When Solomon became king at a young age following the death of his father David, he approached God and prayed mightily to Him. His heart was right with the Lord. Because of this, Yahweh answered Him. God declared that since Solomon desired nothing for himself but wisdom in order to govern the people of Israel well, He would give him wisdom beyond that of any man before or since, plus immense wealth and power, as seen in 1 Kings 3:10-14:
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. 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. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
God gave all this to Solomon, but He also declared a caveat, namely, that Solomon must walk in all His ways. That became a problem. Solomon built the magnificent temple in Jerusalem. At the dedication, he laid out the way of righteousness for Israel and the individuals in the kingdom for all to hear and obey. It was at this time that God uttered the famous verse we all know from 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“… if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
We love to repeat this passage as a promise to us in modern times. Unfortunately, we neglect what the Lord said are the consequences of not obeying Him that He stated in 2 Chronicles 7:19-20:
“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.”
Solomon apparently forgot this portion of God’s decree, just like we do today. Once Solomon had cemented his throne, he began exercising his kingly prerogatives. As he says in his reminiscences in Ecclesiastes 7:25-27:
I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—
How Solomon loved women! This is recounted in 1 Kings 11:1-4,8:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father … And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.
All these women were pagans. All of them worshiped other gods and sacrificed to them. In his lust, Solomon forgot God’s edict. He had said that if His people turned away from Him to serve other gods, there would be severe consequences. Solomon, in loving all these women, made them his idol. But he went even further. His heart actually turned to the gods of the women he loved.
Only in his old age did he come to his senses to realize the folly of his actions. He was so wise, but had been a fool. The women had been a snare to him, and he fell into it. By forgetting Yahweh, indulging in his passions, and serving other gods, he did exactly what the Lord had warned against. It resulted in the division of Israel, just as God had said it would.
When we turn our hearts to anything or anyone other than Jesus, consequences likewise come upon us. This is what our nation did as a result of so many individuals, along with the church itself, deciding that God wasn’t an important component of our lives. As a people we have forsaken Him.
God is infinitely patient and merciful, desiring that none should perish. However, even God reaches a point that patience is useless. Because of the searing of men’s souls through sin and wickedness, this planet has passed a point of no return. God long ago laid out the scenario for what would happen when the population of the earth by and large became unredeemable. This is the point of the book of Revelation where God rains down His wrath upon this unbelieving world.
What resulted as a divided kingdom and eventually the dissolution of Israel as a nation, is effectively the same as will happen here and now in our time. The consequences of abandoning God will result in the destruction of the earth as we know it and of all unbelieving men.
There is Good News, however. God redeemed Israel, allowing her to regather as a nation. The Jews will ultimately become truly God’s Chosen People. Gentile believers also have a glorious future. Before the worst happens, Jesus will take His Bride to heaven for the duration of the 7-year Tribulation. Following that, the time will come when we will join with Christ in His return. We will rule and reign with Him for a thousand years.
Take heart. Darkness is overtaking the land, but God has a plan. We who love Him will participate in the greatest time we can ever imagine. Give God glory, for He is worthy!