Summary: The message looks at the beginning of the erosion that takes place in Solomon’s life.
As we look upwards, it’s hard to imagine the mountains almost twice their present size – however in their infancy they were almost that large. Slowly, through the processes of weathering and erosion, the mountains have been reduced to a fraction of their original size. Erosion is happening all around us. Even though you may not recognize it, the forces of erosion are constantly shaping our planet. Sometimes, as in a mudslide or avalanche, erosion happens quickly. More often than not, erosion happens so slowly that you can’t even see it. Over time, the simple act of water running downhill can not only carve out a hole the size of the Grand Canyon, but it can literally move mountains. The Grand Canyon stands as a monument to the destructive power of erosion. Character can erode in much the same way, slowly, escaping the notice of onlookers as well as the one experiencing the erosion. Even a character as strong as Solomon’s can fall prey to the effects of erosion. Today let’s take some time to discover what led to the erosion of Solomon’s character.
I. Solomon was envied by the rest of the world as he stood exalted for his greatness, wisdom and wealth.
A. Solomon’s great fame was the result of God’s hand being on his life. (2 Chronicles 1:1-12)
1. The kingdom is firmly in the hands of Solomon. This is God’s act. The Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
2. Solomon’s request for wisdom and knowledge in ruling the people so pleased the Lord that He also promised him unparalleled riches, wealth, and honor.
3. Because Solomon’s heart is right, God will bless him as he has no other king — past or future. Leadership must seek God’s interests rather than their own.
4. Confident in the promise of God, Solomon returned to Jerusalem where he reigned over Israel. The promise to David is confirmed. God is faithful, and Solomon is prepared for his task.
B. Solomon had an unparalleled record of achievements. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6)
1. These verses are basically a royal résumé. It is the king’s catalog of accomplishments based on 1 Kings 3–11. The king immerses himself in building projects, horticultural endeavors, and sexual exploits.
2. A sensible use of money may be a form of creativity; so Solomon expressed himself in extensive buildings and the planting of vineyards, fruit trees, and gardens.
3. In this Solomon resembled the monarchs of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, whose achievements in building and planting were considered some of the wonders of the ancient world.
4. Solomon built enormous estates with parks and gardens—literal paradises. Orchards with all kinds of fruit trees punctuated the landscape.
5. It’s easy to imagine him taking his friends on guided tours and having his ego inflated by their expressions of awe and enthusiasm.
C. Solomon was held in high regard and enjoyed the praise of men. (1 Kings 10:1-24)
1. The purpose of 1 Kings Chapter 10 is to emphasize Solomon’s glory. From drinking vessels to sailing vessels, from an ivory throne to handcrafted chariots, he possessed everything the human heart could desire in quantities that stagger the imagination.
2. The queen of Sheba was completely overwhelmed by Solomon’s wisdom and by the splendor of his kingdom.
3. Gold was so plentiful that Solomon even used it for making shields to hang in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. His ivory throne was overlaid with pure gold. At each side of the throne was a large carved lion. Also on each side of the six steps leading to the throne was a lion.
4. Solomon’s fleet of merchant ships brought him all types of exotic items such as ivory, silver, apes and baboons.
5. Silver in Israel was of such abundance that it was considered of little value during Solomon’s reign.
6. Solomon’s riches and wisdom brought him worldwide fame, and gifts poured in to him from admirers who came to visit him.
II. Solomon’s diary, the book of Ecclesiastes helps us see the subtle trap that would eventually catch Solomon. (Ecclesiastes 2)
A. Having failed to find fulfillment in intellectual pursuit, Solomon turns next to the pursuit of pleasure.
1. It seems reasonable that one would be happy if one could just enjoy enough pleasure, he thought. Pleasure, by definition, means the enjoyable sensations that come from the gratification of personal desires.
2. Solomon’s indulgence in pleasure was not done impulsively. It was undertaken with deliberate planning. The testing used “qualitative research” with the king acting as both the participant and observer.
3. Solomon decided that he would drink the cup of fun to the full, and then, at last, his heart would ask no more. But the search ended in failure. He concludes that pleasures under the sun are worthless.