1st Kings 5
1 ¶ Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David.
2 Then Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying,
3 “You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.
4 “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.
5 “Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’
6 “Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”
7 When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the LORD today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.”
8 So Hiram sent word to Solomon, saying, “I have heard the message which you have sent me; I will do what you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber.
9 “My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea; and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place where you direct me, and I will have them broken up there, and you shall carry them away. Then you shall accomplish my desire by giving food to my household.”
10 ¶ So Hiram gave Solomon as much as he desired of the cedar and cypress timber.
11 Solomon then gave Hiram 20,000 kors of wheat as food for his household, and twenty kors of beaten oil; thus Solomon would give Hiram year by year.
12 The LORD gave wisdom to Solomon, just as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a covenant.
I was struck by these passages because they portended such a wonderful future for Solomon and Israel. Verse 12 speaks of how Solomon and Hiram made a covenant together. At the end of Solomon’s life, however, his heart was turned to idolatry.
1st Kings 11
4 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.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.
6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done.
7 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.
8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 ¶ Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded.
11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.
12 “Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 “However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
It has often bothered me how different movements have begun in the will of God with His blessings upon them. Yet, in the end, the movements wound up as something less than what God intended. In the passages from chapter five there is no evil present. There was great joy being experienced over what God was establishing. This is confirmed by verse seven. “When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the LORD today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.”
Why did things end up so badly? There was never a time when Solomon actually looked up and said, “Gee, I think I’ll become an idolater.” Proverbs 4:23 states “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Verse one from our text says that Solomon’s heart was turned away. God testified repeatedly throughout the Scriptures that Solomon’s father, David, was a man after His own heart. Despite certain sins David committed, his heart never turned from serving the Lord. He was quick to repent when confronted with his sin. It was not the case with Solomon. His heart was turned away. This should give us pause. All of the wisdom that God gave Solomon did not profit him in the end. This tells us that it’s not the amount of revelation we receive that holds us to the path, but a tender heart before God. Who can discern his own ways to the point of making only wise choices? If Solomon could not do it, neither can we. How can we even know if are veering in some subtle way? A humble, honest heart will see us through. A perpetual cry in our spirits for God to correct us, guide us, and keep our paths straight guarantees us sure entrance in His perfect purposes.
It’s always easy to look with hindsight and say, “Oh, such-and-such was destined to happen.” Was Solomon destined to idolatry to serve some future purpose of God? I do not believe that. Within the context of God’s sovereignty lies the choices of our hearts. Solomon did not have to fail. If he were “destined” for failure in the end, why was God angry with him? The religious mindset of fatalism needs to be dumped from our thinking. I remember a line from the movie “Oh, God.” Jerry Landers was incredulous that so much was left up to mankind. George Burns (God) tells him, “I’m only in it for the big picture, I don’t get into details.” Lol. Well, that’s Hollywood, and obviously there is more to it than that, but the line carries some weight. God help us to guard our hearts.
When duplicity first begins to enter our hearts we never feel as if we are cut off from God. We don’t automatically find ourselves outside of God’s sphere. What happens is that the progressive path of knowing the Lord in deeper ways slowly disappears. The deeper truths of the kingdom of God are cut off. You will never find a person with duplicity in his/her heart moving in a progressive revelation of the Lord. This is one reason why Christianity as a whole is so shallow.
Let’s look at the end of Paul’s life and see how it contrasted with Solomon’s.
2nd Tim. 4
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
These passages convey such a tenderness towards God. Paul had kept the faith and fought the good fight. He spent many years in much conflict and adversity. Yet, he did not allow the outward circumstances to jade his heart. He remained faithful to the end. So be it for each of us.