14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it. God has made it this way, so that men will fear him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14, NET)
Sadly, the Bible records very few lives that finish well. Today’s reading is yet another example of this fact. Solomon had more potential than any person in history. Yet, “4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been” (1 Kings 11:4, NET). He had been warned through the law that this would happen, and yet, he pursued folly with wisdom, as he later wrote in Ecclesiastes. However, as quoted above, “whatever God does will endure forever.”
Solomon’s folly led to disobedience and a wandering heart—his allegiance to the Lord faded. I believe Ecclesiastes was written toward the end of his life and the anguish and regret can be felt on every page. It’s the book to which every Emo kid can relate. His ultimate conclusion is that a life is better spent in the pursuit of Godly wisdom than anything else (and he had more of everything else than most of us can possibly imagine).
In our passage today, God makes a promise to Jeroboam. Because of Solomon’s disobedience, Jeroboam would receive all but two of the twelve tribes. The only condition is that “38 You must obey all I command you to do, follow my instructions, do what I approve, and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel” (1 Kings 11:38, NET). That’s it, it’s that simple. Take God at his word, Jeroboam, and you will have an unending throne. By the way, that is almost exactly the same promise Solomon received and look what happened.
There are two very important points in this passage, first, God’s promises last forever; and, second, God’s promises, while irrevocable, require obligation. First, although Solomon’s sin led to the division of his kingdom at the end of his life, God had made a promise to David that would not be undone. This is made abundantly clear in verse 39. As we think about the New Testament, the same is true for those who have trusted Christ for salvation, sin cannot break the promises of God (1 John 5:13).
However, to my second point, God’s promises require obligation. Based on my first point, you might say, “Tyler, are you saying that a person can be truly saved and live in unrepentant sin the rest of their life?” The answer is hypothetically, yes (see Romans 6:1–2). I use the word hypothetically because if a person is truly saved, life-change should be evident (see James 2:18). God made a promise to David, Solomon did not live faithfully, God allowed Solomon’s line to endure because of his promise to David and, ultimately, that’s the line through which Christ fulfilled God’s promise. That should be a huge comfort for Christians to know that your salvation is based on God’s promise and not your goodness. However, in your salvation, the right response is good works (see Ephesians 2:10).
Salvation was, is, and always will be in taking God at his word—faith in God’s provision. Take another look at Romans 10:13 and ask yourself, “what is a right response today for such a great salvation?”
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate