Solomon went from faithfully living for the Lord to bowing down to the gods of all the wives and concubines he’d brought into his life. “So now the Lord said to him, ‘Since you have not kept My covenant and have disobeyed My decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, My chosen city” (I Kings 11:11-13, NLT).
Twice God had appeared to Solomon! He’d specifically warned him of the consequences of not remaining faithful. Yet here Solomon is, older, but instead of wiser, a foolish old man. Solomon became more concerned with impressing the chicks than honoring the Lord. And this decision cost him dearly.
“I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive.” Despite Solomon’s great sin, the Lord would allow him to live out his lifetime as ruler – not because of Solomon’s track record, but because of David’s. David sinned, yes, but he also repented and sought to honor the Lord.
“I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom… for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, My chosen city.” Once Solomon was gone, things were going to change drastically. Meanwhile, the peaceful times for Solomon had come to an end:
“Then the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite, a member of Edom’s royal family, to be Solomon’s adversary. God also raised up Rezon son of Eliada as Solomon’s adversary. Rezon had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah, and had become the leader of a gang of rebels. After David conquered Hadadezer, Rezon and his men fled to Damascus, where he became king. Rezon was Israel’s bitter adversary for the rest of Solomon’s reign, and he made trouble, just as Hadad did. Rezon hated Israel intensely and continued to reign in Aram” (I Kings 11:14, 23-25).
You’ve heard the expression “looking for trouble.” Solomon’s unfaithfulness to the Lord brought enormous troubles to Israel. Troubles that could have been avoided. Troubles that should have been avoided.
A parent tells a child, “Don’t do that; you’re going to get hurt.” The child persists and, sure enough, he ends up with a smashed finger or some other injury that could have been avoided. The parent had clearly warned the child that he was putting himself in unnecessary danger. Why didn’t he stop? Because he didn’t believe what his parent told him.
Folks, we’ve been blessed with an entire book, the Living Word, who tells us precisely what happened to countless people who failed to obey the Lord’s commands. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit warning us each time we start getting sidetracked. So why do we so often do it anyway and wind up suffering the consequences? Because we don’t believe our Parent.
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” (C. S. Lewis)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates