King Solomon’s life clearly shows us God’s mercy and God’s willingness to work all things for good concerning us. God can cause the most horrible situation to end up blessing those who love God.
Bathsheba was Solomon’s mother. Her first husband, Uriah, was a soldier in King David’s army. David slept with Bathsheba while Uriah was in battle and she became pregnant. David eventually arranged it so that Uriah would die in battle. David then took Bathsheba as his wife, but the child of their illicit relationship died. God continued to speak to David’s heart until he finally confessed his sins. God graciously forgave David. David and Bathsheba had a second child whom they named Solomon. It was under these circumstances that Solomon came into the world and later became the next King of Israel.
1. How did David express his sorrow for the sins he committed against Solomon’s mother Bathsheba? (We have visited this text several times before but it is so good it cannot be reviewed too often. It certainly fits here, as this was the prayer that David prayed when he came under conviction for committing adultery and for having Uriah killed. It is one of the most beautiful and sincere prayers of repentance recorded in the Bible. It would be good for our prayers of repentance to be modeled (not copied) after it.)
“Have mercy upon me, O God, as befits Your faithfulness; in keeping with Your abundant compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly of my iniquity, and purify me of my sin; for I recognize my transgressions, and am ever conscious of my sin. Purge me with hyssop till I am pure; wash me till I am whiter than snow. Hide Your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. Fashion a pure heart for me, O God; create in me a steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence, or take Your Holy Spirit away from me. Let me again rejoice in Your help; let a vigorous spirit sustain me. I will teach transgressors Your ways, that sinners may return to You.” Psalm 51:3, 4, 8-15
King Solomon is known as the wisest man who ever lived. He wrote hundreds of wise sayings recorded in the book of Proverbs in the Scriptures. In this lesson we will find out what we can gain for our lives today from listening to wise King Solomon.
2. What instructions did David give Solomon before David died?
“I am going the way of all the earth; be strong and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in His ways and following His laws, His commandments, His rules, and His admonitions as recorded in the Teaching of Moses, in order that you may succeed in whatever you undertake and wherever you turn.” 1 Kings 2:2, 3
David told his son Solomon that true success comes from walking in God’s ways, following His laws, His commandments, His rules, and His admonitions. The same is true for us today. If we apply the advice David gave to Solomon in our lives, we can claim the promise of success. It is interesting that David, a man after God’s own heart, equated being “strong and showing yourself as a man,” with following God and keeping His commandments. Real men follow God and keep His commandments. This is the formula for success in life.
3. When Solomon was about to become King, what did he ask of God, showing His devotion to his people?
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream… “Ask, what shall I grant you?” Solomon said...An understanding mind to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad. 1 Kings 3:5, 6, 9
The burden of Solomon’s heart was to be able to help the people and do right before God. What would you ask for if God, who rules the universe and owns everything and is all powerful, asked you what you want? What a noble gesture that Solomon would ask first for wisdom to help other people and the ability to tell right from wrong.
Solomon did not rely on his own wisdom. Instead he asked God to give him discernment and an understanding mind. True wisdom, understanding, and discernment come as a gift from God. Since this gift comes only from Elohim it is important for us to pray for it before we read the Bible, this book, or any book, or do anything.
4. How did God respond to Solomon’s unselfish request?
The LORD was pleased...And God said to him, “Because you asked for this—you did not ask for long life, you did not ask for riches, you did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for discernment in dispensing justice—I now do as you have spoken. I grant you a wise and discerning mind; there has never been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you arise again. And I also grant you what you did not ask for—both riches and glory all your life—the like of which no king has ever had. And I will further grant you long life, if you will walk in My ways and observe My laws and commandments.” 1 Kings 3:10-14
If we put God and others first God will be pleased and will more than take care of us. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”
5. King Solomon built the temple of the Lord, which was fashioned after the manner of the temple Moses built in the wilderness. Solomon’s temple was larger, more permanent. When the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon what did she observe?
When the queen of Sheba observed all of Solomon’s wisdom, and the palace he had built, the fare of his table, the seating of his courtiers, the service and attire of his attendants, and his wine service, andthe burnt offerings that he offered at the House of the LORD, she was left breathless. 1 King 10:4, 5
Notice there were several specific things that impressed the queen of Sheba. She observed the wisdom that God had given Solomon and the beauty of his palace. She also noticed what Solomon ate. No doubt it was only “biblically kosher” healthy foods. She saw that the servants were happy to serve their king and they were treated decently. The queen took note of what the attendants were wearing. It may have been much more modest than she was used to. Solomon did not neglect to show her the most important thing – the way to receive forgiveness – the burnt offering.
6. In the proverbs of wise King Solomon what did he tell us about alcoholic wine?
Wine is a scoffer, strong drink a roisterer; He who is muddled by them will not grow wise. Do not be of those who guzzle wine. Who cries, “Woe!” who, “Alas!” Who has quarrels, who complaints; Who has wounds without cause; Who has bleary eyes? Those whom wine keeps till the small hours, Those who gather to drain the cups. Do not ogle that red wine As it lends its color to the cup, As it flows on smoothly; In the end, it bites like a snake. Proverbs 20:1; 23:20, 29-32
Since King Solomon himself told us not to even ogle or look at alcohol, this must have been one of the items left off the table that the queen of Sheba was impressed by.
7. What is one way God’s word differentiates between alcoholic wine, which is not good, and grape juice?
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, With the best of all your income, And your barns will be filled with grain, Your vats will burst with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10
New wine gives the impression of newly or freshly squeezed grape juice. But grape juice, as used in the Bible does not always have the word “new” next to it. Sometime it just says “wine.” In the Scriptures sometimes the word wine means grape juice and sometimes it means fermented alcohol. We can tell which one the Scriptures are referring to by how it is used in context. In the Scriptures fermented alcoholic wine always has a negative connotation associated with it, while unfermented wine, fresh grape juice, is always associated with a blessing. Grape juice that becomes alcohol has gone through a fermenting process, a spoiling or rotting process. This process did not happen in the Garden of Eden nor will it happen in Heaven. Alcohol is not part of God’s original plan, His eternal plan, nor is it His plan for us today.
8. What is a principle that King Solomon gave us regarding all brain harming drugs like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, etc.?
“More than all that you guard, guard your mind, for it is the source of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Adonai speaks to us through our mind, which receives His impressions and comprehends His written Word. Our brain is the most important part of our body as it is the only one of our senses through which God communicates His love to us. We can’t taste God, or smell Him, or see Him, but He can communicate with us through our minds. Alcohol of all kinds and illegal drugs kill brain cells. It is vitally important that we keep our brains as healthy as possible so we can hear God’s voice speaking to us. Since the Bible tells us to “guard the mind” why would we want to destroy the most important part of our body with even moderate drinking?
The principle is to guard the mind. The principle is the spirit of the law. The letter of the law is the exact do’s and don’ts. The spirit of the law takes it a step further and says “in addition to the things the word of God mentions avoiding, guard your mind against any mind destroying drugs that will ever be invented.” With this principle it would include other mind and body altering drugs such as nicotine and caffeine.
Since the principle is to take care of the mind and body that God has given us, the principle allows for the use of medicinal drugs for the healing of the body and mind.
9. In addition to eating only healthy foods and abstaining from foods and substances that harm us, what is another thing that we can do to maintain good health?
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. It will be a cure for your body, a tonic for your bones. Proverbs 3:8
A cheerful heart does good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22
Being humble, respecting God, avoiding sin, and choosing to be thankful are all health-enhancing attitudes we can have as we invite Elohim into our hearts and minds.
10. Gambling is another vice that God hates, along with alcohol and drugs. What did the Jewish prophet Isaiah have to say about gambling?
“…you who forsake the LORD... who set a table for Luck and fill a mixing bowl for Destiny: I will destine you for the sword, you will all kneel down, to be slaughtered —because, when I called, you did not answer, when I spoke, you would not listen. You did what I hold evil.” Isaiah 65:11
Gambling works on the premise of greed and laziness. It is trying to get rich without earning it. It is based on getting something at the expense of someone else’s loss. Selfishness, greed, and laziness are not healthy characteristics. If a plumber fixes your sink you get a service performed for you and he gets money – both of you benefit. If you buy something, you get an item and the seller gets money – both of you benefit. In gambling one person loses and the other wins. Really, both lose because gambling becomes addictive and destructive because of the evil characteristics it encourages and feeds on. Gambling of all sorts, including lotteries, should be avoided.
11. What advice did King Solomon, the wisest and richest king of Israel, give us concerning money?
Wealth is of no avail on the day of wrath, but righteousness saves from death. Proverbs 11:4
He who is generous to the poor makes a loan to the LORD; He will repay him his due. Proverbs 19:17
Better is a poor man who lives blamelessly than a rich man whose ways are crooked. Proverbs 28:6
The LORD will not let the righteous go hungry… Negligent hands cause poverty, but diligent hands enrich. Proverbs 10:3, 4
In contrast to the desires associated with gambling Solomon encourages righteousness, generosity, contentment, and hard work.
12. What warning did wise King Solomon give us about being in debt?
…the borrower is a slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
Who would choose to be a slave? It is startling, but millions of people today voluntarily become slaves to credit card companies and loan agencies. We should avoid debt like we would avoid a plague. If we have any debt at all we should focus all our energy into becoming debt free. Debt could be defined as owing more on an item than it’s value. Note that Solomon is not saying that being in debt is a sin, but he is warning us it is a form of voluntary slavery.
13. What counsel did King Solomon give about having a happy, successful marriage?
Let your fountain be blessed; find joy in the wife of your youth—A loving doe, a graceful mountain goat. Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be infatuated with love of her always. Why be infatuated, my son, with a forbidden woman? Why clasp the bosom of an alien woman? Proverbs 5:18, 19, 20
Solomon told us to “find” joy in the spouse of our youth. Stay with your first spouse even if you have to search to find the joy in the relationship. Every successfully happy marriage takes work. To be infatuated with love for your spouse has more to do with you than it does with them. To be “infatuated with” means you choose to be infatuated with your spouse. It does not mean that when they change and become infatuating you will then be infatuated with them. It means that you love them the way they are. If you married them the way they are then continue to love them the way they are. Love is more of a choice than it is a feeling. Solomon is telling us to choose to love, choose to be infatuated with, your spouse. People talk about falling out of love; the only way to do this is to choose not to love. When we start choosing to look and dwell on the shortcomings of our spouse and choose not to love them the way they are, we are in danger of falling for the forbidden woman or the forbidden man. Find joy – even if you have to search for it – in the spouse that you have.
14. Where should we go to find a good spouse?
…an efficient wife comes from the Lord. Proverbs 19:14
If you do not have a spouse from the Lord, choose to be content with the choice you made. If you are not married yet, settle for nothing less than a spouse from the Lord. A spouse from the Lord is someone who loves the Lord, who reads His Word, who follows His instructions, who is active in the house of the Lord. Before we can expect the Lord to give us a spouse we should be a person of the Lord. We should be a person who loves the Lord, reads His Word, follows His instructions, and is active in the house of the Lord.
15. What type of spouse might we end up with if we do not go to the Lord?
The nagging of a wife is like the endless dripping of water. Dwelling in the corner of a roof is better than acontentious wife in a spacious house. Proverbs 19:13; 21:9
If you have a nagging, contentious spouse choose to be content with the choice you made. (Of course in certain abusive situations a person should protect themselves and separate. This is the kind of circumstance when you would be well advised to seek guidance from a godly counselor.) If you are not married yet, remember that the loneliest people in the world are not single people, but people who are married but not matched. Choose well, choose carefully. Choose a spouse from the Lord or you may end up with a nagging, contentious spouse. Take your time when choosing a spouse to unite your life with. Spend much time talking together, save the physical intimacy for marriage, and counsel widely.
16. How is a capable wife described in the Holy Scriptures?
What a rare find is a capable wife! Her worth is far beyond that of rubies. Her husband puts his confidence in her, and lacks no good thing. She is good to him, never bad, all the days of her life. She rises while it is still night, and supplies provisions for her household, She girds herself with strength, and performs her tasks with vigor. She gives generously to the poor; her hands are stretched out to the needy. She is clothed with strength and splendor; she looks to the future cheerfully. Her mouth is full of wisdom, her tongue with kindly teaching. She oversees the activities of her household and never eats the bread of idleness. Her children declare her happy; Her husband praises her, Grace is deceptive, Beauty is illusory; It is for her fear of the Lord that a woman is to be praised. Proverbs 31:10-12, 15, 20, 25-28, 30
These texts apply to being a capable husband as well. There are only a few things better than being the right spouse and having the right spouse. Solomon says they are a rare find so choose carefully. God hates divorce. Marriage should be for life. To have a happy marriage it takes love from God, continual surrender to God and to each other, continual choices of contentment, patience, forgiveness, unselfishness, and work. A happy marriage starts with being a capable spouse as described in this text. It takes God in our hearts to make us and keep us as a capable spouse.
Solomon said it is not beauty or graces that cause a spouse to be worthy of praise but rather it is a fear of the Lord that is deserving of praises. What do you focus most of your time, money, and energy on – how you look or storing up God in your heart? God is so big that if He is really in us, He will stick out everywhere. When people see you do they see you or do they see God in you? Are you focused more on your outer beauty or your inner beauty?
17. What advice about choosing friends did King Solomon give?
Do not associate with an irascible man, or go about with one who is hot-tempered, lest you learn his ways and find yourself ensnared. Do not envy evil men; do not desire to be with them; for their hearts talk violence, and their lips speak mischief. Do not envy sinners in your heart, but only God-fearing men, at all times, for then you will have a future, and your hope will never fail. For the commandment is a lamp, the teaching is a light, and the way to life is the rebuke that disciplines. It will keep you from an evil woman, from the smooth tongue of a forbidden woman. Proverbs 22:24, 25; 24:1, 2; 23: 17, 18; 6:23, 24
These are clear words about choosing friends. Evil associations corrupt good morals. Be friendly to everyone but choose only friends from people who love God. Make acquaintances with everyone else and encourage them to come to know the Lord.
There is an important lesson here about dating. Do not date someone who does not know the Lord and who does not believe as you believe. One way to make sure you never marry someone who does not believe the way you do is to never date someone who does not believe like you do. It is very hard to marry someone you have not dated. You can be guaranteed not to marry the wrong person if you do not date the wrong person.
18. What did King Solomon tell us about dealing with enemies?
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. You will be heaping live coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Do not say, “I will requite evil”; put your hope in the Lord and He will deliver you. He who seeks love overlooks faults, but he who harps on a matter alienates his friend. Proverbs 25:21, 22; 20:22; 17:9
It is not possible to love our enemies in our own power. We need to call on God to give us this love. There are lessons here for marriages, family relationships, work associations, and relationships of all kinds. If we harp on a matter we will alienate. If we overlook faults we will be seeking an awakening of love. As we learned from Joseph, forgiveness is not ignoring a fault or wrong someone did to us, it is overlooking – looking over and beyond the wrong that was done. It is choosing to rise above the wrong doer and show God’s love in return for evil. If you are still struggling with being able to forgive someone re-read the proverbs quoted in this question and look at the promises of God for us when we choose to forgive. God will reward you. God will deliver you. If you are still struggling with forgiveness, re-read lesson 3 on the life of Joseph.
19. How can we have wisdom like King Solomon?
The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Listen to advice and accept discipline in order that you may be wise in the end. Proverbs 9:10; 19:20
Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding come from the Lord. This is one of the reasons it is important to spend time every day in prayer and in reading the Bible. We need God’s wisdom to understand His Word. Wisdom and understanding of God’s Word gives us knowledge and wisdom, not only theology but also in every aspect of our lives. Whether it is financial matters, interpersonal associations, family concerns, work habits, food and clothing choices, or personal issues, God is the source of wisdom.
20. At the end of King Solomon’s life how did he sum up all his observations?
The sum of the matter, when all is said and done: Revere God and observe His commandments! For this applies to all mankind: that God will call every creature to account for everything unknown, be it good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12:13
For everyone on this earth, the sum of the matter, the bottom line in life is loving and respecting God and keeping His commandments.
21. God, through Solomon, has given us some high morals to follow. How can we live by these standards?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths smooth. Proverbs 3:5, 6
It starts with trusting in the Lord. If we trust in what He says, not in what we think, and if we trust in His power, not our power, to perform these standards in our lives He will make our ups and downs smooth. This does not mean there will not be bumps or potholes in the road, but God’s shock absorbers will keep our emotions smooth.
You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I the Lord am your God. You shall faithfully observe My laws: I the Lord make you holy. I the Lord who sanctify you am holy. Leviticus 20:7, 8; 21:8
What a powerful promise. God makes us holy! It is not us making ourselves holy but it is allowing God to make us holy. God is all-powerful and all loving. He knows your past and your weaknesses. God is able to transform you in spite of the past. He is holy and can make your life holy, if you allow Him to work upon your heart. Accept the Messiah Y’shua’s death for the forgiveness of your shortcomings and for the Holy Spirit to live God’s life through you. Isn’t this what David’s prayer quoted in the beginning of this lesson was all about?
The high standard on the many different topics Solomon has outlined for us might seem overwhelming to us. But really they are not hard to reach – they are impossible, in our own strength and power. But with God’s power, God’s Holy Spirit, working in us and through us He will empower us to reach and live these high standards. In our food, drink, and dress choices, and in our attitudes regarding finances, work, and relationships, God is able to give us His desires, His thoughts, His actions as we surrender each area to the Messiah. Now that you have become a child of the King, the King will transform you to live like a Prince or Princess for Him.
Are you willing to allow God to work in you to reach the high and holy standard He is calling you to?
Your next lesson is titled “Jonah the Fisherman.” Whether you enjoy fishing or not, you will find this next lesson very interesting.
This lesson is adapted from "Jewish Discoveries," by Jeff Zaremsky, to buy the printed book, click here.