A Tale of Two Kings
(Contrast between Solomon and David)
Solomon, the Compromising King
The life of Solomon could be titled, “A man who began right and ended up wrong.” As a young man, his dependency upon the Lord is expressed in (1Kings 3:9) when he requests of God “an understanding heart to judge thy people…”
Solomon’s prayer, upon the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8:22-62), is one of the most beautiful and moving prayers in the entire Bible, revealing a heartfelt desire to love, obey and serve his God.
However, the opening verses of 1Kings chapter eleven reveal a weakness in Solomon’s heart, “But king Solomon loved many strange women…” (vs.1); the wisest king unwisely yielded to his flesh, beginning a downward spiral. Prosperity, power and pride led to, promiscuity, vanity, and vexation of spirit.”
The road to compromise is not a sudden steep dip but rather a gradual decline beginning with “Admiration” which leads to “Association” resulting in “Relationship” and finally “Involvement.” Such was the case of Solomon’s obsession with women and the things of this world (1 Kings 11:1-8).
Consider Solomon’s attitude toward the temporal things of this world in the latter stages of his estrangement from the Lord:
“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.” (Eccl. 2:10).
“Then I looked upon all the works that my hands had wrought and all the labour that I had labored to do: and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Eccl. 2:11).
There were three things that Israel’s Kings were commanded not to do, (Deut.17:16-17); and one thing they were to do every day (Deut. 17:19). Solomon disobeyed all four!
“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing…” (Prov.13:7) Solomon.
Solomon violated the first and greatest of all God’s commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matt.22:37). He had everything except that which is most essential, an abiding relationship with God. Although he had all the world’s riches he was “…not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21).
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…” (Rom.15:4).
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth TAKE HEED lest he fall.” (1 Cor.10:11-12). [Emphasis mine].
The fact that the wisest man that ever lived was overtaken by his flesh should be ample warning that we are to “have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). “…the battle is the LORD’S” (1 Sam.17:47); beyond “the power that worketh in us” (Eph.3:20) we are helpless to live the Christian life.
Obviously, Solomon’s heart was not right toward God; he didn’t fear the LORD as did his father David. Job 28:8 states, “…the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Solomon’s understanding didn’t exempt him from deception and error; even though he was aware of his sin, unlike his father, he lacked “godly sorrow” and failed “to depart from evil.” Lack of “the fear of the Lord” was the blind spot in Solomon’s wisdom; so then, so now. Solomon’s attitude typifies the carnal Christian, the “thorny ground” in the “Parable of the Sower.” He is a perfect type of the believer who knows what he should do yet doesn’t do it. (James 4:17).
Guard your Heart
“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, CHOKE THE WORD, and it becometh unfruitful.”(Mark 4:18-19) [Emphasis mine].
Our natural inclination is to desire things outside God’s will, whether “the lusts of the flesh”, “the lust of the eyes” or “the pride of life” all that is of “this present evil world” “is not of the Father.” (1 John 2:16).
These self-destructive desires are often camouflaged by self-deceit, especially when they involve personal ambition and self-glorification. Many times that which we desire is not what God wants for us; when we finally get it we find that it has enslaved us. We end up serving it instead of God…to our great loss. ANYTHING that keeps us away from God becomes an “idol” in the heart. (Ezek.14:1-5).
David a king after God’s own heart.
Compare David’s heart attitude with Solomon’s: “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” (Ps.119:36-37).
“O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”(Ps.119:97).
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Ps.119:103).
“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (Ps.119:111).
“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” (Ps.119:72).
Fortunate to have misfortune
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire…” (1 Peter 1:7).
While Solomon was the privileged son a great king who only knew peace and prosperity David was hunted like an animal and relentlessly persecuted by Saul and others, (Ps.56:1, 57:1, 59:1, 55:5, 102:1). David suffered and yet remained faithful he was tried and proven, (Ps.119:67, 71, & 75). Patient endurance during times of hardship and suffering is a normal part of the Christian life, the cost of following Christ, our example.
Hebrews 2:10 states that Jesus was made “perfect through sufferings” compare (Heb.5:8-9) “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered…” The Christian who suffers nothing learns nothing.
“We are never closer to Christ than when we are suffering for His sake.” (Phip.3:9-10).
“David is an example of one who many times failed at personal holiness, yet constantly strove to be right with God (Ps.51). This attitude is what set him apart from so many others…including his own son Solomon.” David typifies the “spiritual believer”…“the good ground” (“a good and honest heart”) in the “Parable of the Sower.”
It was David’s heart attitude toward God and His word which defined his life; due to this attribute David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
When anything other than God and His word has our hearts, we fall out of fellowship with Him; a separation occurs, communication and illumination ceases, leaving us to the darkness of our own ways, our own thoughts, and hearts. As a result, our sorrows are multiplied.
“Whatever we are afraid to release possesses us.” Chapin
Some of life’s profoundest regrets stem from shortsighted priorities, misplaced affections. When we finally obtain our worldly desires or our personal ambitions are realized, we find them empty and unfulfilling. “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Ps.106:15).
Regret is intensified by the realization that, in the pursuit of the temporal, we sacrificed the eternal; that which really mattered. We must be very careful that today’s priorities don’t become tomorrow’s regrets.
Growth Pains, the Struggle of Letting Go.
We have all heard the popular expression among body builders, “No pain no gain.” The key principle behind body building involves stretching the muscles by pushing against measured resistance; overcoming the constraints and protests of the flesh.
The same applies to spiritual growth: “In order to gain something worthwhile in the future you must expend or sacrifice something in the present.”
One of the primary growing pains of Christianity is not so much physical but psychological, an internal struggle involving two diverse natures.
The mind is the battlefield and the death of self-life is God’s objective. Self-sacrifice (putting God and others first); is something which grates the “old man” to no end. Because the center of the natural man is “self” he will immediately rebel against any form of self-denial and strongly resist self-discipline.
Surrender is another difficult aspect of spiritual development, which the flesh greatly abhors. Letting go, that is, renouncing and refraining from any and all pleasure, pursuit or ambition which interferes with our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one area where balance won’t do; the heart scale must decidedly and consistently tilt in favor of the things of the Lord.
The word of God is unequivocal on this point, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth.” (Col.3:2).
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt.6:24).
The great Laodicean deception of the day declares the believer’s right to have the best of both worlds. (Come to Jesus and you will have health, wealth, and happiness).
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15).
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…” (Matt.22:37).
It is impossible to “…be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use” while having one foot in this world and the other in heaven; make no mistake about it; God will NOT tolerate divided affections! “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8).
“…choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15)
“Our greatest enemy is the one we fail to understand.”