Solomon started admirably, loving and obeying God as his father David had done. Because Solomon chose wisdom over riches and honor, the Lord blessed him with all of the above. Very often the Lord does that, the righteous prosper on many fronts. This is good, and a blessing from God. But it also tests the blessed one, to see if they will continue to keep the Lord as their first love, or love the blessings just as much or more.
When one is blessed materially or with leadership or fame because of faithfulness, any slide into compromise is usually a slow fade. The faithful never really intend to back slide or replace their love for the Almighty with things, ego and the like. But too often, little by little the blessings chip away at the faithful and he or she begins to love the blessings more than the One who blesses.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4).
We are exhorted to not overwork to become rich (Proverbs 23:4), Those who want to get rich fall into temptation…(1 Timothy 6:9) and be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5). Why? The reason is clear:
It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 9:23).
Is it a sin to be rich? Certainly not! But it makes living like a disciple significantly more difficult. So don’t seek riches. If they come as blessing from God, good. But beware; they come with many temptations whereby many good men and women have fallen prey and ended up a shadow of the spiritual warrior they were or were to become.
Solomon was one of the blessed ones. Solomon was also one of the tempted ones. And he yielded to temptation in a big way.
“I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:10).
“But King Solomon loved many foreign women…from the nations of whom the Lord has said ‘you shall not intermarry with them. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. And he had 700 wives, and 300 concubines; and his wives turned away his heart” 1 Kings 11:1-3).
“Can a man take fire to his bosom and not be burned” (Proverbs 6:27)?
“And he did likewise (built high places for other gods) for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice” (1 Kings 11:8-9).
We reap what we sow. Solomon held nothing back and lived his life to the full, enjoying all his blessings. But his heart grew cold to the Lord. He ended up worshipping other gods and the great king Solomon may very well be in hell if he didn’t truly repent later in life. He did summarize what he thought of his life of excess:
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes1:2,14).
After experiencing first hand like no other the pointlessness of living a life for self and pleasure, Solomon concluded:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
We prosperous American Christians live in a precarious and dangerous situation. Jesus said we can’t serve two masters, but millions of us put His words to the test daily. We think we can. Maybe others can’t, but we can manage the balance between loving God and loving pleasure and money. But we can’t. We will always love one master more than the other. And our time, energies and money tell us which master we love more. Dear friend, are you a David, a man with a single, undivided heart, or a Solomon with a divided heart? Our loving heavenly father desires our all and, in response, will give us His all.