Did King Solomon die in a state of broken fellowship with God or did he have union with God through faith?
King Solomon is a great example of several spiritual principles. But first, let’s review some of the events of Solomon’s life. We will start with King David’s instruction to his son, the new king, Solomon, because he was dying.
King David’s Charge
Here is the charge to Solomon.
And keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, “If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” (NASB) 1 Kings 2:3-4
King David encouraged his son to walk with God with all his heart and soul. He did not say “obey” but “walk with.” David’s focus was the success of the kingdom, but it also appears that he was trying to encourage Solomon to develop a relationship with God – not just sterile obedience. This was wise instruction from a father. Dad knew God and Solomon did not. Solomon was a young man, and a personal relationship with God did not exist.
How did Solomon respond?
The people were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days. Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (NASB) 1 Kings 3:2-3
Solomon loved God but not completely. He followed the people! So God personally visited him in a dream and offered him a wish. Was it a test?
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” (NASB) 1 Kings 3:5
Solomon’s response was great. He asked God for wisdom to discern evil from good.
“So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?” And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. (NASB) 1 Kings 3:9-10
The Lord was pleased and granted not only his request but gave him great wealth and fame because of his unselfishness.
And God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.” (NASB) 1 Kings 3:11-14
Later God granted Solomon the privilege of building the Temple. At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon had these words to say to the people.
Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day. (NASB) 1 Kings 8:61
Solomon’s kingdom grew along with his fame. 1 Kings 10 and Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 describe the great wealth of Solomon. 1 Kings 11:3 tells us that he had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. Now many men would like to have been that man. God also tells us that Solomon was the wisest man of his time.
Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. (NASB) 1 Kings 4:29-30
Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 2:9
What more could a man want? The answer is a relationship with God! His father had warned him to walk with God. God had even visited him! He saw the blessing or miracle of God on his life. Yet, he sinned greatly. He went after other gods.
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 sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (NASB) 1 Kings 11:1-4
Today many Christians would admire this man and probably place him in church leadership. They would point out that he built the temple for God. Many would say he was a man of God. All that one needed was to look at how God had blessed him with wealth and fame. Now that was the blessing of God on his life, but it does not prove a man’s heart is right before God. Many would say to just forgive him for his “womanizing” and false doctrine and let him continue to minister. But God was not pleased with him and planned to end his ministry! God sets a high standard for leaders. God did the same thing to Moses after Moses disobeyed by striking the rock twice (Numbers 20). God ended his ministry and did not let him enter the Promised Land. We must be careful and avoid a wrong concept of “Christ’s love.”
Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.” (NASB) 1 Kings 11:9-11
Lessons For Us
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon. It was written near the end of his life and describes his search for meaning in life. It reveals the fact that Solomon for awhile was not walking with God. How could this be? How could such a tremendously wise man, a man who wrote scripture (Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes), a man who built the temple of God go wrong? We could guess that, “He did not listen to his father’s instruction.” We could say, “It was his wealth and fame!” The right answer is “his wives turned his heart away.” That is what scripture says (1 Kings 11:4). Here is a key spiritual truth for us. Those whom we spend time with can change our heart’s attitude toward God. They can cause our heart to drift away from Him, and then God may discipline us. Our spouse will affect our relationship with God! Solomon drifted away from God like a boat drifts away from a harbor of safety out into the rough sea. Was he an Old Testament saint or was he lost? But it appears from Eccl. 12:13-15 that Solomon realized his boat was out at sea and finally returned his boat to the harbor before he died. That is when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Here is his conclusion.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Scripture makes it clear that true Christians continue in the faith.
Solomon drifted away from the Lord because of his wives. That is a warning to those who are considering marriage to an unbelieving man or woman. He eventually returned to God, but God had removed blessing from his life. The loss of blessing would not be undone. He had lost the significant blessing of God on his life. He made his decision, and God made His. Scripture seems to reveal that Solomon returned to the Lord. I believe we will see him in heaven. Praise God for his mercy and faithfulness even when we are not faithful. The life of Solomon is a great reminder that God wants our hearts. Our wisdom, our Bible knowledge, our wealth, our fame, our wife/husband, our “whatever it is” is not what God is interested in. He wants your heart! He wants your love! He wants you to want Him! We must guard our hearts. How can we do that? Here are several keys: 1) read His Word, 2) pray daily, 3) confess your sins, 4) submit your will to the Holy Spirit, and 5) surround yourself with godly Christians – wise Christians whose lives have a heart passion for God. Ask God to show you who they are!