“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
Because of Solomon’s disobedience and unfaithfulness to the Lord, the Lord tells him that He is going to tear ten of the twelve tribes out of the hand of his son Rehoboam, whom we will meet soon, and give them to his servant Jeroboam – “However, I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
When the prophet Ahijah approaches Jeroboam, he tells him that God is tearing ten tribes away from Solomon and giving them to him because Israel has forsaken the Lord. However, the Lord will give one tribe to Solomon’s son “that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” Then the Lord gives the same promise to Jeroboam that he gave to David and Solomon – “So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.”
When Solomon hears about the promises made to Jeroboam, he tries to kill Jeroboam. So Jeroboam flees to Egypt until the death of Solomon. Solomon dies in today’s reading. Jeroboam will soon return from Egypt now that Solomon is dead, leading us into the Divided Kingdom Era. But first we are going to read one of Solomon’s writings from his later years, the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Now Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest person alive with endless amounts of resources, and he set out to find happiness in the best that the world could offer. Solomon looked for meaning and purpose through wisdom, wealth, accomplishments, labor, pleasure and possessions, and time after time he says it is meaningless, all is vanity.
Solomon makes this statement – “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11).
Solomon is correct! Everything under the sun is fleeting and meaningless apart from a relationship with the Son, Jesus Christ. So where Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun, that is not true for those in Christ, for the Lord is the God of Creation and He makes all things new – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And where Solomon says there is no remembrance of former things nor will there be remembrance of things to come, that is also not true for those in Christ. The Lord is later going to say – “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Nothing can stop the Lord’s plans and purposes, and they will stand the test of time just as we see throughout the Scriptures. So we can rest assured that the vision John has at the end of this story, the vision of the end of times when Jesus will one day return and make all things new, will also come true – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more… And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’” (Revelation 21:1,5-8 ).
This is why Solomon will come to the conclusion at the end of the Book of Ecclesiastes that all things are meaningless apart from the Lord – “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Choosing Christ as your Savior is the difference between life or death. We will all stand before the Lord one day. For those in Christ, you are a new creation and your sins have been paid for by the blood of Jesus. But what account will you give for how you spent your days? Wasting time chasing temporary happiness that the world has to offer, or living a life that is pleasing to the Lord by seeking truth through His word, drawing close to Him in prayer, walking by faith and not by sight, and being a light that shines bright in the darkness of our earthly days.
Keep reading. (1 Kings 11:1-43, 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)