Solomon was one of the wisest men who ever lived. He is credited with writing three books of the Bible - Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. The stories of his wisdom transcend faith traditions as he is respected beyond Jews and Christians. However, his life serves as more of a cautionary tale for those of us who want to skip the transformational journey and jump right into prosperity.
Solomon is the son of David and has an encounter with God early in his life. As he becomes king of Israel, Solomon prays to God for wisdom, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:9, ESV) Not only does he receive wisdom, God gives Solomon incredible favor:
And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days. (1 Kings 3:11-14 ESV)
God does bless Solomon beyond measure. One estimate puts the current value of Solomon’s riches at $2.1 trillion - double that of the combined estimates of John D. Rockerfeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford (take that “men who built America”). However, Solomon’s life doesn’t end well. He turns his heart from God, and worships at the feet of the idols brought to him by his 1,000 wives. He’s removed from the throne by God. How could this happen?
Solomon’s father, David, walked an incredible journey with God. So incredible was David’s journey that he is still known as a man after God’s own heart. David’s life is marked by many ups and downs, and his life is marked by a journey of transformation. Solomon, however, was granted wisdom by God without a journey and then given even more. His prayer was wise and we are the beneficiaries of that prayer. However, Solomon’s life ends without a completed journey of transformation, one where his heart is clearly drawn back to the Lord.
Why does this matter? Our relationship with God is cemented during a transformational journey. In those moments of incredible difficulty where wisdom is earned, we have the opportunity to align our hearts with our loving God forever. Solomon was granted wisdom and prosperity, the level of which every man dreams. His prayer ended up circumventing the opportunity for lifelong relationship with God and his heart is drawn away late in life. May we all embrace the struggles on and off the baseball field so that our relationship with the Lord never drifts as Solomon’s did. Avoid prayers of early prosperity as they may not bear the long-term fruit God desires for each of us.