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. (1 Kings 11:4)
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 as described in 1 Kings 11.
Think about THE CAUSE OF HIS FALL (v.1-8). The law of the harvest is this: we reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow. Solomon is an example. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. 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. Imagine—Solomon—a man who had conversed with Living God, bows 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 moves to build a stronghold. The man given to sensuality will become a compromiser.
This brings us to THE CONSEQUENCE OF HIS FALL (v.9-13). God is not mocked. Solomon had sown to the flesh and would reap corruption. 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. He is not a God to be trifled with. Twice before God had appeared to Solomon and promised blessing to him and his descendants. These promises were conditioned upon his obedience. Solomon failed and God will be faithful to his warnings also. So God announces He will show His displeasure for Solomon’s disobedience by bringing discipline on him. We should never use the grace of God as an excuse to sin. Even forgiven sin can have temporal consequences.
The end was THE CHASTISMENT OF HIS FALL (v.14-43). God brings out the rod and chastens His child. 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 cannot draw upon God’s power. The implications of sin can be far-reaching, extending to many people over many years. It certainly will impact our family.
By contrast, Paul finished well. In his last will and testament he declares, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved His appearing.” I want to be included in that number. You are going to die and face judgment for your works as a Christian—what kind of reward will you achieve?