The Expository Files


A King's Heart

1 Kings 11

Shocking And Tragic
Somehow, 1 Kings 11 is never expected. The chapter is always shocking and tragic to read. It is shocking due to the previous chapters that mention the wisdom and faith of Solomon. His speech and prayer of dedication at the temple in 1 Kings 8 is a remarkable address of admonition for the people and supplication toward God. We would never expect the events of 1 Kings 11 to transpire. But they do - and that is the tragedy. The writer sums up the tragedy in these words: "Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord, as did his father David" (1 Kings 11:6).

The Heart Of The Matter
How could this happen? How could this wise man turn away from God? The answer comes early in chapter 11. A commandment from God was disobeyed (11:1-2). What was the result? Solomon's heart was turned away from God (11:3). The writer seems to pay special attention to Solomon's heart (11:3, 4, 9). Solomon was no longer the servant of God (8:30, 52) that he once was. His heart was no longer right with God.

Lessons From Solomon's Heart

1. Practice What You Preach! Solomon had once said, "Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day" (1 Kings 8:61). He preached about loyal hearts, but sometime later, his heart was not loyal to the Lord (11:4).

2. God Wants All Of Our Heart! The ESV says that Solomon's heart "was not wholly true to the Lord his God" (1 Kings 11:4). A divided heart is at odds with God. He wants it all.

3. Disobedience Brings About Despicable Actions! God told Solomon that part of the kingdom would be given to his servant Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:11, 28, 31). What was Solomon's reaction to God's message? The writer says, "Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam" (1 Kings 11:40). Sound familiar? Solomon is acting more like Saul than his father David. His despicable behavior is appalling!

4. A Father's Godly Instruction Should Be Obeyed! David told Solomon to walk in the ways of God and keep His statutes, commandments, judgments, and testimonies (1 Kings 2:2-3). Sadly, Solomon did not take heed to his father's godly instruction.

5. We Must Always Obey God! Solomon knew what God expected from him (1 Kings 9:1-9; 11:2). He could offer no excuses. He could not plead ignorance. Solomon directly disobeyed God.

Solomon's heart was not right with God. His life was not right as a result. "Get your heart right," a preacher from a generation ago told me, "And your life will be right." Applications abound. What about us? Will we learn from Solomon's heart?

By Jay Taylor
From Expository Files 14.7; July 2007