Sin ALWAYS has a price and Solomon’s price comes due in our reading today. Unfortunately others will pay this price with him. And it will span generations.
I thought we were finished with Joab but here we are again, dealing with his actions. I wonder if David was aware of this event. If he was he probably considered it part of war. He didn’t list it as part of the acts that Joab needed to atone for. We read of David’s conquest over Edom in 2 Samuel 8 but we don’t see Joab’s deeds there.
God knows what tomorrow holds. He knew what Joab would do before Joab even formed the intent in his heart. God also knew what Solomon would do eventually. NOT because He caused Solomon to turn away but because He is not constrained by time. He knows beginning and end of all. And He lets us live it out one day at a time without ‘spoiler alerts’ getting in the way. He does clue us in sometimes; it’s called prophecy. We see two instances of that in our text today.
I’ve done a bit of wandering. I want to peek at one more point before we settle down to the base truth in this section of scripture. The thing I want to look at is the political intrigue. God used three main men as His instruments against Solomon. The first is a survivor of Joab’s actions against Edom; Hadad. The second was a servant of Hadad’s father Hadadezer whom David defeated; Rezon. Both of these men were Edomites; descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau. Both these men had reason to be angry with Israel. After the death of David and Joab they returned to their home territories and became marauding band of raiders. They were not a huge force to be reckoned with but they were a thorn in Solomon’s quiet kingdom. Political enemies for sure.
The third adversary was from the tribe of Ephraim; Jeroboam. With our third adversary we finally get to the price of Solomon’s sin. We don’t see any reason for Jeroboam to rebel against Solomon. His entrance into the story reminds me a lot of David. When Saul sinned against God, He anointed David to be the next king. David didn’t ask for this role. He didn’t promote himself. He didn’t lift his hand against Saul, even though Saul sought his life.
Jeroboam was minding his own business when God sent the prophet Ahijah to him. Jeroboam wasn’t anointed like David was but he was given a sure word from God. God sent Ahijah AFTER confronting Solomon about his sin. Like Saul, Solomon was told what was about to happen. And like Saul, Solomon fought against it. Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam from that time on. Jeroboam didn’t follow David’s example in gathering men to himself and evading Saul’s forces. Instead he went to Egypt and stayed with the Shishak king of Egypt until Solomon’s death. (Quick question, was the ‘king of Egypt’ also the ‘Pharoah’ or were they two separate offices?) He didn’t trouble Solomon the same way David did Saul. I wonder how it was that Solomon tried to kill him. Was it through paid assassins? Did he ask for political favors of Pharaoh? How did he try to kill him when he was beyond Solomon’s reach?
Let’s get to the heart of the matter now. We KNOW that David wasn’t without sin but God still called him His faithful servant. He blessed him and promised to let his kingdom endure IF his children remained true to Him. But Solomon’s sin would rip the kingdom in two. Why punish Solomon and not David? We see the answer early on. “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant” (verse 11b).
The key word here is “practice.” Solomon didn’t go to one altar and come back sorry for his sin. He made a practice of following after other gods with his wives. He even built altars to their gods for them, and himself. He possibly saw this the path of least resistance with all his wives but it was one he started on and STAYED on. A path that took him away from God with each step. And he didn’t turn back once he went that way. God gave him time to correct his path. I have no doubt that He sent correcting influences Solomon’s way too but Solomon didn’t listen. Finally, God had had enough. Solomon’s sins had piled too high. It was time for judgment. Correction failed and the only thing left was punishment.
Even though Solomon deserved immediate punishment, God showed mercy. God would wait until Solomon’s death before bringing the full weight of His judgment down on Solomon. Also, because of David’s faithfulness, God wouldn’t give Solomon the full measure his actions deserved. Saul lost ALL the kingdom. Solomon would lose all but one tribe, besides his own.
Solomon did not use this reprieve to correct his ways or even to prepare his son for what was to come. Instead he went on doing what he had been doing what had got him in trouble. He also set out to prevent the “servant” God had chosen from fulfilling the word the Lord spoke.
Notice that God TOLD Solomon what was going to happen. This is the THIRD time God spoke to Solomon. And even that ‘visit’ didn’t get Solomon back where he was supposed to be. Did Solomon mourn this encounter? Did it redirect him at all? Or did he get farther away from God, believing there was no use trying any more? Would God have forgiven him if he repented at this point? Or was his heart so far gone that he didn’t even care any more?
Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and all of Israel would pay the price for Solomon’s sin. They would live the consequences of Solomon walking too far away from God. How far is too far? I PRAY I NEVER find out!
Father God, I NEVER want to get so far that I can’t hear You calling me back. Keep my heart sensitive to Your Spirit. THANK YOU for all the times You have already forgiven me for my sins. I am blessed beyond measure by that alone. It is NOTHING I have done to earn Your forgiveness but You have given it to me anyway.