Who would have thought that such a flawed man as Solomon would still be revered in the Bible? Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, had a purpose even though he was born out of David’s indiscretion. God did not hold Solomon responsible for the sins of his father, instead assigning him to carry out his father’s work. Solomon’s purpose and legacy was to build the first Temple.
Solomon was dedicated to God and loved God like his father, David. He became King after his father died and after marrying Pharaoh’s daughter in an alliance, he brought her to the City of David. He finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem.
The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord.
3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
Solomon starts by praising God for his loyalty to his father, David, and the extension of that loyalty to him as David’s son.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great person of yours?”
Solomon then asks for discernment and wisdom. Imagine if we all could ask God for anything. Many of us may have asked for enough money to stop working, to be a famous celebrity, or to have a mansion.
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.
God was pleased with Solomon’s request, to the point that he granted him three promises. First, he granted him the wisdom that he requested and the ability to discern the good from the bad.
1 Kings 4:29-34 tells us that God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other people, more than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
The second gift God gave Solomon was wealth and fame, something he did not ask for but elevated his standing and power.
14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. -1 Kings 3:2-15
The third gift God gave Solomon was a conditional one—a long life based on his obedience. After God made these promises, Solomon awoke and realized it had been a dream.
Solomon’s life is one we can all learn from. From his prayer to God to his life. Known as the wisest of men, he went on to have great wealth and influence during his 40-year rule. However, like many of us, Solomon was not fully obedient to God. He had multiple wives, with many of them being foreigners who influenced him to sacrifice to their gods. Because of this disobedience, Solomon is remembered as a very flawed character in the Bible. One who God favored but went on to struggle with his faith.
In thinking about Solomon, we should all think of the things we have asked God for that may not support the type of Christian life we want. Maybe, like Solomon God has given us gifts that we did not use to the best of our ability. Perhaps we have been swayed by others and no longer live by our Christian principles. This is a time to rededicate our lives to Christ.