Was it worth it?
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
When my twin boys were about 16, I remember telling them before they were heading out one night, “Before you do anything, ask yourselves would Dad think this was a good idea’? How many times I wish I had listened to my own advice. If only I had asked what God, my Father, would think.
King Solomon was the son of David, and God allowed him to build the temple. He loved the Lord (1Kings 3:2-3). The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night, and God said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5). What would you have asked God to give you? Solomon asked for wisdom. This is how God responded:
And God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.” 1 Kings 3:11-14
If the story ended there, it would have had a happy ending. However, Solomon disobeyed God in many areas of his life. Deuteronomy 17 says that a king must not acquire too many horses, have a heart that goes after Egypt where Israel was once enslaved, marry too many wives, or accumulate for himself too much silver or gold.
The Bible tells us he disobeyed God in all these areas: Solomon had many horses. (1 Kings 4:26-28, 2 Chronicles 9:25-28), He married an Egyptian princess. (1 Kings 3:1, 2 Chronicles 8:11),He had over 700 wives and 300 concubines, all of whom were pagan. (1 Kings 11:1-4, 2 Chronicles 9:7), He had one of the richest deposits of gold on earth. (1 Kings 9:11, 14, 28, 10:2, 10-25).
All of this came to a head when the Bible tells us that his wives persuaded him to build temples to the pagan gods when he was old. We are even told that he worshiped these gods, even building a temple to Moloch, a god that his followers sacrificed children. The Lord became angry with him and punished Solomon. God took the kingdom away from Solomon’s son because of the sins of the father. Was it worth it, Solomon? We have his answer from the book of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” That Preacher is none other than Solomon. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes at the end of his life. With deep regret and, I believe, a heart of repentance, he reflected on the sin in his life. He closes out the book with these final words, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
What say you, will you fear the one who can cast a man’s soul into hell. Will you keep His commands? Do you love the one who sent His Son to die for you?