“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25.
Isn’t it ironic that the very man who penned these remarkable words; King Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest kings to have ever ruled Israel, later in life contradicted his very own teachings in practice?
Of King Solomon it is written, “He spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.” 1 Kings 4:32, 33.
“In the proverbs of Solomon are outlined principles of holy living and high endeavor, principles that are heaven-born and that lead to godliness, principles that should govern,” PK 33
“But after a morning of great promise his life was darkened by apostasy…. he who had been honored by God with tokens of divine favor so remarkable that his wisdom and uprightness gained for him world-wide fame, he who had led others to ascribe honor to the God of Israel, turned from the worship of Jehovah to bow before the idols of the heathen.” PK 51,52.
How did this happen? What led him to idolatry?
“And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” 1Kings 11:3
“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.” 1Kings 11:4
So, was there a specific command of God that Solomon had disregarded?
Hundreds of years before Solomon came to the throne, the Lord foreseeing the perils that would beset those who might be anointed king, gave instruction for their guidance.
In connection with this instruction the Lord particularly cautioned: “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Deuteronomy 17:17.
Polygamy was never a part of God’s design for humanity. It had been early introduced contrary to divine arrangement.
Think about it, God created only one woman, Eve, a single helpmeet for Adam. If God gave Adam one wife, then where did polygamy originate?
“To the crime of murder (committed by Cain), Lamech, the fifth in descent, added polygamy.” EP 43.4
After which, Polygamy became so widespread that it ceased to be regarded as a sin, but it was no less a violation of the law of God.
But was this the root cause of King Solomon’s spiritual declension? What was that point that marked the beginning of his backsliding?
King Solomon, in his early reign, humbly attributed all his success, wealth and prosperity to God alone.
“So gradual was Solomon’s apostasy that before he was aware of it, he had wandered far from God. Almost imperceptibly he began to trust less and less in divine guidance and blessing, and to put confidence in his own strength”.
“But Solomon had begun to lose sight of the Source of his power and glory. As inclination gained the ascendancy over reason, self-confidence increased, and he sought to carry out the Lord’s purpose in his own way.” PK 54.
Many a time we are in the same danger when seeking to accomplish God’s purposes. We think, if the goal is right and is in accordance with God’s will, then how we go about achieving it is of little or no importance. We reason that any way undertaken to accomplish God’s will should be acceptable by him. Simply because it is His work justifies any methods or strategies undertaken to accomplish it. But God is interested more on whether we follow the correct process in accordance to His laws, statutes, commands, instructions and principles rather than His work done independently of Him. We focus more on what has to be achieved and not how, whereas God is interested more on how it is going to be achieved rather than, what is to be achieved. If it is not according to His ways then the outcome is irrelevant. Complete surrender and entire dependence on Him, faith in His working and trusting in Him is more important to Him than self-confidence, and trusting in our own strength and power.
Turning aside from God’s ways and depending on self is the root cause of backsliding and if continued in this direction, will eventually lead to loss of eternal life. Man has a natural propensity to justify his means to achieve a desired end. And if the end is good, then all the more reason to justify the means of accomplishing it.
Truly it is said,” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer 17:9.
Therefore Brethren, “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Deut 5:32