I enjoy reading 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings. Some of the greatest stories and characters in the bible are found in these four books: Solomon for one. Solomon became King after his father, David, died. In 1Kings 3:5 the Lord asked Solomon, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”
We can only dream about what our answer would be to that offer! Solomon asked for “an understanding heart to judge God’s people….” (1Kings 3:9). God was pleased with his answer, granted his request, and added wisdom, riches, and honor like no one had before and no one would have after- with one stipulation; “…if you walk in My ways…”
One way God instructed the sons of Israel to walk was by not getting involved with foreign women. 1Kings 11:1 records that Solomon “loved many foreign women.” Among his 700 wives and 300 concubines were found many foreign women…”and they turned his heart away from the Lord.” Along with foreign women came their foreign idols. Solomon built “high places” for them to burn incense as they worshiped their idols made with human hands…”and Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord.” (1Kings 11:6). It’s a tragic story; living a long-life serving God only to turn away in the twilight of your existence.
Solomon started strong and reigned 40 years over Israel, only to have his heart turned away from God by disobedience and have his kingdom torn from him. Two thoughts come to mind considering this story: One; Eugene Peterson authored a classic book entitled “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” We need to start and finish life well as disciples. Two; 1 John 5:21 “Little children (speaking affectionately to his adult disciples) guard yourselves from idols.”