: Last week I spoke to you from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and how God spoke to Solomon about not only his life but the life of the community and what would make it great and what would bring its demise.
I told you that Solomon started well:
Unfortunately Solomon did not finish well although I do think he had at minimal a reflective heart toward how / why things went the way they did but to his demise; the possible reasons, the circumstances that led to his choices and to potentially his discovery I want to address;
To begin our understanding we have to begin by looking at what Deuteronomy 17:16-17 states;
“But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, `You shall not return that way again.’
“Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”
Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet
from 1837 to 1869 and usually referred to simply as
—was an English
historian, politician, and writer..
He is perhaps best known for the remark
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
Great men are almost always bad men.”
This idea has been tested in laboratory settings.
: In cases you are thinking well, I don’t have to worry about accumulating wives, gold, or animals, it’s what they signified to Solomon’s heart that does have significance and application to us.
Solomon ended up breaking all three of these commands.
Point / Problem #1
: This leads me to explain to you that the problem was ‘
that leads to ‘
: Lust is overmastering desire or craving; desire, inclination. Lust can be for anything.
Problem was that these pagan women brought with them their pagan deities and in the end they negatively influence Solomon’s own faith.
At the dedication of the Temple God warned Solomon: “
But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples
.” (1 Kings 9:6-7).
Here’s the key principle
: Solomon failed to heed this warning
and through lust, greed for trade, and fascination with things foreign and pagan he turned away from the Lord and began to allow pagan worship and pagan altars to be built in Israel and even built them himself.
(1 Kings 11).
Of all his sins this was clearly the most egregious and the author of 1 Kings indicates it is the main reason God turned his favor from Israel:
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 for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen
.” (1 Kings 11:11-13)
There is so much I could say about
Those two words alone can breathe a lot into our understanding.
: The second error that led to Solomon’s later status was that he multiplied wealth which equaled power.
The queen of Sheba who was fabulously wealthy herself remarked on visiting Solomon:
Your wisdom and prosperity surpasses any report I which I have heard
(1 Kings 10:7).
Not only did the high taxes cause resentment but the centralized and growing central government offended against the Jewish tribal system which was used to a more local governance. Increasingly Solomon offended against subsidiarity by interfering in local affairs through his officials.
Point / Problem / Principle #2?
Solomon’s power and influence began to drive not only his own success story but that of everyone around him.
Instead of being a leader ‘for the people’ he began to be a leader ‘of the people.’
: When we get away from doing things God’s way, we tend to obviously do it our way!
: The third slippery slope of disobedience Solomon was warned against was the accumulation of personal strength and protection.
In taking the kingship away from Adonijah, Solomon had aquired inveterate enemies from the military commanders who had supported Adonijah. They camped in the north and often harassed Israel.
Perhaps for this reason, but more likely for pride, Solomon amassed a huge army including 12,000 horsemen and 1,400 charioteers. This despite never going to war during his reign
Point / Problem # 3 –
The problem with an extremely large army is not only that it is expensive, but it also required a draft to conscript men into service. This caused resentment among some and the absence of large numbers of men from their families and work at home.
As God told him, the legacy of his turning was a divided kingdom. In the reign of Rehoboam his son the Kingdom of Israel divided from Judah as a result of Solomon’s increasingly oppressive policies. When Rehoboam followed his father’s misguided policies the ten tribes in the north had enough and they divided from Judah. The great unified kingdom had ended and within less than 200 years Israel (721 BC) and later Judah (587 BC) were invaded and destroyed.
The story of Solomon is a sad object lesson, a moral tale. Failing to heed God brings destruction. And Solomon systematically failed to heed God.
What turned Solomon from the right path?
Was it greed? Yes. Was it the foreign entanglements ignited by that greed and desire for power? Yes. Was it corruption by the world that greed, foreign entanglements and admiration of foreign ways caused? Surely. Was it lust? Clearly. Was it the inappropriate relationships and marriages that the lust caused? Yes. Did Solomon come to love the world more than God? Surely. Did lust and greed cause him to make steady compromises with the world? Without a doubt. And ever so slowly and perhaps imperceptibly at first, he began to turn from God.
But Solomon’s story could be the story of any of us
if we are not careful to persevere in the ways of God. Lust, greed, fascination with the world, these are human problems. I have seen people who are close to the Lord drift away due to worldly preoccupations, bad and ill-conceived relationships, career dominance that eclipses vocation, and just through accumulation of bad influences.
It is the road that Solomon trod. The great and wise Solomon, once close to God’s heart and preferring nothing of the world to God’s wisdom. But a man who died smothered in wealth, sex and power. A man whose heart turned from God.
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