Old Testament passage for Thursday, June 13, 2013: I Kings 11:1-12:19
1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. I Kings 11:1-4 (NKJV)
Solomon was a man of extremes. He was incredibly wise, but despite this he became also incredibly deluded and deceived. In his best days, he was the wisest man in the world. Scripture says that "God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand of the seashore. Thus Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East .... for he was wiser than all men ..." (I Kings 4:29-31). However, even though this wisdom was a gift from God, it became the tool of the devil. Solomon is a major figure in the history of occult activity. When he was doing good, it was very good. But, when he went bad, it went REALLY BAD.
He was a man of extremes. He was the wisest, the richest, and arguably most powerful man of his day. When he built the Temple, it was opulent -- to the point that it was breath-taking (I Kings 10:5). He was an extremist in marriage, too. He took 700 wives along with 300 concubines!
In the end, Solomon strayed far from God. His marriages led to him to worship despicable things. Even though he started out close to God, he ended up worshiping the gods of the pagan nations surrounding Israel. He worshipped Ashtoreth -- a goddess of sexual promiscuity. He went after Moloch and Chemosh -- which required child-sacrifice.
When I think of the last days of Solomon, I am reminded of Romans 1:22 where it says,"Professing to be wise, they became fools." Even though we have many positive remnants of Solomon's godly wisdom (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), we also have multitudes of negative residue from Solomon's last days away from God. Numerous signs, symbols, and rituals are said to have their start with Solomon. Freemasonry builds much of its identity out of Solomon's Temple. Everything from tarot cards to occult symbols such as the hexagram are heavily associated with King Solomon.
Solomon was a man of extremes in that everything he did was excessive -- both good and bad. But, we can learn so important lessons from him.
1. NO ONE IS ABOVE TEMPTATION.
We all need to stay humble, and stay close to God. Perhaps Solomon read some of his press releases and began to realize how wonderful he was. Scripture predicts the result: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18). Even though Solomon had everything going for him, he forgot where it came from. As a result, he let down his guard.
2. A SMALL CRACK CAN LEAD TO A GREAT CHASM.
Satan used his wives to lead him away from God. I am sure that Solomon did not set out with the aim of wrecking his spiritual life, yet he allowed one compromise after another to lure him away. All Satan needs is a toe hold. If the door cracks open just a little, the devil will barge in full force.
3. IT'S HOW YOU END THAT MATTERS MOST.
Even though Solomon as a great man and a great leader, his last days cast a negative pale on his entire legacy. Satan's temptations always tell us to live for the moment. God calls us to live for eternity. The world says "right now" is all you get. God says, your eternal destiny is your real identity. No matter how old any of us may be, it is so important to live always as if our last day is today. When we lose sight of eternity, we end poorly. But those who know the nearness of the Lord will hold steady to the end.
So, are there any cracks in your life? Are there ways you are letting your guard down? God will empower you and enable you to stay strong in Him. We all need to take Solomon as an example and a warning. When you stay close to God, you are the channel of His blessing. But, if you stray, your fall can be devastating. The lesson is clear.