One of the very first facts that I learned from my mentor and professor in leadership Dr. Bobby Clinton who had done extensive research on leadership (including leaders in the Bible) and published many books on the topic is this: Only 1 out of every 3 leaders finish well.
To illustrate this point in his leadership 101 classes, he would count off the class into threes and have only 1 in every 3 students stand while the rest are seated. Then he would simply declare that only those standing will finish well and rest of them will hit some sort of barrier that impedes them that would cause them to falter.
As we continue in our Bible Learning journey this week, we will see this point illustrated very clearly in the life of Solomon.
His father King David had reached the end of his journey. And though David had his share of failures and missteps which had their own negative consequences, we see that towards the end, with the help of timely intervention by the prophet Nathan and his wife Bathsheba, he somehow managed to take care of business making Solomon the next king.
King Solomon started out very well. He is most known for asking the Lord for wisdom in order that he may govern over the people wisely. This pleased the Lord and and so he obtained not only wisdom but also wealth and honor (1 Kings 3:4-15). And we are given glimpses into his wisdom in the case of his wise ruling on babies of the two women and when the Queen of Sheba visited him.
He also was able to build upon the success of his father and carry out some major accomplishments of his own:
- He builds the temple per instructions left by David
- He builds his palace
- He brings the Ark of the Covenant to the temple
- He dedicates the temple to the Lord
And in the process of all this, we see that he had accumulated great wealth as per the Lord’s promise to him.
However as we read the last chapter of his life (1 Kings 11), we see him succumb to his weakness and desire for women causing him to be snared into the worship of the foreign gods. This dis-pleases the Lord. The Lord had already appeared to Solomon and warned him that if he or the generations after him worshiped foreign gods the kingdom would be taken away from his descendants (1 Kings 9:4-9). And so now because of his disobedience, the Lord will have to cause the kingdom of Israel to be taken away from his descendants. However for the sake of David the Lord doesn’t take away the entire kingdom but only ten of the tribes (1 Kings 11:34-39).
So unfortunately we do not have a happy ending with respect to Solomon’s reign because he did not finish well. But praise be to God that the biblical narrative is not about humanity’s ability to finish well or not. Rather this is about God who is faithful to His people no matter what.
Even though Solomon’s story did not end well, we know today that God preserved the descendants of David through all the ups and down so that Jesus, our Savior was born through the line of David so that He may die for us, be resurrected and now reign forever as the King of kings and Lord of lords. And this kingdom which you and I are part of will last forever and forever and can never be taken away by any of our failures to finish well.
And now for you to explore a bit about Solomon and his wisdom as seen in the Proverbs on your own, here is the info for you to embark on this journey yourself. But first, you may also want to take a quick look at this short video on the book of Proverbs by The Bible Project.
King Solomon of Israel asks and receives wisdom to rule God’s people and accomplishes great things but does not finish well.
Weekly Reading Plan
And here is the weekly plan to help plan your reading for the week
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule to read through the life of Solomon and also the book of Proverbs.
- Read John 2:19-22 and meditate on the significance of Jesus words when he refers to Himself as the temple.
- Read Daniel 7:13-14 where he describes the kingdom that will never be destroyed. How can this give us hope today?
- Optional: Read Psalms 40-42
And that is it for week 14!
Happy Bible Learning!