Today’s reading: 1 Kings 11; Philippians 2; Ezekiel 41; Psalms 92–93
Remember last Saturday when we studied 1 Kings 3? Young Solomon had just taken over the throne from his father David. God offered to grant Solomon whatever he wished, and Solomon asked for wisdom. God gave him wisdom, riches, honor, and promised he would be the greatest King ever. What a fairytale story!
Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days (1 Kings 3:11-13).
Unfortunately, today’s scripture in 1 Kings 11 brought me crashing back to reality. Is this really the same Solomon? You know the old saying – wisdom comes with age? Well apparently not in this case. God granted Solomon a wise and discerning mind as a twelve-year-old boy, but over the next forty years or so, he didn’t always make wise choices. By the time we get to 1 Kings 11, we find God angry with Solomon because he had turned away and was following after other gods.
And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant (1 Kings 11:9-11).
In both 1 Kings 3 and 1 Kings 9, God told Solomon that if he kept his commandments and walked in the way of the Lord the rest of his days, God would continue to bless him. This sounds pretty straightforward. Why didn’t he just do it? While the Bible doesn’t provide a full account of Solomon’s choices, the root cause of Solomon’s struggle is pretty clear. In fact, the problem was not unique to Solomon, God’s people throughout history struggled with it. We struggle with it today. The problem is sin. Sin ruined, and continues to ruin, God’s perfect plan. It separates us from God.
But we are not without hope. Fortunately Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled with God. Let’s review God’s plan of salvation:
- God’s invitation is open to all – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
- We all need it – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
- We can’t earn it – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Jesus paid the price for us – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
While I don’t have a lot in common with King Solomon, we are alike in one way – I haven’t always made wise choices. I’m getting ready to celebrate my birthday next week. When I reflect over the last 40+ years of my life, I’m definitely not as wise as I’d like to be. I still do some pretty dumb things. I’m so thankful God’s grace that is greater than all my sin. Thank you Jesus for making a way for me.