Success and Failure in the Life of Solomon

The Bible
The Bible
By Abigail WuJuly 15th, 2020

Recently, in the Wechat Account Morning Prayer”, Pastor Zhang Zhongqiu gave a sermon on Solomon in the series “Victory in the Workplace. The sermon was based on I Kings Chapters 3-11. His sermon focused on how Solomon dealt with loss and success.

Solomon is credited with writing three different books in the Old Testament. Song of Songs was written in his youth when he was at his simplest, fully devoted to his lover and God. When he reached middle and old age, he lusted after beauty and his wives turned his heart towards other gods. Then he wrote the book of Proverbs to warn young men far away from adultery. In his old age, he wrote Ecclesiastes, summing up the wisdom of life.

He shared the following three points.

1. Solomon did not lose himself in the pursuit of success but instead sought wisdom.

We all long for the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with the problems of our work. But the pastor said we must first become like Solomon.

Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David. 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. (1 Kings 3:3-4)

Solomon was a person who loved God. Externally, he walked according to the instructions from God. Internally, he had a wonderful closeness with God, worshipping Him often. So when the Lord appeared to him, he asked for wisdom to govern the people and to distinguish between right and wrong. God gave him riches, honor and a long life, all things that he had not requested. Because he worried about whether he could be a good king and bring blessing to the people, he asked God for a discerning heart. He was not thinking of his own greatness, but of the expansion of the kingdom of God and seeing the righteousness of God done, which pleased Him very much.

We are not like him. We are selfish and don’t love God as we should, but are always following our own self-interest. Then God can’t give more wisdom to us. Before Him, we should seek for success with the correct purpose. We can’t use God to pursue success nor see our success as our own. Our heart should be very simple, and with a love for God we work hard to glorify Him.

But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 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 people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)

When we deal with the problems of our family, work and service in the church, we can humbly say to God as Solomon did: “I am only a little child. Pity me and give me a discerning heart.” A wise God will hear the cry of his children and surely give grace to us.


2).Solomon lusted after beautiful women, worshipped idols and became lost in his success.

Solomon had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. (1 Kings 11:3-5)

In his middle and old age, he lusted after beautiful women and they turned his heart after other gods, which led to a decline in his spiritual life, internal and external trouble, and a loss in success.        

No matter how strong you are, how many blessings God has given you, if you sin and lose your way, sin will destroy your blessings, which is the devil’s device. Solomon was the strongest king in the history of Israel, but sin split his kingdom in two. It is terrible that the devil uses the cravings and lust of our eyes to destroy our spiritual life.

When we are successful, we are more likely to turn away from God, sin and fall down than when we have not been successful. So we should be more careful if we are successful. Here is an example to follow: After Jesus had performed the miracles of the five loaves and two fishes, others wanted to make him king by force, but he withdrew to the mountain and desert to pray. The more you succeed, the more you should pray and be careful to avoid stealing the glory of God and be proud to be far away from God.

3). In his old age, he came to his senses and reflected on his life.      

In his later years, Solomon repented from his sins and wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as a warning to succeeding generations to avoid becoming lost. This way they can stand before the judgment seat of God.

Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. (Psalms 2:11)

How can you celebrate his rule with trembling? If you fear and tremble, you will be far away from sin and triumph. You have peace when you turn away from sin. Without peace, there is no joy.

At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon reflected and said: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, whether it is good or evil.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) If we drink the water of the world, and seem to be full, maybe we will become more and more corrupt. The pleasures of the world do not really satisfy our hearts. Only when we drink from the well and water that Jesus provides can we have true joy and peace.

-Translated by Abigail Wu


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