As we entered the New Year, I was filled with much excitement and hope of what the Lord will do in His church. This excitement was however slightly dowsed with various news of high-profile pastors in America who had fallen in sin or compromised their integrity as undershepherds. Some of these pastors were once men of God whose ministry had some influence in my life. Men whose ministry was undoubtedly anointed and Spirit empowered; and the question I ask is, what happened along the way? How did they find themselves where they currently are?
As I studied through the book of Kings, I was also reminded that king Solomon, who was blessed by God with wisdom, glory, and riches, eventually did not wholly follow the Lord. Solomon was the king who once dedicated the temple where God’s presence visibly appeared in a form of a cloud (1 Kings 8:10-11), yet he somehow lost his way as the years went on.
In 1 Kings 11:4-7, we are told, “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. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem”.
What can we learn from Solomon to help us stay the course of faith?
- Being wise in your own eyes – Solomon was blessed with great wisdom, knowledge, and insight, and often knowledge has a way of puffing itself up above spiritual matters. Solomon may have thought to himself that idols are not truly gods. Carved images representing various gods are but the work of men, hence this knowledge may have influenced his decision making. This is the idea that worship is all about the heart, hence physical substances may have little or no impact on one’s faith.
- Excessive pleasure seeking – In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon admitted to giving himself to pleasure to find meaning and satisfaction in it (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3). Solomon was also said to have married 700 wives with an additional 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3), most of which was believed to be for political purposes. While this may appear to be somewhat justifiable in his effort to maintain peace, the dangers of overindulgence, especially regarding matters of the heart, was what eventually led Solomon astray.
- Being content with true worship – Often church ministry and worship can sometimes feel repetitive, which then has the risk of gradually losing its appeal given time. The songs that once thrilled you, may soon not have the same impact it once did. The Gospel message that once brought you to your knees, may soon feel like the same old message of the Cross. The call to live a life worthy of the calling, may soon feel a bit too restrictive. The human tendency to experiment, to try new things and to break out of the norm, is what often leads to heresy and idolatry. Regarding this, Paul the Apostle said, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Timothy 6:6. Being content with the Lord and being a part of the church helps us to stay the course of faith.
In scripture we are further reminded that, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4.
It is my prayer that as you reflect on the life of Solomon, you may be instructed and strengthened to stay the course of faith to the end.