The full question was, “From Solomon’s lengthy prayer, we know he was devout and wise; so why did he sin?”
First, What is sin? The Bible teaches that sin is a violation of the law. In 1 John 3:4, we read, “Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” Solomon knew that everyone sins. In 1 Kings 8:46, as part of his prayer he said, “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin.” Despite his devout prayers and wisdom, King Solomon violated the laws of God and sinned, like everyone does. As he grew older, Solomon became increasingly lawless toward God, which was unwise.
Second, Though Solomon was wise, he may have thought he was so wise that he could violate the laws of God without suffering the consequences or the penalty of violating God’s laws. From the life of Solomon, we know that he was so wise that royalty and others from all over the world came to hear whatever he had to teach and answer all their questions. In most people, such adulation could lead to pride. In Proverbs 16:18, perhaps written by Solomon, we read, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Solomon grew proud, and his sins led to the destruction of his kingdom after his death when Israel and Judah divided into two kingdoms.
Third, Solomon’s pride, success, and riches probably led him to fall out of love with God and into love with the people and things of this world. In violation of the laws of God and wisdom, Solomon married many foreign wives who led his heart away from God; therefore, he built idolatrous temples in the mountains around Jerusalem for them and this led the people of his kingdom away from loyalty to God and to its eventual destruction. The Bible warns all of us against this in 1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.” Despite his wisdom and initial devotion to God, Solomon unwisely turned from loving God to loving the world, and he and his family suffered the consequences.
If devout and wise King Solomon sinned and suffered the consequences, he serves as a warning to each of us, especially as we grow older. We cannot take our initial devotion to God and the Lord Jesus for granted but pray for the Lord Jesus to help us keep reading and obeying all His commands in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And in John 15:10, Jesus promised, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
You can ask questions on each week’s lesson by sending your questions to me directly at lgp@TheIBLF.com. I will take questions on the passages in each week’s Uniform Lesson Series Sunday School Lesson and in each week’s Gospel of John lesson that we are currently studying if you send them to me directly. I will try to answer as many as I can. Thank you for your questions!
May the Lord Jesus bless your Bible study and teaching in this New Year!