hot stove, I am proud to tell you that even as a child, I believed them and was able to avoid being seriously burned.
Solomon got burned. Mr. smarter-than-all-of-you, even though he was told what would happen, did a stupid thing. And it cost him dearly. God determined that He would take the kingdom away from him. The lesson to us is so obvious. When we do what God asks us to do, the results will be much more pleasing than when we don’t. Even though we can’t actually see into the future, God’s instruction becomes a portal through which we can look. What we see is that God’s way is always good. God’s way is always right. The end result of doing things God’s way is always better than simply doing things our way.
There is one more thing I want to point out from our reading today. We see something that is so amazing we can’t afford to miss it or just gloss over it.
1 Kings 11:6, 11-12 (NIV)
6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
11 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. 12 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.
I am fascinated by these last two verses. The effect of David’s life reaches into the future where David will never visit. God’s dealings with Solomon, including the consequences of his behavior are actually affected by God’s relationship with Solomon’s father, David. The consequence that awaits Solomon for his foolish decisions is going to be muted by Almighty God because of the life of his father, David and his relationship with God.
Do you see what this means even to us. I see the possibility of God’s dealings with my offspring, my family, being affected by my relationship with God right now. It’s like sending blessing into the future to the generations that will come after you have gone from the earth. I love my children and my grandchildren. The possibility that because of my relationship with God there will be favor on my children is almost too wonderful to consider. I know that I am far from perfect. So was David. I know that I have made many mistakes in my life, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. So did David. I know that in my life, sometimes I have taken things into my own hands. So did David. And David’s passionate relationship with God affected to some degree what happened in his son’s life. So can mine.
Live for God. Live for today. Live for the future of your family.