Thursday, June 14, 2012


“When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him [to follow] other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been.” (1 Kings 11:4 HCSB)

It is important to start well, but it is more important to finish well. There are horses that charge out of the gates and lead the race early, only to fade at the finish line. It can happen in the church. Paul said to the Galatians, “You ran well. Who hindered you?” The church at Ephesus was enjoined to repent and do the first works. We all know people who have joined the church with great enthusiasm, began serving with high energy, but flamed out, their spiritual life just cold ashes now. Solomon is a classic example of fading at the finish.

Ponder THE CAUSE OF HIS FALL (v.1-8).  This is a graphic depiction of the law of the harvest: we reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow (see Gal.6:7-8).


“King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh's daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations that the Lord had told the Israelites about, ‘Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away [from Me] to their gods.’ Solomon was deeply attached to these women and loved [them].  He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away [from the Lord].”  (1 Kings 11:1-3 HCSB)

Scripture warns that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. The wicked tendencies in a father’s heart are transmitted down to his son.  If these are not recognized and guarded against, they will become an open gate to sin’s attack.  David had fallen into lust with Solomon’s mother. Now we see his son caught in the web of immorality. In Proverbs we read how Solomon warned his son of seductive women, but the wisest man became a fool in failing to practice what he preached.

Then, there followed a LACK OF LOVE—IDOLATRY. 

“When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him [to follow] other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been.  Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites.  Solomon did what was evil in the Lord's sight, and unlike his father David, he did not completely follow Yahweh.  At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab, and for Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites, on the hill across from Jerusalem.  He did the same for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.“ (1 Kings 11:4-8)

Imagine, Solomon, a man who had conversed with the Living God—twice, face to face—would bow to graven images. He had built the house of God and seen the glory fill it. Now, he erects altars where the foulest blasphemies are acted out—orgies of sensuality and child sacrifice. Once the devil gains a foothold, he proceeds to build a stronghold. The man who gives his heart to sensuality will become a compromiser spiritually. Morality dictates theology.  The two are inseparably linked.  If we want to live in sin, we will reject a holy God and contrive a deity that will not make us uncomfortable with our wicked activity.  Find a man who has departed from the Word of God doctrinally, and you will find a man who has drifted from the will of God morally.

In Solomon’s pitiful conclusion to a promising career we further note THE CONSEQUENCE OF HIS FALL (v.9-13).  God is not mocked. Solomon had sown to the flesh and would reap corruption.

In these verses, we observe GOD’S ANGER.

The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.  He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the Lord had commanded.”  (1 Kings 11:.9-10 HCSB). 

After all God had done for him, Solomon thumbs his nose at God. He bites the hand that feeds him. No wonder God was angry. Oh, my friend—He is a God of love, but also of holiness. He is not a God to be trifled with!

God’s anger led to GOD’S ANNOUNCEMENT.

Then the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.  However, I will not do it during your lifetime because of your father David; I will tear it out of your son's hand.  Yet I will not tear the entire kingdom away from him. I will give one tribe to your son because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem that I chose.’” (1 Kings 11:11-13 HCSB). 

Twice before God had appeared to Solomon and promised blessing to him and his descendants. These promises were conditioned upon his obedience, however. Solomon failed and God would be faithful to His word—whether a promise of blessing or warning of consequences.  Thus, God announces He will show His displeasure for Solomon’s disobedience by bringing discipline on him.   Solomon was a recipient of the grace of God; such favor he knew!  The danger is the Devil’s enticement to use the grace of God as an excuse for sin.  Will God forgive the sin of His children?  Surely!  The flip side of that, however, is that even forgiven sin, blotted out for eternity, can have temporal consequences.

The consequence of this sin is witnessed in THE CHASTISMENT OF HIS FALL  (v.14-43).  God brings out the rod and chastens His child. 


So the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite as an enemy against Solomon. He was of the royal family in Edom.  Earlier, when David was in Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, had gone to bury the dead and had struck down every male in Edom.  For Joab and all Israel had remained there six months, until he had killed every male in Edom.  Hadad fled to Egypt, along with some Edomites from his father's servants. At the time Hadad was a small boy.  Hadad and his men set out from Midian and went to Paran. They took men with them from Paran and went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house, ordered that he [be given] food, and gave him land.  Pharaoh liked Hadad so much that he gave him a wife, the sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes.  Tahpenes' sister gave birth to Hadad's son Genubath. Tahpenes [herself] weaned him in Pharaoh's palace, and Genubath [lived] there along with Pharaoh's sons.  When Hadad heard in Egypt that David rested with his fathers and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Let me leave, so I can go to my own country.’ But Pharaoh asked him, ‘What do you lack here with me for you to want to go back to your own country?’Nothing,’ he replied, ‘but please let me leave.’  God raised up Rezon son of Eliada as an enemy against Solomon. Rezon had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah and gathered men to himself. He became captain of a raiding party when David killed the Zobaites. He went to Damascus, lived there, and became king in Damascus.  Rezon was Israel's enemy throughout Solomon's reign, adding to the trouble Hadad [had caused]. He ruled over Aram, but he loathed Israel. (1 Kings 11:14-25 HCSB). 

Note that it was the Lord who raised up these adversaries. Solomon could not conquer them. The faithful child of God will face fierce foes, but has grace to overcome them. The backslider, however, has short-circuited the flow of this Divine energy.  Samson affords an illustration of this reality.  Recall his incredible feats of strength and the victories he won—when the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him.  But, when Samson surrendered to the flesh, he became helpless before the enemy.  This is what sin does. 

Then there came the RENDING OF THE KINGDOM.

Now Solomon's servant, Jeroboam son of Nebat, was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His widowed mother's name was Zeruah. Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, and this is the reason he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces [and] repaired the opening in the wall of the city of his father David.  Now the man Jeroboam was capable, and Solomon noticed the young man because he was getting things done. So he appointed him over the entire labor force of the house of Joseph.  During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the road as Jeroboam came out of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself with a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the open field.  Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he had on, tore it into 12 pieces, and said to Jeroboam, ‘Take 10 pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: 'I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand. I will give you 10 tribes, but one tribe will remain his because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem, the city I chose out of all the tribes of Israel.  For they have abandoned Me; they have bowed the knee to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and to carry out My statutes and My judgments as his father David did.  However, I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand but will let him be ruler all the days of his life because of My servant David, whom I chose and who kept My commands and My statutes.  I will take 10 tribes of the kingdom from his son's hand and give them to you.  I will give one tribe to his son, so that My servant David will always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city I chose for Myself to put My name there.  I will appoint you, and you will reign as king over all you want, and you will be king over Israel.  After that, if you obey all I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight in order to keep My statutes and My commands as My servant David did, I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give you Israel.  I will humble David's descendants, because of [their unfaithfulness], but not forever.'  Therefore, Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, where he remained until Solomon's death.

The rest of the events of Solomon's [reign], along with all his accomplishments and his wisdom, are written in the Book of Solomon's Events.  The length of Solomon's reign in Jerusalem over all Israel totaled 40 years.  Solomon rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam became king in his place.” (1 Kings 11:26-43 HCSB).

The implications of sin can be far-reaching, extending to many people, over many years. It certainly will impact our family.  This is the fading finish of Solomon’s life.

Weigh these verses:

Don't you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.  Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.  Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.  Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Cor.9:24-27 HCSB)

Paul succeeded where Solomon slipped.  The old Apostle finished well!  Hear his testimony in contrast to the son of David:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 HCSB)

I want to be included in that number—with a testimony unsullied—faithful to the finish! 

You are going to die and face judgment for your works as a Christian—no question about it. The only question is what kind of legacy will you leave and what can of reward will you achieve?  May God protect us from fading at the finish line!

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