A GOOD START IS NOT ENOUGH
Solomon took seven years to build the Lord’s temple (1 Kgs. 6:38), and thirteen years to build his own house (1 Kgs. 7:1). So we know which he valued more!! That is a fairly good description of many people who are doing Christian work today. They do “Christian” work all right. But their primary interest is in their own house and the comfort of their own family. God’s work and God’s house are secondary. Preaching the Gospel has made them rich. Solomon’s backsliding was gradual – as all backsliding is. He started off his rule by killing people. He could have easily disagreed with his father David and refused to kill Shimei and Joab. He could have forgiven Adonijah and not killed him. Once he had started sliding down, the gradient became steeper.
Next, he married Pharaoh’s daughter–obviously for her wealth. Then he spent thirteen years building his own house. All this, in spite of the fact that God had given him such wisdom. Many a time, I have seen in Christian workers, a drift towards the world right from the beginning of their lives. They start seeking their own right from the time they begin their ministry. When you see them years later, they have become experts in seeking their own. But God still loved His people, in spite of the backsliding of their king. So He filled the temple with His glory when it was completed (1 Kgs. 8:10). It was just like the day when Moses had completed the tabernacle. The temple was built in the same pattern as the tabernacle, but on a much bigger and grander scale.
A Promising King
Solomon prayed a beautiful prayer of dedication (1 Kgs. 8:22-61). The Lord then appeared to him a second time and told him that He had heard his prayer and again urged him to walk in integrity of heart and uprightness, so that his kingdom would be established. He also warned Solomon that if he turned away from following the Lord, Israel would be removed from the land and the temple would become a heap of ruins (1 Kgs. 9:3-9). That was exactly what happened when the Babylonians came and captured Judah and destroyed the temple. God had warned them, “Don’t think you can live as you like and that I will just keep on blessing you.” The Lord warns us long before we start going astray. In 1 Kings 10 we read of the Queen of Sheba coming and meeting Solomon because she had heard of his wonderful wisdom.
But despite all his worldwide reputation for wisdom, Solomon was a mixed-up man. He could pray beautiful prayers to the Lord in public, like most Christians. But in his private life, he was as godless as anyone – again like many Christians. He rivalled Samson in lust – for he married 700 wives and as if that were not enough, he kept 300 concubines as well – mostly from the heathen nations around him (1 Kgs. 11:1-3). He must have seen each of them just once in three years! Those wives finally turned him away from the Lord, to the worship of idols.
Young People, Pay Heed!
When you plan to get married, don’t just look for a pretty face. See whether the girl has a desire to live a godly life. That is far more important in the long run. A woman, who has only a pretty face, can ruin your life and destroy it. A godly woman will, however, do you good all the days of your life. There are many warnings in Scripture. But I don’t know whether you will take heed to them when the time comes. Many nod their heads when they hear such things in the meetings. But when the time comes for their marriage, they still choose a worldly girl, just because she is good-looking. And sisters, let me urge you also, pray that God will lead you to a godly man to be your husband. Don’t yield to the suggestions of your parents, if they suggest an unconverted person. Your partner can lead you astray to the worship of idols — the idols of money, pleasure and godless entertainment, etc.
When Solomon went astray, God was angry with him and told him that He would divide his kingdom into two (1 Kgs. 11:9). But because David was a godly man, God did not do it in Solomon’s lifetime (1 Kgs. 11:12). We see there how much children are blessed, because of the godliness of their father! God raised up enemies to trouble Solomon, but he still did not repent (1 Kgs. 11:14). When Solomon feared that Jeroboam was going to rebel against him, he tried to put Jeroboam to death (1 Kgs. 11:26). Jeroboam later became king of the divided kingdom. Thus Solomon died (1 Kgs. 11:43).
Solomon wrote three books in Scripture– two of them- Proverbs and Song of Solomon- are like new covenant books in the Old Testament. Proverbs is the finest book in the Old Testament. All young people should read it regularly and frequently. It has 31 chapters. Read a chapter a day and it can preserve you from much evil. Song of Solomon is a wonderful picture of our devotion to Jesus Christ as His bride. Ecclesiastes was written after Solomon had drifted. In it, he warns us about the dangers of worldly wisdom. This man who wrote three wonderful books of the Bible finally went to hell! Don’t imagine that everyone who stands up and preaches wonderful sermons will go to heaven.
How do we know that Solomon went to hell? Is it possible that the Holy Spirit would write two biographies of Solomon (1 Kings and 2 Chronicles), and not mention in either of them that he repented towards the end of his life, if he had actually done so. Such silence is very eloquent. It tells us that Solomon died unrepentant. Manasseh was a king who did much greater evil than Solomon, and for a much longer period of time. But, at the end of his life, he repented, and the Holy Spirit mentions it in Scripture. It is unthinkable that the Holy Spirit would not have mentioned it, if Solomon had repented.
Doing Lord’s Work
Why are many Christians so keen on “sending Solomon to heaven”? It is because they imagine that anyone who serves the Lord will definitely go to heaven, no matter how they live. Jesus said that many would come to Him on the last day and say, “Lord, we prophesied in Your Name, we cast out demons in Your Name, we did miracles in Your Name.” But the Lord will say to them, “Depart from me, you who lived in sin.” Solomon will come before the Lord in that day too and say, “Lord, I wrote three books of Scripture that blessed millions of people.” And the Lord will tell him also exactly what He tells the others, “Depart from Me, you who lived in sin.” Let Solomon’s life be a warning to all of us. Paul said, “I can preach to others, but be disqualified myself finally” (1 Cor.9:27).