Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
(For the complete story of Solomon, see 2 Samuel 12:24 through 1 Kings 11:43).
Nearly 3,000 years have passed since King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs, yet this timeless treasure of practical wisdom is still applicable today. Considered the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon failed to take his own advice and fell into idolatry. Let us take a look at his life, for there is much we can learn.
King Solomon's life had great beginnings. The young King of Israel was humble, and his heart was devoted and surrendered to God. One night he had a dream and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon replied, "Give me wisdom and discernment to govern the people." (1 Kings 3:9). Pleased with Solomon's request, God gave him not only wisdom and discernment but wealth and honor. (1 Kings 3:10-13).
King Solomon was greater in wisdom and wealth than all the kings of the earth. (1 Kings 10:23). During his 40 year reign, Israel was the most powerful and prosperous nation in the region. Silver and gold were as plentiful as rocks on the roadside. His reputation as a man of great wisdom spread far and wide, and people came to hear him speak from all nations. (1 Kings 4:34).
King Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem and adorned it with the finest gold and polished stones. (1 Kings 6:1-38). He engaged in massive construction projects and built cities and ships and a magnificent royal palace. He was a superb statesman who expanded commercial trade with surrounding nations, thus increasing the wealth and riches of the nation of Israel.
Beneath the gold and glitter of Solomon's reign, serious problems were surfacing. Solomon loved many foreign women. (1 Kings 11:1). He had 700 royal wives and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:3). God had given warning not to take multiple wives (Deuteronomy 17:17) and intermarry with pagan nations (1 Kings 11:2), but Solomon disobeyed. In his later years, Solomon's wives lured him into worshiping other gods. (1 Kings 11:4). King Solomon's divided heart resulted in a divided kingdom. The Kingdom of Israel was split during the reign of Solomon's son, Rehoboam. (1 Kings 11:9-13).
Most Bible experts agree that, near the end of his life, Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes, reflecting on his life. Solomon's achievements and earthly pursuits left him unfulfilled. Here was a man who had everything - power, wealth, intellect, and fame - yet he declared it all meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-10). He discovered that life apart from God was empty and without purpose.
King Solomon's life reminds us that the problems associated with power, lust and greed in our modern world have existed for thousands of years. He teaches us that life without God is meaningless and only in Him can we find true fulfillment. Above all, Solomon exhorts us to guard our hearts against anything that can cause us to stray or jeopardize our relationship with God.
Father, thank you for teaching us valuable truths from the life of King Solomon. Let these truths lead us to a deeper commitment to Christ. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.