Summary: The message gives a realistic picture of who Solomon really was.
Hollywood is famous for typecasting certain actors. Typecasting is the process by which a film, TV, or stage actor is strongly identified with a specific character, one or more particular roles, or characters with the same traits or ethnic grouping. There have been instances in which an actor has been so strongly identified with a role as to make it impossible for him or her to find work playing other characters, as in the cases of Adam West, who played Batman, Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies and William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series. We also do this in real life which is known as stereotyping. A stereotype is a simplified and/or standardized conception or image with specific meaning, often held in common by people about another group. A stereotype can be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image, based on the assumption that there are attributes that members of the other group hold in common. All Jewish people are seen as greedy with a great ability to make money. Tall people are assumed to be good basketball players. All Muslims are thought to be radical terrorists. We have done it to people from the Bible for example; Thomas for having one moment of doubt about the resurrection has come to be known as doubting Thomas. Solomon too has been dealt with unfairly by Biblical historians. Most focus on His later declining years, as if his whole life was one massive train wreck. However, when we read about his early years we see just the opposite, a young eager king with a tender heart for the things of the Lord.
I. During the early stages of his reign there is no doubt that Solomon was a man of God.
A. Solomon displays a great dependence on God early on. (1 Kings 3:7-9)
1. In light of the greatness of the Lord’s relationship with David, Solomon humbles himself before the Lord. He admits that God is the cause of his rise to power.
2. Solomon refers to himself as a little child, which reflects his relative youth and inexperience in government.
3. The responsibilities facing Solomon were all the greater in that Israel was God’s chosen nation. She had to be governed in accordance with God’s precepts if the people were to experience His blessing. A wisdom that God alone could give was needed here.
4. Another item of thankfulness and praise is added here—the faithfulness of God in respect to the Abrahamic covenant. The words "too numerous to count or number" reflect the words of God to Abraham in Genesis 13:16. God had greatly blessed and increased Abraham’s people in stature and in numbers.
5. Only knowledge of what God considers fair and unfair can guide the king to act justly with any consistency. Though Solomon has already exhibited political craftiness, he knows that long-term wisdom and success reside where David found it—in an ongoing relationship with the Lord.
B. Due to a deep private relationship with God, Solomon was able to unashamedly publicly express his faith. (1 Kings 8:54-61)
1. As Solomon stood before the people to bless them, his heart was filled with praise; and once again he spoke of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling all His promises.
2. Not only was Israel living in peace and security, enjoying the fruitfulness of the land, but God was formally dwelling in their midst. This made everything complete.
3. Solomon, at this high point of his life, saw with Moses and other great men of God that peace, security, and material prosperity are empty unless God is at the center of things.
4. Just as Solomon began the blessing with a confession of the one who is faithful, he now closes his comments with a plea that Israel be faithful to the Lord. The language of full commitment is similar to that in covenant renewal ceremonies like the one in Joshua 24, where Joshua commands Israel to “fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.”
II. Solomon’s interests were broad and his intelligence deep.
A. Solomon showed great skill as an author and composer. (1 Kings 4:29-34)
1. The Lord faithfully kept His promise to give Solomon great wisdom and insight.
2. Solomon’s wisdom surpasses men of renown, beyond all the wisdom of the East and Egypt. This wisdom includes the proverbs and songs for which he is well known in Scripture.
3. Solomon “spoke three thousand proverbs,” or comparisons drawn from life, and wrote 1,005 songs. Many of these proverbs appear in the Book of Proverbs, and the Song of Songs just may be one of his greatest compositions. This notation indicates that Solomon’s skill in judgment and speech was matched by his artistic gifts.
4. Endowed with skills of observation in the natural sciences, his fame spreads. Men of all nations, sent by all the kings of the world, come to hear for themselves the wisdom of a truly renaissance man!