The greatness of Solomon – Part 4
“Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt” (I Kings)
“So the Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel” (I Chronicles
Without a doubt, King Solomon was one of the greatest ancient kings of Israel that ever lived. He was made great by the Lord. He was not only great, but kings from other nations also acknowledged that he was great. The Queen of Sheba expressed surprise when she visited Solomon. As she testified, “However I didn’t believe their words until I came, and my eyes had seen it; and behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me: you exceed the fame that I heard” (2 Chronicles 9:6).
King Solomon was conscious of his greatness and attested to it. In his days of glory, his heart craved all that the human heart could long for, and he indulged himself in all the delicacies of royalty. His words revealed the degree of his indulgence, “So, I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also, my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labour; And this was my reward from all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labour in which I had toiled, And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 NKJV).
He was an exceptional king, endowed with wisdom and riches, but he lacked discretion and restraint. He was wise but lacked self-control and personal discipline. Solomon lost fame and glory because he could not manage the demands of his position wisely (1 Kgs. 10: 23-26).
Jim Rohan says, “Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.” Solomon’s lifestyle was a recipe for his failure. The causes of his failure were very obvious: he was disobedient to God’s covenant, he married wives from nations where God prohibited Israel to marry from, he succumbed to the worship of foreign gods and consequently, his heart was disconnected from God. For all these, God was displeased and dissatisfied with him. “So the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice” (I Kings 11:9 NKJV).
Sadly, Solomon’s actions attracted God’s judgment and cost him his position. “Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (I Kings 11:11-13 NKJV).
Solomon’s folly should lead us to pray for ourselves thus: Oh God, give me the wisdom and discipline to be humble in my quest for greatness. I need you more than any worldly attainment.