“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.”
I don’t remember ever having a true favorite Bible character growing up. I am sure anytime I was ever asked I threw out a different answer along with some meaningless reason as to why they were my favorite. No one ever truly stood out to me, honestly because how could I relate to any of them? That was because as a kid, you not only have a completely different understanding of the world around you but what you learn about these Bible stories are only what you were allowed. Everything about war, killing, adultery, etc is just cut out. I mean, it is all for good reason, but nonetheless, how could I have a favorite when I didn’t really know the whole story or their true character?
It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago when I realized who really stood out to me. Ironically enough I was reading these “kid friendly” versions of the Bible stories to my group of children at a preschool I was teaching at, at the time, when I first really noticed the story about King Solomon.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of King Solomon, you probably remember the Sunday school teaching of a king ordering that a baby be cut in half in order for him to recognize who the babies true mother was. Solomon was that king.
While I was reading this story to my class room full of children I realized I did not know much about this man at all. That night I decided that I was going to learn more concerning his story, so that is what I did. He instantly became a favorite. Why? Well, for Two Reasons:
- He had a heart for God. He yearned to know and love and obey God and for this he was rewarded.
“And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” 1 Kings 3:3-5
- He was humble. When God said “Ask and you shall receive.” God did not say “There are limitations on what I will give.” HE said “Ask and you shall receive.” Anything. Solomon asked for wisdom. WISDOM! I would only hope that if I was in that position and presented with the same offer, I would be humble enough to ask for wisdom.
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” 1 Kings 3:9
These two things alone made Solomon the top of my list. These were two traits I want to acquire. I have always had a heart for God but never like the heart Solomon had. I wanted to wake up every day wondering “What can I do for God today?” instead of “I wonder what there is to eat.” Personally, I believe pride is the root of most, if not all, sin. What is the opposite of pride? Humility. If I am ever known for anything, I want it to be for my love for God and humility but by the time that bit of discussion is brough up I hope to be humble enough for it not to matter to me if I am known at all as long as I did my part to further the Lord’s kingdom.
Although all these things make Solomon sound like the perfect Christian, he was not. Solomon taught me many things I wanted and should be but the biggest lesson King Solomon ever taught me was to never get so caught up in your blessings that you forget where they came from, God.
Solomon was known to have many wives. Believe it or not, not all of his wives worshiped the same God as he. Many worshiped idols. As he got older, his wives would try to persuade him to worship their gods.
“And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” 1 Kings 11:3-4
Eventually, Solomon too began to offer sacrifices to these idols.
“For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.” 1 Kings 11:5-8
This angered God, As a result of this, after Solomon’s death, his kingdom was divided.
“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, For as much as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” 1 Kings 11:9-11
This man who had started so humbly in the beginning, who had received blessings upon blessings, who was considered one of the wisest men in the Bible lost track of God. I see many people today who start from such humble beginnings get blessed once and instantly lose their way. Nothing is ever guaranteed. All good comes from God and this generation, well ALL generations are so quick to forget that. The biggest lesson King Solomon ever taught me was to not lose sight of where all these things come from. The Lord says “I am the beginning and the end.” I don’t know about you but my hope is that my story ends a little bit on a happier note than Solomon’s.