In reading through 1 Kings again, I am reminded that Solomon’s life and experience was astounding, by any standard of measurement. When the Lord told David that, even though it was a good thing that he had it in his heart to build a temple, he would not be allowed to because of his history of bloody wars in battle. It would be Solomon who would complete the task David began. So Solomon replaces David as king.
As a result, when Solomon asked God for wisdom to be a proper king, God gave him that and much more. The beginning chapters of 1 Kings reflects Solomon’s beginnings and extravagant kingdom. When you offer a formal sacrifice of 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep in one single sacrifice, you can begin to grasp the extravagant extent of Solomon’s reign and wealth. Reading 1 Kings chapters 1-10 reflects this in an overview of specifics to show how exceedingly great Solomon’s life and kingdom were.
Scripture also tells us that he wrote 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. People came widely to hear his famous lectures on trees and animal life. His wisdom exceeded all men past, present and future, and is credited as being the wisest man who ever lived. “The wisdom of Solomon” is now an enduring proverb that simply means someone is exceedingly wise.
But when you finish reading the first 10 chapters, you come to the word BUT; that is the first word in 1 Kings 11. BUT Solomon loved many foreign women. What? Say it ain’t so!, as the old saying goes. No, no, please Solomon, why did you go there? Why did you not keep taking heed to God’s word and heritage that had come through your father, David? Seven hundred wives and 300 concubines? And we are supposed to believe the more modern interpretation that Song of Solomon is his faithful love narrative for his bride? I don’t believe for a moment that the Song of Songs is about marital romance, but about Christ and the church.
Be that as it may, one of the enduring and most important lessons we can draw from Solomon is that there is nothing on this earth that insures persevering in the faith except one thing. Solomon had every personal benefit– a godly father, a godly heritage, phenomenal opportunity, the highest position, extreme wealth, and wisdom from God that no one else was ever given. He was the single man in the earth that led the true people of God, Israel.
Yet none of it kept Solomon from departing from the living God. The only assurance of continuing to go on with God in faith is to go on with God. Going on with God is the only genuine and final evidence of truly persevering in the faith. Continuing to love and walk with Christ is the only evidence that you love and walk with Christ now. The only proof and certainty of election and being a child of God is true perseverance in the faith to the end. Our perseverance in the faith is not what keeps us saved–it is proof and evidence of being saved.
Was Solomon truly saved? It seems, unlike Saul the first king of Israel, that he was. God told David at the end of his life that He would not remove his love from Solomon, as he did from Saul. God’s certain promise of his love for Solomon continued. Yet his end was not exemplary. Some mystery remains about how Solomon can begin so good and end not so good. But there is no mystery about one thing. Running well spiritually to the end is the only goal any believer should have. And we cannot presume on the past–our spiritual heritage, experience, knowledge, wealth, position in life or ministry, or even relationships–we cannot presume that any of those things are proof of a healthy spiritual life. Nor can we presume that anything that is earthly can insure our perseverance in the faith. Going on with God to the end of life means enduring to the end. And Jesus said those are the only ones who will ultimately prove to be saved.
— Mack Tomlinson