It is a sad irony that the kingdom King David built was so short lived. David’s heir, Solomon, followed his father’s path of aggressive empire building, but then Solomon’s own son saw the kingdom rent by civil war. The expansive land and legacy of David and Solomon dwindled into the small nation of Judah consisting of only two of the original twelve tribes. A look at Solomon is a look at the temptation to foolishness even for the wisest among us.
One of the most famous stories about the newly crowned king is the story of God’s gift of wisdom as told in First Kings 3 where the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream: “Ask what I should give you.” The young Solomon answered with wise humility.
Humility is the foundation of greatness and it pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked [for] a wise and discerning mind.
And God gave Solomon great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
He was wiser than anyone else and his fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations.
He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish.
People came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon; they came from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.1 Kings 4
The nation of ancient Israel saw its Golden Era with the reign of Solomon.
But power corrupts, they say, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The heady, expansive kingdom building of the great king Solomon began the cycle that ultimately led to the kingdom’s demise and the crumbling happened within a generation. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was shaped—not by his father’s famous wisdom of the early years—but by the foolishness that infected and infiltrated Solomon’s reign in the later years. The enticements of money, sex, and power have turned the hearts—and the paths—of countless people throughout history, even the wisest among us.
Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle. Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace (pp. 366-375). Resource Publications. Kindle Edition.
Living in The Story readings for Week 32
Image credit: Russian-Church-Icon-King-Solomon.jpg