Did you know that the man who is arguably the wisest and wealthiest man in history had literally everything that he could’ve ever desired…yet at the end realized it was all for nothing? Stick around and we’ll talk about it. Here on five minutes of truth.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Bible is its collection of people. To say that the Bible includes people from all walks of life is the height of understatement.
From kings to con men…harlots to holy women. From fishermen to priests and murderers to the Messiah. One of the reasons these 2-5 thousand year old stories resonate with us today is because we see God’s redemptive and miraculous works played out in the lives of people just like ourselves. With the same foibles, weaknesses and problems we have as well.
We see over and again that God’s love for us is not predicated on what we do or who we are but on Who He is and what He’s done. We cannot earn His love…neither can we do anything to make Him stop loving us. It is an extraordinary book.
Perhaps one of the most interesting people described in God’s Word is a guy whose name is recognizable, but whose story is often unknown. I’m talking about King David’s son, Solomon. A fascinating person and an even more fascinating story. Even his birth stands as a testament to God’s grace and mercy.
We are all, I hope, aware of Solomon’s father, David, and his terrible actions regarding an adulterous relationship. David engaged in an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the wife of one of David’s most loyal soldiers. After she became pregnant, David conspired to and arranged for the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, in order to hide his sin…and marry Bathsheba.
After David was confronted with his actions by his priest, David immediately repented. But there were to be terrible consequences. David was told that turmoil would engulf his family throughout his reign…and he was told that the child Bathsheba was carrying would die. David prayed for the best, but the child did, in fact, die.
It would be easy to conclude that this was the act of a vengeful God…but that would not be completely correct. David and Bathsheba would have another child…and that child was Solomon. Solomon would go on to do extraordinary things: Serve as a wise king and build the first Jewish Temple in existence. God showed grace and mercy by blessing David and Bathsheba with an amazing child.
And who was Solomon? It is safe to say that there has not been his equal in wisdom and wealth in the history of the world. Not long after securing his position as king, God spoke to Solomon and made an amazing offer. Simply stated, God said to Solomon: “Ask! What shall I give you.” What person would not long to hear the God of the universe tell us He will give us anything that we want?
Realizing the gravity of what it means to lead a nation, Solomon said that he had a lot of stuff…but what he really needed and desired…was wisdom. Solomon said: “give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.” God was so pleased with his answer, that along with wisdom, God would also bless Solomon with material things beyond measure and assured Solomon that: “there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” Amazing statements from a holy God.
And God was true to His word. Solomon’s wisdom became the talk of the known world. People would travel great distances to sit in his court and hear the pronouncements of his judgment. He has been designated by many as probably the wealthiest person who has ever lived on this planet. His early reign was marked with prosperity, peace and growth. Whereas his father David wanted to build the first Jewish temple, Solomon actually accomplished this amazing feat.
However, he was also just a person. Subject to the same shortcomings as any other person. And surrounded by so much opulence, it was inevitable that he would make his possessions and his power the central focus of his life, rather than his relationship with God.
As Solomon depended more and more on his riches and his power, he drifted further and further from God. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines and they succeeded in turning “his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.” This abandonment of God led to rebellions and ultimately the division of the Jewish kingdom.
And it led Solomon to write this: Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold any pleasure from my heart. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun”.
The richest and most wise man in the world that accomplished what most will never do. And it was all for nothing…because it led him from God. God blesses us with a lot of neat stuff. He does. Jobs, cars, homes and money. But He does that so that we will see that any pursuit of those things outside of Him…is for nothing. He does it to show us He is the only thing we truly need…and everything else? Well…that’s gravy. He is the true desire of our heart. How cool is that?
On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at Growth Project, keep reading God’s Word.
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project with Robert Houghton after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in Winter Haven, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.