Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Last time I mentioned several questions I was struggling with and talked about David’s position of honor in God’s eyes. I also mentioned that I have a problem with liking Solomon. I don’t like him. I always feel guilty about that, but I think there is quite a bit of evidence that God did not like him either, eventually. So today I wish to discuss this topic in the understanding that I am only sharing what I am thinking, not trying to change your mind about anything; except things in our own lives that depict how we really feel about our God and show others who we think He is.
Therefore I have taken some extra time to study the issues I have by digging into study notes on Solomon in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, as well as some outside study sources and I found a few things that help me understand my own reaction to Solomon.
The first and possibly most important is about how Solomon can be considered such a wise man, when he made so many unwise choices. The study notes indicate that the chronicler (who wrote the Chronicles) tied the wisdom sought and given directly to the building of the temple. David had requested that God give his son Solomon “the whole hearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure (temple) for which I have provided.” Then Solomon answered God’s inquiry as to what he needed and wanted from God with the request to be given “wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people…”
In Kings, the first thing Solomon does is marry the Egyptian Princess; this was a sin, for all leaders of God’s people were forbidden to marry foreigners. Not a wise choice and the roots of his later failure to worship only the one true God. But meanwhile God was with Solomon, giving him the guidance he needed to build the temple to exactly what God wanted it to be.
This reminds me of David and the fact that he was “a man after God’s own heart”, even though He had sinned greatly. He and Solomon both refused to worship any other gods. This was wise. Sources I have read also relate that Solomon “did right in his youth (say, the first 20 years…) and then did evil in his old age. This is not surprising in that he married at least 700 wives and had 300 concubines, all of whom were foreigners in the land and who worshiped other gods. The evil of his later life was that he followed his women into worshiping false gods. He also, apparently, made the northern tribes something like slaves with all the taxes he put upon them to support the Kingdom of Judah and him.
Meanwhile he had followed another of David’s failures in that he did not raise up his sons in the way they should go and they did not go that way. I feel that much of the other three books attributed to Solomon show us that very thing: He tries to show the error of his ways through advice that comes too late. (This is a very personal interpretation, so don’t use it as fact.)
Anyway, my own personal reaction to Solomon is that he was a womanizer. There was a womanizer in my life and I cannot get memories of that out of my mind when I read about Solomon and all his women. Can you even begin to imagine what life was like for those women who fell in love with him (or not) and then were tossed aside as he found new wife after new wife, 1000 times? I am quite overwhelmed by the horrible lust that brought this about. This is not the action of a wise man. But God gave him wisdom and he chose to ignore it in his personal life. Personally, I have done that and still do. That is not a good thing.
This whole story reminds me of a man who was teaching marital counseling and said that when he was asked to counsel anyone thinking of dating or marrying a non-believer he would always ask them to ask themselves this important question: “Is this person drawing me closer to God or further away from Him?” Perhaps considering this question would have helped the wise Solomon to make better choices in life. Perhaps considering that question would help us to make better decisions ourselves, whether about people or activities. All too often we come up with “but” I could be useful to God in this situation. That is wrong. God does not want to use us in situations that are dangerous for us: thus the commandments and laws to keep ourselves clean, and the directions to the Israelites to clean out the country as they moved in, getting rid of the influence of those who worship other gods. And, thus, His directions to us to not be unequally yoked together, whether in life ties or favorite activities.
And, FYI, today is laundry day for me and I do not actually sort my laundry. It all gets put in one load because I am cheap and I do not want to spend the extra money for two loads unless I have some extra household things to wash. Thus, certain items in my laundry come out gray after a few washes. There is a lesson there somewhere. :)
Thanks for listening and I pray that we will all be more aware of the influence our activities and other people have on us so that we may wisely guard ourselves against the corruption of false gods in our own lives. Have a great day.