The Wise, Foolish King

It’s alarming to read that in the latter years of his life, Solomon was drawn away to worship other gods (1 Kings 11:1-8). The text tells us that his love for many foreign women motivated him to build temples to their gods and even participate in their worship.

But that is not the worst of it. God had warned Israel from the very beginning that intermarriage with the Canaanites would lead to an accommodation of their “worship styles,” and eventually into idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).

No, the real surprise is that it was the wisest man in the world who disobeyed that command, and strayed from the one true God who had granted him that wisdom (1 Kings 3:1-14; 4:29-34).

How does the wisest of men become a fool?

The short answer is that just because we have a gift does not mean we will use it, or that we will use it for good. Many of God’s greatest gifts have been bestowed upon those who failed to use them, or used them for evil. Many a brilliant man has used his brightness in a life of crime.

But beyond that is the issue of the heart. Like Solomon, we can know much about God and goodness without applying that knowledge. It’s not a purposeful rebellion, but more of a slow drift, as a boat loosed from its moorings is soon bobbing aimlessly on the open sea.

This is why both Testaments tell us to remain vigilant as well as obedient. Jesus’ disciples discovered the importance of watchfulness when they could not stay awake to pray with Him, for “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Just as it is possible to perish in the wilderness because you don’t consult the compass in your pocket, it is possible to lose our spiritual bearings just by neglecting the Lord and His Word.

Peter put it this way, as his closing words of his second letter: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Let’s stay close to Him. Let’s keep growing in His grace.

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