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Have you ever thought about King Solomon’s heart? I hadn’t until recently when I was asked to give a talk about Solomon’s errors in life, and what we can learn from them. Ever since then I have been thinking about Solomon’s life, and it is a complicated one.

Growing up I would attend Sunday School, and it seems, at least once a year I would hear the story of Solomon asking God for wisdom, and the teachers would tell us students that it was a wonderful thing that Solomon asked for and that we should be like Solomon and ask God to make us wise.

Considering Solomon’s foolish ways toward the end of his life, one naturally is prone to ask, “Hey Solomon, what happened? You started out wise and ended up a dummy.”

My initial answer to that question, is that when God asked Solomon what he wanted, he should have said he wanted a heart that would be dedicated to God and follow him all the days of his life. While wisdom is important, whole hearted devotion to God is sublime.

The story of Solomon asking God for wisdom is found in two places in the Bible, in 1 Kings 3, and 2 Chronicles 1. I think the Sunday School version is from 2 Chronicles because in verse 10 Solomon specifically says, “Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead your people.”

In the 1 Kings account, Solomon doesn’t specifically ask for wisdom. Instead he talks to God about his father David, who had a righteous and upright heart, and then Solomon asks God in verse 9 to “give your servant a discerning heart”. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and responded to him in verse 12 saying, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart.”

Following this encounter with God we see examples of Solomon’s wisdom:

Two women have a dispute over a baby and Solomon says, “Cut the child in two and give half to each women (1 Kings 3:16-27)

He spoke 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32)

From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 4:34)

He builds the temple (1 Kings 6)

He dedicates the temple saying, “You keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue whole heartedly in your way.”

Martin Luther said that if someone came knocking on his heart and asked who lived there, he would say, “Not Martin Luther, but the Lord Jesus Christ.” I think that at this point in Solomon’s life, that if we went knock – knocking on the door of Solomon’s heart and asked who lived there, he would say, “Not Solomon, but the Lord God Almighty.”

Let’s fast forward to 1 Kings chapter 11, toward the end of Solomon’s life. Verse 4 tells us that as Solomon grew old, his (700) wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of his father David had been.

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomom to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. (9,10)

If someone were to knock on Solomon’s heart at this stage of his life, and asked him who lived there, I wonder what the wisest mortal who ever lived would have said. Maybe, “Solomon the mighty lives here.” Or “Solomon the wise” or “Solomon the great”. Whatever it would have been, it would not have been “the Lord God Almighty.”

How tragic. How depressing. How did it happen? It makes me think that if this happened to the wisest person who ever lived, a man that God appeared to twice, what hope is there for me? What hope is there for any of us?

It helps me to consider the words of Jesus from Matthew 18:3-4, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I find it hard to see Solomon taking the lowly position of a child. I find it hard to imagine him humbling himself to serve like Jesus served, or to wash feet like Jesus did. I see his great “wisdom” leading him to be arrogant, haughty and proud, and in the end his Godly wisdom became the wisdom of the world, which as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 is foolishness. In the end, his heart became hard toward the things of God.

So what about us. What do we say when someone comes knocking on our heart, asking “Who lives here?”

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9,10

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