Solomon was doing an incredible job in his new role as King of Israel. He had some huge sandals to fill when his father David passed away. After all, how do you follow the man after God’s own heart?
He started well by asking God for wisdom. The Lord gave Solomon the opportunity to ask for anything in the world. In 1 Kings 3:5b, God appears to Solomon at night in a dream and says, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon responds by asking God for a “discerning heart to govern his people to distinguish between right and wrong.”
Solomon could have asked for ANYTHING in the world!
He could have asked for money, women, cattle, or power. But instead, in his humility, recognizing the enormity of the role God gave him, he asked for wisdom. God responded by making Solomon the wisest person to ever walk the face of the earth outside of Jesus. He also richly blessed Solomon with incredible wealth and honor. This was because the Lord was pleased Solomon asked for wisdom and not stuff or fame.
We see Solomon use the wisdom God gave him for the good of others and for the glory of the Lord. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, Solomon delivers a ruling that led his people to be in awe of him. His great wisdom brought God glory.
In 1 Kings 6 and 7 we see Solomon and his people build the temple and Solomon’s palace. Then, in chapter 8, the ark is brought to its new home in the temple of the Lord.
In 1 Kings 10, we see foreign nations and people, including the Queen of Sheba, in awe of Solomon’s wealth and wisdom. He could answer anyone’s questions and his wisdom and wealth again pointed to the Lord. He was stewarding what God gave him in glorifying ways.
Solomon had it all and was doing so well.
Until he didn’t and it all changed.
In 1 Kings 11 we see the result of Solomon making some poor decisions. The Lord told His people, “You must not intermarry with them (foreign women), because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2). This did not stop Solomon from marrying 700 women and having 300 concubines. In the process, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kings 11:4).
It’s hard to imagine how 700 wives and 300 concubines would distract someone from walking with the Lord and walking faithfully. #SaidNoOneEver Insert sarcasm…
I was saddened as I was reminded of how Solomon was pulled offsides by his struggles. The kingdom divided after his death, and God’s people were torn apart.
But lest I throw stones at Solomon, I’m just as easily distracted. While I don’t have the wealth, wisdom, or women of Solomon, I’m certainly distracted by lust, laziness, and luxuries. Bonus points for alliteration?
I’m also reminded that God’s Word is living and active and sharper than a double edged sword. A few thousand years later, but we still have the same problems.
How am I distracted by lust?
Sometimes it’s lust after women, other times it’s lust after food and other days I lust over comfort. Regardless, it doesn’t take 700 wives and 300 concubines to pull me away from serving the Lord.
How am I distracted by stuff?
Most of us do a great job of comparing ourselves to others. We especially like to compare ourselves to those who have more than we do. If I only had that car, their house, or a little more money than I’d be content (or so we think). The desire for more stuff and the stuff I already have pull me away from walking more closely with Jesus.
How am I distracted by wisdom and power that comes with it?
My biggest issue here is a desire to be liked and praised by others. I like to appear wise and powerful. I seek after the approval of man more than God. Thankfully all followers of Jesus are already fully approved by God. But still I seek after the praise of man. And I hate giving into this battle.
How about you? While you and I differ in big ways from Solomon, we’re all still subject to being distracted by women/men, wisdom, and wealth.
A Prayer—God help us to not be distracted by the things of this world. Today I pray we would draw closer to You and that the things of this world would not pull us offsides. God, give us hearts like Solomon in 1 Kings 3 that humbly recognize our need for wisdom. Help us come to You in dependence, knowing that You graciously give wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).
Which is your biggest struggle of the three areas mentioned above? Is it lust over someone who’s not your spouse, the desire for greater wealth, or the praise and acclaim of man?
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