Solomon was a wise man. The wisest man who ever lived, actually. He astounded all of the kings of His day with how wise he was. Israel was in awe of his wisdom and how he ruled.
When the Queen of Sheba experienced his wisdom for herself, she was overwhelmed.
But….at the end of the day, we don’t want to be like Solomon. And we can read about why in I Kings 11:1-13. This is where God talks about how Solomon caused the division of the kingdom (which wasn’t a good thing). Verses 2 and 3 hit the nail right on the head.
The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them (foreign women), because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
God clearly instructed him….warned him even…..not to marry foreign wives. Yet, Solomon INSISTED on doing it anyway. And they led his heart away from God, which caused God to be very angry with him and led to the division of the kingdom and the end of Solomon’s reign.
In fact, in verse 33, God uses Solomon as an example for the next king of what NOT to do. In a nutshell, He tells Jeroboam:
Solomon wasn’t so smart. He abandoned Me. He worshipped other Gods. He didn’t obey my decrees and regulations. Don’t be like Solomon.
For being oh so wise, Solomon wasn’t so smart. He was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. He was a few cards shy of a full deck. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
It’s one thing to KNOW the right thing to do. It’s a whole other ballgame to actually DO the right thing. A whole other ballgame. It takes effort and discipline and self-control.
Decrees. Regulations. Commandments. Laws. Rules. Guidelines. Boundaries.
Call them what you will. God has them (even in the New Testament). He expects His people to follow them. Period.
He didn’t give us rules and commands because He’s a big meanie in the sky who doesn’t want us to have any fun. Doesn’t want us to enjoy life.
No. He gave them because He knows us. He created us and He knows how we tick. He knows what will help us and what will hurt us. He gave them because He loves us and wants what’s best for us.
In Solomon’s case, He knew marrying someone who didn’t love Him too would have an impact on his heart. It would lead him far from God. He said, “Don’t do it. She’ll take my place in your heart and you’ll walk away from Me. And I want your heart forever.”
But somehow in all Solomon’s wisdom, he thought he was smarter than God. “No way that will ever happen to me! I’m too smart for that. I love God. I’ll never walk away. Other people might be dumb enough to let that happen, but not me. I’m the wisest man who ever lived!”
And yet – it did.
God’s commands have never been just about actions. Do this and don’t do that.
It was always been about the heart. Actions reveal the heart.
Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (I John 3:19)
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you’ll keep my commandments.”
It’s not about earning something here. It’s always been about love. It’s always been about relationship. He wants our hearts and He knows what will lead us away from Him and what will keep us close to Him.
Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. (I John 3:24)
God’s commands are not restrictive. They’re protective. They’re guardrails put in place to help us walk as closely to Him as possible. To help us have a fully satisfied life in Him with no shame or guilt or regrets.
Learn a lesson from Solomon.
God warned him. God gave him commands and expected him to keep them. God wanted to be more important to Solomon than all those wives and concubines. But Solomon’s actions revealed his heart – and it was far from God.
He took the commands of God lightly. He developed an it-will-never-happen-to-me mentality and disobeyed. He sinned. And it had consequences.
We do the same thing…take sin lightly, that is. Have you noticed that many have stopped calling sin Sin? When did that happen?
When we call sin Sin, it will carry the gravity in our hearts and minds it’s supposed to. When we see it as Sin, as something that hurts the heart of God, we’ll fully understand what Jesus meant when He said, “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.”
It’s not about trying to earn something from God. No. It’s about wanting to keep close to God.
We are to guard and protect our hearts. We do that through relationship. And part of relationship is doing what we know pleases the other person and staying away from what we know hurts them.
“If you love Me, you’ll keep my commands.”
Don’t be like Solomon……..Just some food for thought today.