By Geof Cole
The rise of Solomon in terms of wisdom, wealth and power was phenomenal. He made awesome and godly choices when initially anointed as king (although in cultural terms the least qualified), but as life progressed later decisions were less God focused. King David’s instruction (as he lay dying) to Solomon was this:-
““I am going the way of all the earth [as dust to dust]. Be strong and prove yourself a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, [that is, fulfil your obligation to] walk in His ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may succeed in everything that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may fulfil His promise concerning me, saying, ‘ If your sons are careful regarding their way [of life], to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and mind and with all their soul, you shall not fail to have a man (descendant) on the throne of Israel.’”. 1 Kings 2:2-4 AMP
We read in 2 Chronicles 9:31 (ESV) “And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father, and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.” If we were to leave Solomon’s story there we might be right in thinking it all ended ‘happily ever after’, however Solomon missed the IF!
We need to take careful note of that word “ IF ”, it’s a massive qualifier! The promises of God can often be ‘conditional’ and the fulfilment of those promises will rest on our actions and heart responses to Him.
Like we’ve seen in earlier reflections (the starting point);-
“ IF My people who are called by My name will 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.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
From our early childhood days we know the meaning of IF from our parents – the underlining reward or discipline connected to a certain course of action but how often do we choose not or fail to see the IF’s of God in the Scriptures?
The consequences for Solomon and his family, from failure to recognise the “ IF ”, were to be catastrophic, and had dire repercussions for all the Nation of Israel.
“…..when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. ……..He said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself; for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes, ………..because they have abandoned Me and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways and followed My commandments, doing what is right in My sight and keeping My statutes and My ordinances as did his father David. However, I will not take the entire kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him (Solomon) ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you: ten tribes.” 1 Kings 11:29, 31, 33-35 AMP
Solomon made many very unwise and ungodly choices – marrying foreign women, having a great number of wives and concubines, enslaving His people, focussing on the accumulation of wealth, fundamentally losing sight of God.
We’re told that all Scripture is there for our help and instruction, and it’s not for us to judge anyone else whether that’s Solomon or someone we know. But God’s word is there to help us to avoid sin, to learn from others and to follow God’s heart the best we can.
We have the privilege of Holy Spirit living in us – as it were a conscience “booster”, we needn’t be swayed by uncertainty, doubt, temptation or disobedience, but can do the right thing for the right reason.
A life without sin is a real possibility – a life like Jesus!
In 1 John 2:1 ESV it says:- “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. ( Choice ) But IF anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
It’s the big IF again – but as we are created in God’s image, born again in Christ and Holy Spirit is resident in us (the same Spirit as Jesus – Wow!) we can live free from sin, have the ability to not be swayed by power, wealth or sex, living a live as fulfilling and godly as Jesus.
Solomon was called, appointed and anointed for purpose and influence. We have been too, not to lead a nation but to be bringers of the Kingdom, hope carriers, peace and joy givers. I would suggest our mandate is contained in Isaiah 61:-
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.…….. but you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;……..” Isaiah 61:1-4, 6 ESV
Of course this prophetic word was pointing to Jesus, but we are co-heirs of Christ:-
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and IF children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:15-17 ESV
As with all things, with rights come responsibilities! One of those “responsibilities” is to be a blessing to others, in what we say, think and do. Peter’s description in Cornelius’s home sums it all up nicely:-
“…..how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him. Acts 10:38 AMP
To be a source of blessing to our family, friends and neighbours. To be “Jesus in skin” to them especially in this very trying and extremely difficult time. As Paul says “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 ESV
Paul recognises that it’s possible to get tired of doing good, why else state it!
So, “…….continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication].” Hebrews 3:13 AMP
We need each other – so in these times whether by card, letter, email, etc. let’s continue to encourage each other.
“Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds,* not forsaking our meeting together* [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another*; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25 AMP (* we’ll need to be creative here!)
Our success, like Solomon’s, will be judged by God, not on how much we have done nor how well we’ve done it, but on our obedience, that will be the true benchmark of success. (1 Sam 15:22)
Regrettably the conclusion of Solomon’s life was a sad reflection on his awesome start as king – IF only had he followed his father David’s instruction how different it would have been. (1 Kings 11) To conclude, let’s go back to the starting point:-
“…… so that you may succeed in everything that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may fulfill His promise concerning me, saying, ‘ IF your sons are careful regarding their way [of life], to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and mind and with all their soul, you shall not fail……”. 1Kings 2 AMP
Paul writes, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,…………… All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
2 Timothy 3:14, 16 NKJV
Onto success with our God – it’s got His guarantee, IF ! “Jesus answered him, “ IF anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV
By Geof Cole