A King Whose Heart Turned

Bible Focus: 1 Kings 1-11

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask. What should I give you?”

And Solomon replied, “You have shown great and faithful love to your servant, my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, righteousness, and integrity. You have continued this great and faithful love for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. LORD my God, you have now made your servant king in my father David’s place. Yet I am just a youth with no experience in leadership. Your servant is among your people you have chosen, a people too many to be numbered or counted. So give your servant a receptive heart to judge your people and to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of yours?”

Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had requested this. So God said to him, “Because you have requested this and did not ask for long life or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies, but you asked discernment for yourself to administer justice, I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again. In addition, I will give you what you did not ask for: both riches and honor, so that no king will be your equal during your entire life. If you walk in my ways and keep my statutes and commands just as your father David did, I will give you a long life.”

1 Kings 3:5-14 CSB

If you type “Where are they now?” into a web browser, you’ll find plenty of stories on formerly famous people who are no longer in the public eye. Some are simply not as popular as they used to be. Others have switched into careers that are less public. Many of them have gone on to live meaningful yet fairly normal lives.

But then there are the heartbreaking stories of those who had so much promise but who went astray. Maybe they got caught up in a scandal. Perhaps they made selfish financial decisions. Maybe they fell to substance abuse or even committed criminal acts. Whatever the tragic reasons, there is a sense that they could have had so much more if they had made better choices.

All of us make sinful choices, and fortunately God forgives all those choices when we believe the good news of Jesus. However, our choices still have consequences, and our relationship with God is no exception. When we trust God and strive to obey him, we move closer to God and our relationship with him thrives. But when we avoid God and disobey him without remorse, we move away from God and our relationship with him suffers.

Our choices still have consequences, and our relationship with God is no exception.

King David, Israel’s second king, was chosen by God as “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 15:14 CSB). God loved David and eventually blessed him with victory over his enemies and the undisputed kingship over all of Israel. David wanted to build a temple for God, but God told him no. God said that David’s descendant would build God a temple instead.

After David died, the throne passed to Solomon his son. Solomon’s claim to the throne was soon settled beyond dispute. However, young Solomon had his hands full trying to govern the people. When God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him to make a request, Solomon asked God for discernment. God was pleased with Solomon’s request, and promised that Solomon would receive a discerning mind like no one else.

Solomon went on to become Israel’s wisest and richest king. Under his rule, Israel enjoyed more peace and prosperity then they had ever known. Solomon built a beautiful and marvelous temple dedicated to God, and God was pleased. God appeared to Solomon again, urging him to remain faithful and not turn to other gods.

When Solomon finished building the temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all that Solomon desired to do, the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time just as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The LORD said to him: I have heard your prayer and petition you have made before me. I have consecrated this temple you have built, to put my name there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there at all times. As for you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, with a heart of integrity and in what is right, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and ordinances, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. If you or your sons turn away from following me and do not keep my commands—my statutes that I have set before you—and if you go and serve other gods and bow in worship to them, I will cut off Israel from the land I gave them, and I will reject the temple I have sanctified for my name. Israel will become an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples.

1 Kings 9:1-7 CSB

Unfortunately, in his later years, Solomon turned away from God. He decided to take many wives, including those who worshipped other gods. His love for his wives turned his heart away from God, and he built places for them to sacrifice to these other gods. This angered God, and he told Solomon that as a result of Solomon’s betrayal, God would tear most of the kingdom away from Solomon’s son and give it to one of his servants.

Here’s the good news: God will never disown those of us who believe in him, and he always shows us mercy when we admit our sin and turn back to him. However, he will not be pleased if we ignore his instruction and refuse to repent of our sinful behavior. No matter how much we may stumble in sin, we must not turn away from God. He did not send Jesus to die for our sin so that we could then go wallow in our sin. He sent Jesus to die for our sin so that we would be set free to live for God.

Featured image from Chad Peltola on Unsplash.

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