For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. (1 Kings 11:4)
Mistakes Of Old Men
As a young man, Solomon had more profound wisdom than most men. When the Lord appeared to him at Gibeon, he could ask anything from the divine storehouse of blessings, and it would be granted to him. He did not ask for riches and honor or long life, but he desired to have an understanding heart to judge the people to discern between good and evil. This pleased the Lord, and Solomon was blessed with the greatest wisdom, including the greatest wealth and honor among all the men on earth. Solomon’s reign was an incredible demonstration of the knowledge of righteousness, discernment, devotion to God, and prosperity never known in the history of humanity. Under the leadership of David’s son, the house of the Lord was constructed that would stand as the dwelling place of God with His people in the city of Jerusalem. No edifice was a grand and beautiful as the Temple of the Lord God. The Queen of Sheba would survey the world of Solomon and proclaim the half had not been told her to the expanse of the kingdom of Solomon and his wisdom. All the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
The reign of Solomon would last for forty years. At the beginning of his kingdom, there was great success, and God was glorified through King Solomon’s wisdom, wealth, and power. As the prosperity of his wealth increased, so did the many foreign women increase including the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. When Joshua brought the people of God into Canaan to conquer the land, God had forbidden His people to intermarry with the women of the land lest they turn the hearts of the people away from Him. They disobeyed the Lord, and so did Solomon. Solomon clung to the forbidden women in love, and when he was old, his wives turned his heart away from God. The wisest man on earth sought after the gods of the Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon had one thousand women surrounding him that he allowed to turn his heart away from the righteousness of the Lord. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.
Old age is supposed to be characterized by a maturity of years that emboldens wisdom. The hoary head is revered for the knowledge of old men. There is a sense of purpose in the eyes of those who can look back over many years of experience to discern between the wise path and the path of folly. Men who have served in the house of the Lord are to bear fruit in old age with a fresh and flourishing spirit of divine wisdom. The desire of those of old age is to declare the knowledge of God to the generation of youth and the power of God to the world. No man possessed the wisdom of Solomon, and yet the wisest man that lived allowed the sensual pleasures of his flesh to destroy his life in his old age.
Righteousness is a commodity that men of all ages must possess, especially when a man approaches the end of his life. Solomon’s sad tragedy was he began his reign with such promise and ended his reign with unexpected failure. Devotion to God must continue until death. Old age should be a time of more profound meaning for the heart of the faithful. The lie of evil is to seek youth in old age when this is impossible. Billions of dollars are spent each year on men and women seeking the fountain of youth which can be an eternal folly. Time marches on, and nothing will stop or slow its progress.
Solomon grieved over the mistakes of his old age as found in the book of Ecclesiastes. His life stands as a monument to the failures of men and women who have served the Lord for many years and then choose to seek the follies of youth at the brink of eternity. The end is worse for them than the beginning. A faithful heart must remain faithful until the end. There can be no exception. Old age is a beautiful time of enlightenment, joy, productivity, and letting the world see the glory of God. When the almond tree blossoms, the world should see the eternal tree of life blooming in the hearts of older men and older women. Do not give up, and do not turn from the Lord when eternity is so close. Be thou faithful until death.