“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)
The story of King Solomon has fascinated me for decades. You can read about him in 1 Kings chapters one through eleven in the Old Testament. It is worth studying.
Here was a man who had everything going for him: a godly father (David), an undivided kingdom given to him with no enemies to fight, wisdom and knowledge beyond measure, wealth, and other blessings too numerous to list. He even had the God of the universe appear to him on at least two occasions.
To say that Solomon was a blessed man is an understatement.
But with all of his profound blessings, Solomon, known as the wisest man in the world, ended his life on tragic note. Though his wisdom had blessed so many others, he failed to use that priceless gift for himself and he spurned the very One who gave him his great understanding. This great man played the fool and his biographer takes pains to reveal why:
“For 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.” 1 Kings 11:4 (NASB)
And it wasn’t the case that Solomon had just a handful of wives who were instrumental in causing him to backslide; no, the bible says that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). That’s an incredible amount of drama for just one man to handle, no matter how beautiful those women must have been.
It might be easy for us, acting as “armchair generals,” to harshly judge Solomon for his unspeakable backsliding and think, “That could never happen to me!” But then the words of the apostle Paul slaps us back into reality:
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
The truth is, any one of us can end up like Solomon, because if it happened to the wisest man in the world, it can happen to you and me. We need to take careful heed lest we also fall.
Someone once said, “Prayer will keep us from sin, and sin will keep us from prayer.” In trying to understand Solomon’s shocking fall from grace, I believe some of the steps he took to reach the point where he was sacrificing to other gods was his failure to connect with God regularly in prayer. As reigning sovereign over a vibrant kingdom, with all of its duties, emergencies, distractions and needs, Solomon no doubt failed to carve out of his daily life that necessary intimate and personal connection to his Lord.
My personal responsibilities are as nothing compared to Solomon’s, yet I can see how easily the distractions and responsibilities of daily living can cause me to neglect that all important time with Jesus in my daily life. Failure to connect consistently with the Lord on a regular basis is a sure marker of walking on the “Solomon Road” to apostasy.
I confess to a certain amount of fear and paranoia when I read of Solomon’s downfall; if it happened to him, how can any of us be spared the same fate?
More in Part two.