Solomon: The UltimateTestimony To Man’s Success

businessmanFor years I’ve had a problem with Solomon, King of Israel, son of David. I’ve complained about his life style and even declared his book of Ecclesiastes my least favorite book of the Bible . . . until his book of Song of Solomon edged it out this year.

Of all the people in the Bible, I understand him the least. I mean, this guy had it all. His father was “a man after God’s own heart,” so Solomon had a spiritual heritage. As a newly anointed king, he himself had an encounter with God.

Unlike David, Solomon never lived in a cave, never had to run for his life, never experienced a civil war or open rebellion.

Though he stockpiled horses and chariots–the military might of his day–Israel lived in peace. Other kings paid tribute to him and allied with him.

His building projects succeeded, his trading ventures brought in incredible wealth. His influence expanded.

Solomon didn’t know defeat or failure or financial ruin. He never lost his job or went bankrupt or faced foreclosure.

I’ll say again, he had it all. He was the ultimate success. Status? He had it. Fame. Yep. Money, comfortable lifestyle, bling–he had all that too.

Oh, yeah, the guy was wise. His counsel was sought after by other rulers. He apparently amazed the Queen of Sheba when she tested him by asking him questions, to the point that she said, “How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom.”

From my point of view, the guy had no excuse for what happened toward the end of his life. Solomon had it all. All. Everything people dream of. He is the ultimate testimony to success. And here’s what he did with it:

When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. (1 Kings 11:4-8 – emphasis added)

So Solomon is a testimony to the truth that Mankind’s success means nothing when it comes to the eternal things of God.

In contrast, the Apostle Paul said, his weakness made room for God’s strength.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.(2 Cor. 12:9-10)

God lays it out clearly in Jeremiah,

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (Jer 9:23-24)

What’s of lasting value, what matters most is that we understand and know God.

The events of these past few weeks ought to make this lesson clear. The US has more military might than any nation before us, and we couldn’t stop a gunman from shooting down children in school. We are a people boasting in our own wisdom, riches, and might. We are not boasting in our knowledge and understanding of God. We know less and less of His lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness–the things in which He delights.

In other words, we are Solomon. And we should be Paul.

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Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. When he was old he turned to other gods. The end of the race is more important than the beginning. I passed the halfway point in the longest of races years ago, so its with greater discouragement that sin weighs on my finish. Shouldn’t wisdom make better strides in the last stretch?

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  2. Becky,

    As you know, Ecclesiates is my favorite book of the Bible and Solomon is my favorite character as well. I believe that book has been misread and unfortunately not really taught correctly in our churches. I posted on my blog an entire study on Ecclesiastes that gave me more appreciation of that book and him.

    He asked for wisdom and in our culture wisdom is in short supply. As a result, God put him through the ringer for having that wisdom and the Book of Ecclesiastes shows that wide range of emotion from despair to happiness to ultimately relying on God.

    I must write in my opinion that Ecclesiastes is the most relevant book to our culture today….with its emphasis on wealth and living the Best Life Now philosophy we have.

    Solomon like most of us made some bad choices and let his wisdom lead him to other gods. However, this verse (my favorite) puts it all in perspective for me: “Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 ESV)

    I have never seen those verses of scripture in all those devotionals that are sold in Christian bookstores. But those verses really sum up life and it showed that Solomon in all his wisdom still had to trust and rely on God. So in its essence, the Book of Ecclesiastes became a book of faith as well as a book of wisdom.

    Marion

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  3. Becky,

    Here’s the link to that study:

    http://kammbia1.wordpress.com/category/study-of-ecclesiastes/

    I know that Solomon will probably never be your favorite character from the Bible. But, after doing this study gave me a new appreciation for Ecclesiastes and with wisdom being in short supply in our culture it showed me how relevant it is in our postmodern culture.

    Marion

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  4. The book of Ecclesiastes is my favourite as well. I think it is the book which is highly relevant to our cultures today. Solomon has always been a bit of a role model. Sad that in his later life he was lead astray by exotic, and no doubt beautiful, young women. I’m still waiting for that to happen to me.

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