Most of us know that God hears our prayers. Many would even go so far as to say that He answers our prayers, though not always the WAY we though He would answer them. But few of us (I would bet VERY few) have ever heard God say to us, “Ask what I shall give you.” (2 Chr 1:7) But that is exactly what God said to Solomon.
Imagine that pressure and freedom all at once. God is asking you to ask for anything. It doesn’t show any hesitation in the scripture but I would have to imagine that Solomon stewed on this question a bit. God’s response to Solomon’s answer to this question actually speaks to wisdom that Solomon already possessed. “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.” (2 Chr 1:11-12)
As a result of this amazing wisdom, Solomon went on to be a great king of Israel, and wrote three books of the Bible; Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. There is no doubt how wise Solomon was. However, in the end… even his wisdom could not save him.
Solomon ended up the third and final king of a united Israel. Saul had failed first but David (who was like a son to him) succeeded and kept Israel together. Then David also failed but his son Solomon succeed and kept Israel together again. Each lasted 40 years and at the end of 40 years, Solomon also failed. However this time, the wisest man in history (and ever in the future) failed so badly that Israel was forever divided as a result.
God had warned that marriage was sacred. He designed it from the beginning to be a man and his wife. Period. The Israelites however had begun to covet what they saw in neighboring nations, one of those things being that their kings had many wives. In this category, Solomon (the wisest) failed the largest. God has said, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” (1 Kings 11:2) Yet the lust and coveting heart that Solomon had, pushed his wisdom out of the way and he ‘succeeded’ in going against God’s plan by more than anyone ever had. “He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines” (1 Kings 11:3). Following his heart instead of the wisdom God granted him, led him to sin in other ways and eventually in the most significant way of all, worshiping other gods.
As a result of this, God took His favor away from Solomon and when he fell from power, the entire nation fell to pieces, literally. For the rest of history, the Israelites were divided into two nations.
So what’s the point of this story? What should we take away from this history lesson?
- Even with the gift of supernatural wisdom, failure occurs.
- When God gives us a gift, we should use that gift to glorify Him.
- When we fall to the desires of our flesh, that’s only the beginning of the story. It leads to even more severe failure eventually.