Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn’t Enough

Everybody likes to be an exception to the rule. No exceptions. This paradox seems especially true for individuals who are exceptional. Like Solomon.

(Photo: William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA, via Wikimedia Commons)

“I have given you a wise and discerning heart,” God told Solomon, “so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:12). Talk about exceptional!

And yet Solomon became the exception to his own wisdom.

It started with two small compromises.

He Wrote the Book . . . but Didn’t Read It

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Solomon literally wrote the book on wisdom, and yet he behaved so foolishly. How could anybody so wise let himself become so corrupted? How could one who worshiped God ever get lured into idolatry (1 Kings 11:1-8)? Here are two reasons:

Then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. . . . Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (1 Kings 3:1, 3)

“Solomon loved the Lord,” we’re told, “except . . .” Stop right there.

  • He sacrificed on the “high places” like the Canaanites.
  • Solomon’s marriage to a nonbeliever bought national security for the price of a wedding—or so he thought.

Small compromises, sure, but they opened a crack in Solomon’s heart that eventually divided it.

Adding Up the Small Things

He should have seen it coming. Solomon’s biblical poetry repeatedly revealed the wisdom of dealing with sin when it’s small (Proverbs 17:14; 24:33-34; Ecclesiastes 10:18; Song of Solomon 2:15). In other words, he should have foreseen the danger of the little exceptions that would grow beyond what even Solomon could control.

If the Bible recorded our walk with God, what exceptions would it reveal?

Even wisdom can’t think around the consequences of compromise. The crack that divided Solomon’s heart would ultimately divide his nation, destroy God’s temple, and deport the Hebrews from their land.

And it all began with small compromises ignored.

Wisdom will never be enough. We must add to it obedience.

Question: How have you seen “small things” add up to big negatives—or big positives—in life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, “Unwise Cracks,” Insights (September 2005): 1-2. Copyright © 2005, Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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