“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.”
1 Kings 11:4
King Solomon’s wisdom exceeded the wisdom of all the kings of the earth. He wrote thousands of proverbs and songs, some of which are contained in the precious Word of God. People traveled great distances just to see if Solomon’s riches and wisdom could possibly be as magnificent as was reported, only to find that the glory of his court and his kingdom far surpassed its reputation. However, the Bible records that “when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart.” How could it be that such a wise man could make such foolish decisions? This should serve as a warning to all.
A person who has been the recipient of vast amounts of godly counsel is not exempt from powerful and destructive temptations. We are cautioned in the Scripture: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). Many of God’s most faithful servants have made terrible mistakes: Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Peter—to name a few. Interestingly, we are told that Solomon made this departure from God when he “was old.” One might assume that if a person made it through his youth without a serious fall, it would be unlikely to occur in his later years. The truth is that we can be led astray at any time we are not walking with God.
Solomon could blame no one but himself for his tragic decline from the truth, but we know there were those who influenced him. We are told that “his wives turned away his heart.” We must exercise caution in choosing our friends and associates. People of great potential have been brought to destruction because of the negative influence of others. Where did Solomon’s backsliding begin? It started in his heart—the same place that it always begins. We read that, “his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God.” Solomon did not heed his own wise counsel: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
The man of vast wisdom allowed his heart to be drawn away. When he was old and should have been enjoying the fruit of a lifetime of wise decisions, he turned to false gods. May our latter years find us with a heart for God, many godly friends, and a resolve to obey.