Journey Through The Scriptures
Lesson 6: Downfall of Solomon
(Scripture to Read: 1 Kings 8:1–66)
Every great man or woman is still an imperfect person, with shortcomings and failures. Even the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived proved to be no exception to this rule. King Solomon knew it was because of God’s blessing and favor that he enjoyed such magnificent wisdom, wealth, and power. But as the years passed, Solomon found it difficult to follow God’s commands as his foreign wives led him into spiritual unfaithfulness. Although many of Solomon’s marriages were no doubt politically motivated, he still felt obligated to please his foreign wives—and that included building altars so they could worship their pagan gods.
God grew angry when Solomon turned his heart away, and sent him a warning of the trouble ahead. This trouble materialized in the form of many adversaries who began to threaten Solomon’s hold on his kingdom. The principal adversary was Jeroboam, an Israelite whom God had selected to receive the bulk of Israel’s kingdom when the nation was torn in two during the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Solomon’s legendary wisdom failed him in his later years as he allowed his heart to be turned away from God—an act that cost his descendants the throne of Israel.
- Why would God forbid His people to intermarry with the people around them?
- How did God demonstrate His faithfulness to His promises even in the midst of pronouncing judgment on Solomon?
- God’s indictment for unfaithfulness takes a very interesting “turn” in verse 33. What does this verse say about the actions of the Israelites as a whole?
- What incredible promise did God make to Jeroboam (vv. 38–39)?
Something to Think About
One lesson we can learn from this study could be summarized this way: Like leader, like people! Solomon’s tolerance of foreign gods, and his encouragement of their worship by building shrines for them, apparently led to unfaithfulness on the nation’s part. Are the people around you being inspired to follow God because of your example or are you turning them away?