In reading today’s chapters, it is hard not to come away discouraged. We know Solomon to be the wisest, most prosperous king that ever lived. The Lord himself appeared to him (see chapter 9) with a clear promise that God would establish Solomon’s lineage if he followed God with integrity.
In chapter 10 we see the extent of wisdom and wealth given to Solomon when the queen of Sheba travels a great distance to learn from him. Solomon surely knew the source of his abundance. Yet, all this was still not enough. He takes foreign wives and then follows their gods, rejecting God’s bountiful provision.
We then meet Jeroboam, who also receives a direct word from God that he would be greatly blessed if he followed the Lord. But Jeroboam begins to fear that God will not honor his promise, and he builds two golden calves for the people to worship so that they will remain loyal to him (1 Kings 12:26-28).
Like Solomon and Jeroboam, we turn to other gods when we think God will not come through. We believe the lie that God is not really for us, that it is up to us to make sure our needs are met. We often think that if we had clearer vision, if the provision were obvious, that we would not so easily fall prey to the lie. Can you imagine provision much more obvious than Solomon’s wealth, or much clearer than Jeroboam’s word from the prophet? Yet, here they are, like us, forgetting the character and provision of God over and over again.
How then is there hope for us? We do not have to look farther than the manger in Bethlehem. The three wise men came, like the queen of Sheba, to offer gifts of gold and fine spices (1 Kings 10:2; Matt. 2:11). But unlike her, they came to see the one who is the perfect King, for “behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42). He is the King who will redeem the failures of Solomon and indeed all of our sin and shortcomings. We hope because we too have access to this perfect King.
Psalm 72 is written by David as a blessing over Solomon but points to the greater Solomon, the reign of the Messiah:
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day!
May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!
May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
So we hear with gladness God’s word for us through Peter in Acts, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19). We repent of our idolatrous hearts and turn again to the one who is the King of Kings, who loved us enough to humble himself in the form of a babe in a manger that led to a cross. Our greater King Solomon reigns as the perfect King who is the anchor for the hope of our souls. He is worthy of all our praise!