In many ways Solomon was the most successful man in all of history. He is remembered for his exceptional wealth, influence, and intellect. He was blessed but imperfect; his life was a dichotomy of good and bad choices. Solomon loved God yet at times rebelled against him.
Human nature has not changed, and the lessons learned from Solomon’s life can be applied to your life today.
How successful was Solomon?
These references from 1 Kings 1–11 tell us:
- Solomon was anointed King of Israel (1:39).
- God appeared to Solomon two times (3:5, 9:2).
- “So God said to him…‘I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be’” (3:11–13).
- Solomon authored 3,000 proverbs and composed 1,005 songs (4:32); he was a botanist and biologist (4:33), and owned 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses (10:26).
- He received 666 talents of gold yearly (10:14). That’s about 730,000 ounces of gold per year.
- Solomon built the magnificent Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem, which housed the Ark of the Covenant (5:5, 8:1). The construction of this temple was Solomon’s greatest career accomplishment.
- “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (10:23).
- He wrote three books of the Bible: Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
In the midst of Solomon’s great success, God commanded him not to marry women from other nations and not to follow other gods. God did this for Solomon’s own good. God was protecting Solomon from himself, but Solomon did these things anyway.
Ecclesiastes 11:3 says Solomon took “seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” Incredibly, the same man who built the Lord’s Temple, the holiest place on earth at the time, also built altars to the pagan gods of his foreign wives.
Sin crept into Solomon’s life, and it is poised to do the same to all of us.
Fear God and keep his commandments.
But Solomon’s story does not end here. At the end of his reign, Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in which he declared what he ultimately learned about success, sin, and the challenges of life.
In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon summarizes his message to those who would follow him. His words of wisdom are recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Solomon came to know that God gave us his commandments to keep us from getting hurt in a fallen world. God’s commandments are here to protect us. To “fear God” means to respect and to obey him.
Solomon kept his final message simple: “Fear God and keep his commandments.” Above all else this is what the most successful man in the world wants us to remember.
Career advice from the world’s most successful person: “Fear the Lord and keep his commandments.”