Read: 1 Kings 11:1-8; Ecclesiastes 2:11
Solomon has been regarded as one of the most intelligent and wise men to live in that period in history. The nation of Israel was at its highest point it would ever be at in its history. The Kingdom of Israel was a powerhouse of a nation that impacted the entire geographic area and this was all due to the wisdom, intelligence, and blessing that God had given Solomon. There was a major issue though: Solomon had an insatiable desire for power, wealth, and pleasure. This led Solomon to seek to satisfy this desires in women, other gods, and obtaining more wealth even at the cost of his own people. When we get to the end of Solomon’s reign, in his death, the kingdom that had been at its height divided in two and began the crumble into conquest and exile. An entire nation paid a deep price for their lack of faithfulness, trust, and sole reliance on the God who had blessed them so much.
What becomes apparent through the rise and fall of Solomon is that even though God may bless someone with incredible gifts, skills, and abilities, it does not mean all of the results of those gifts, skills, and abilities are God-honoring or altruistic. Where Solomon’s father, David, lacked in being able to build up the kingdom he had in having a heart after God’s own. Yes, King David still messed up in big ways, but when confronted, he repented and knew how it had grieved God. Solomon, even with his God-given wisdom and intellect, lacked the heart that his father had to keep him close and reliant on God. I wonder if Solomon popped into the minds of the disciples when Jesus was telling them the cost of discipleship to him and asked the question, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”(Matt 16:26) The life of Solomon should be a stark reminder for us that we can receive blessing after blessing because of the gifts God has graced us with, but if our heart is not fixed on Jesus then that blessing will only lead to discontentment, one that can only be satisfied by a heart shepherded by Jesus. The result of true discipleship is not success. The result of true discipleship is faithfully taking up our cross and following Jesus where he leads.
- What is something that you learned or stood out to you in the reading?
- God gave Solomon significant wisdom and intellect, why do you think God continued to bless him in spite of using it for his own gain in the end?
- When you receive blessings and success, does it seem to draw you closer to God or further away? Explain.
- What is a major truth we can learn from the life of Solomon?
- What do we need to do in order to allow our hearts to be shepherded by Jesus?
- How can we pursue contentment in our lives with Jesus?