The most educational example of someone trusting God less over time is Solomon.
During this series on LEADERSHIP, we saw how Solomon ignored the warning from the Law concerning many wives, horses from Egypt, and making silver plentiful. The Bible says that as he got older, he relied on God less...
"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods." (I Kings 11:1-8)
Not only did Solomon rely less on God when he was old, but Solomon also built high places to the gods of his wives'. In a previous post, we saw that the greatest Old Testament king (Josiah) finally took down high places Solomon had built hundreds of years earlier. As you read the rest of this post, remember that Solomon doesn't take these high places down.
"And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant." (I Kings 11:9-11)
The LORD is angry with Solomon for going after other gods and building high places, so God begins to declare a punishment: God will take the kingdom from Solomon. While this sounds bad, God isn't finished explaining...
"Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen." (I Kings 11:12-13)
God won't take it away from Solomon while Solomon is alive...so He will take it from his son. Even then, Solomon's son will retain one tribe. So, Solomon isn't bearing the punishment...but God isn't finished punishing.
"And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom." (I Kings 11:14)
"And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria." (I Kings 11:23-25)
God raises up two adversaries to Solomon, but they remain in their own country so as to not be able to take away Solomon's kingdom while Solomon is alive.
The rest of I Kings 11 covers God talking to Solomon's successor (Jeroboam). God begins the explanation by reinforcing the cause of Solomon losing the kingdom:
"And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:" (I Kings 11:31-34)
I Kings 11 ends with Solomon dying:
"Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead." (I Kings 11:40-43)
We can see that Solomon did not rely on God more and even when God punished him, Solomon still didn't repent from his sin. Solomon didn't take down the high places. Did Solomon have a reason to rely on God more?
How did Solomon go from the wisest king to someone who was building high places to other gods?
Next week, we will look at the specific causes of Solomon's fall.