OBSERVATION: It is not how fast you run the race…it’s how well you finish! Do you remember the old fable of the tortoise and the hare? They both set out on a race. The hare was laughing at the prospects of racing a tortoise. Why, he could run laps around the old boy, have lunch, take a nap, and still win any race on any course. Yet, it was this presumption, this pride, this self assurance that caused the hare to stumble. While the hare was easily distracted, the tortoise simply stayed on his course, slow and steady – and you know…he finished well!
Solomon was the wisest man who ever walked the face of this earth. When you read about his wisdom, when you count the glory and richness of his kingdom, there was no one who ever paralleled him before, nor has there been any since. It was Solomon that warned his son in Proverbs about the trap of lust. It was Solomon that warned us all about the trap of pride. And yet, in the end, it was both lust and pride that was the downfall of this great man. It began with a false sense of his own importance. It continued with a neglect of the very wisdom he had imparted. It came to life through a life of uncontrolled personal lust and desire. And it bore the final fruits of idolatry that ultimately would cost him the kingdom.
- “King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter. He loved Hittite women and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon. They came from the nations about which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “Never intermarry with them. They will surely tempt you to follow their gods.” But Solomon was obsessed with their love. He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 wives who were concubines.” (1 Kings 11:1-3 GW)
King Solomon allowed his love for the Word of God, his love for the Wisdom of God, to be crowded out by his love for foreign women. Solomon knew the commandments of the Lord. He knew that the Lord said “Never intermarry with them.” Yet, the enemy convinced Solomon, in all his wisdom, that he was different, that he could manage these desires, that he could do what no man before him was able to do, and what he had warned his son about. Solomon believed he could take fire into his bosom and not be burned. What Solomon learned is that even the mighty can fall.
I love that the Scriptures never hide the flaws of those who walked before us in faith. It shows these patriarchs in both their moments of wonderful obedience and devotion to the Lord, as well as in the depths of their own personal failure and despair. We see David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, and here we see Solomon’s failure in the closing days of his reign. Why is this so important for us? God recorded all of these account in their entirety so that we could learn from their mistakes and avoid these common pitfalls of life.
What a wonder of God’s grace! He loves us so much that He warns us, calls us, implores us – to walk according to His Word, empowered by His Grace, filled and directed by His Spirit!
Listen to Solomon’s very words. Oh, that he would have remembered them. Oh, that we might grab ahold of them with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Oh, that we might stay on the course of walking daily with Jesus, in the fear of the Lord – so that we might all run the race to win and finish well!
- “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression. The mind of a person who has understanding searches for knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on stupidity. Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better to have a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil. Better to have a dish of vegetables where there is love than juicy steaks where there is hate.” (Proverbs 15:13-17 GW)
It is not our position in life that matters – it is our position in Christ! Solomon had it all, and lost it all. Lord, help me to hold on to only You!
In Jesus Name!