Have you ever wondered how Solomon, after having been given the gift of wisdom by God, could turn out to be so dumb?
As a young man, Solomon had been offered the gift of whatever he might choose when it came time for him to take over the throne after his father, King David, died, and it pleased God that he chose wisdom to rule as king instead of wealth or power that he could have chosen, so God gave him wisdom, as well as wealth and power. In fact, in his day, there was none wiser or wealthier. He was visited and admired by kings and queens of nations far and near. He was also awarded with peace during his entire reign, although all hell broke loose as soon as he died.
That was because in his wealth, Solomon also acquired over a thousand wives and concubines, many of whom were foreign women from the surrounding Canaanite nations that Israel had conquered — nations that God had ordered them to completely destroy and forbid them to marry. The reason for that soon became obvious. These women had their own idols from their own traditions that they wanted to continue to worship, so Solomon let them have their idols. He even built them shrines and joined them in offering sacrifices to these detestable things, and they became a “snare” to him. As a result of this evil, the kingdom was torn apart by his sons as soon as he died, and nothing was ever the same again.
How could someone with so much wisdom be so foolish? The answer actually sheds some light on our spiritual gifts today. As it turned out, Solomon was wise for everyone but himself, which is exactly what happens with the spiritual gifts you and I receive today from the Holy Spirit. Each one of us is gifted in a special way to serve others in the body of Christ, but the gift is only for others, never ourselves. Indeed, we often have weaknesses in the very areas in which we have strength to help others. This is why a person gifted to bring mercy is often plagued with their own guilt. Or a person who always gives wise advice can be so ill advised in their own decisions. Or a person with discernment for others can’t discern what is going on in there own life.
The reason for this, I believe, is that we need each other. In the areas that I am gifted, I need someone else to give to me. It’s all in how we are interrelated in the body of Christ. Be aware today of those you need in order to move forward in your growth in Christ. Don’t assume that because of your gifts you are strong. Quite the opposite is probably more the case. It’s the way He works in and through us. We all need each other. No man is an island.
There is one more thing about Solomon I want to point out today. Solomon’s descendants had to pay greatly for his sin. But there are three very important words in God’s declaration concerning this that convey the mercy of God in spite of the consequences of wrongdoing. It things like this that remind us of the kind of God that we have. These are three very important words of grace. “But I will punish the descendants of David because of Solomon’s sin — though not forever” (1 Kings 11:39).
“… though not forever.” Sweet words indeed.