Day 20 1 Kings 3 ... The Man Who Had Everything

The first half of 1 Kings describes a man who got life handed to him on a silver platter. The favored son of King David and Queen Bathsheba, young Solomon grew up in the royal palace. Early on, the precocious prince astounded others with his talent for songwriting and natural history.

Even God lavished special gifts on Solomon. In an incredible dream sequence, Solomon actually got the opportunity every child secretly longs for. God offered him any wish--long life, riches, anything at all--and when Solomon chose wisdom, God added bonus gifts of wealth, honor, and peace.

A mere teenager when he took over the throne of Israel, Solomon soon became the richest, most impressive ruler of his time. In Jerusalem, silver was as common as stones (10:27). And a fleet of trading ships brought exotica for the king's private collections--apes and baboons from Africa, and ivory and gold by the ton. He was called the wisest man in the world, and kings and queens traveled hundreds of miles to meet him. They went away dazzled by the genius of Israel's king and by the prosperity of his nation.

Israel reached its Golden Age under King Solomon, a shining moment of tranquility in its long, tormented history. Almost all the Promised Land lay in Solomon's domain, and the nation was at peace. Literature and culture flourished. Of the common people, the Bible reports simply that "they ate, they drank and they were happy" (4:20).

Solomon began with every advantage, and at first he served the Lord. But even in the happy days depicted in this chapter, danger signs can be seen. Contrast King David's humble confession before God with Solomon's public spectacle of one thousand burnt offerings. The new king had a penchant for excess that would prove his undoing.

The first verse tells of a shrewd political alliance with Pharaoh of Egypt. Already Solomon was looking to military strength, rather than to God for security. And his passion for foreign-born wives would eventually lead to his downfall. over time, he married princesses from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and other nations--seven hundred wives in all, and three hundred concubines! The entire complexion of the court changed. Eventually, to please his wives, Solomon would take a final, terrible step of building altars to all their gods.

Point to Ponder: : Think of people you know who have many natural abilities--do they tend to use those gifts to serve God?