In our OT passage the Queen of Sheba rightly sees that with a king like Solomon, the people couldn't help but be happy. How much more should we be joyful, who have a much greater King than Solomon! When we are not happy, or do not feel priviledged or favoured, it is because we have forgotten who our King is, what His kingdom is (and will be) like, and the priviledge of belonging to it. We may not be guaranteed earthly wealth, but the treasure awaiting us in heaven will make all earthly treasure pale in comparison. We must never forget how priviledged we are to serve a King such as ours! This doesn't mean our circumstances will always be wonderful, happiness due to circumstances is only superficial anyway. It means we can always be joyful, no matter our circumstances, because of who our King is, and because of our faith in His coming perfect and eternal kingdom.
Unfortunately, Solomon begins to forget this himself, despite all his wisdom. The Bible never shies away from brutal honesty about the lives of its greatest heroes, and Solomon is no exception. Yes, he was wiser and richer than anyone in the world, but he allowed his wives and their idol worship to turn his heart away from being fully devoted to God. And by the time of his death, he had managed to seal the doom of his kingdom due to his own foolishness and sensuality.
How could such a wise man become so foolish? How could He become so careless of the Lord's favour and God's law? It is clear from the rest of the OT and NT that Solomon was repentant and died a believer, but how tragic is the second half of his reign!
There are a few reasons for this deterioration in Solomon's spiritual life. First, he became willing to compromise with secular culture when he married more than one woman (against God's specific command to kings), and specifically married Canaanite women, all for political advantage. We need to remember not to allow the ordinary thinking and behaviour of our culture to become acceptable to us as believers. We cannot compromise on things the Bible clearly forbids.
In Solomon's case the lure of the culture was strengthen by the lusts of the flesh. The sin of promiscuity has many serious consequences - Solomon (and his children) did not escape them, and neither will we, if we give in to temptation.
And, like the lyrics in the Casting Crowns song, it was a slow fade. Solomon didn't go from righteous living to idol worship in a day. It happened in small steps, one after another, each one getting progressively worse. What started off as amassing horses and wealth against God's law, eventually became full out idol worship. First horses, then gold, than many wives, then idol worship. It was a slow fade. We need to be so careful that we don't start justifying small sins to ourselves and allow them to lead us so far in the wrong direction that we no longer know where we are. Our spiritual lives are subject to the law of decline - if we want to remain spiritual strong, we need to be proactive about it!
In our NT passage we see very clearly that Jesus does not promise earthly riches to those who follow Him. There is no prosperity gospel in the NT.
I always love the stories of Jesus calming the storms - it would have been absolutely amazing to be there and witness such an amazing miracle.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Kings 12-13; Matthew 9:1-17