June 19, 2011 – June 25, 2011
“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” Proverbs 22:4.
Study Helps: Testimonies, vol. 1, 565, 566; Christ’s Object Lessons, 339–342.
“Even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like him who possesses the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, untouched by the tinsel and show of the world.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.
1 VANITY AND VEXATION
- To what heights of worldly wealth and splendor did Solomon reach? Ecclesiastes 2:4–10. What did he finally see, and how can we learn from it? Ecclesiastes 2:11, 12.
Note: “One sad feature of Solomon’s experience was his supposition that massive buildings and magnificent furnishings give character to the work of God. He endeavored to pattern after, and to compete with, the world. He lost sight of the foundation principle underlying the influence that is ever to be exerted by the people of God—obedience to every precept of Holy Writ. The real power of God’s people lies not in numbers, nor in the wealth and worldly prosperity that may be displayed, but in steadfast adherence to His Word.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.
- Why did Solomon become bitter? Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:14–17. How is this a warning to us? Proverbs 25:26.
Note: “Let no line of work, no institution, bear a name that would divert honor from God to any man or any set of men. Let us remember that the beautiful temple which was erected for the honor of ‘the name of the Lord God of Israel,’ came to be known, through the apostasy of the builder, as ‘Solomon’s temple.’ ” The Review and Herald, January 11, 1906.
2 DISCERNING TRUE WEALTH
- How was Solomon deluded? Ecclesiastes 4:4; 5:10.
Note: “As Solomon continued to conform to the customs of the world, his pride greatly increased. And the worldly prosperity that attended his apostasy, was regarded by him as a token of God’s favor. So fully had he yielded himself to evil influences, that his spiritual discernment was well-nigh destroyed. He could not see the terrible losses that were sustained by the nation spiritually because he brought into the kingdom an abundance of the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish.
“Today there exists the same danger of mistaking prosperity for the favor of heaven. The prosperity that often for a time attends those who turn from a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to follow a way of their own choosing, is not an assurance of divine approval. Men may interpret it thus, but it is no sign that God’s prospering hand is with them. Let all learn a lesson from Solomon’s experience. Notwithstanding his violation of a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ riches and worldly honor poured in upon him, and seemingly he was greatly blessed. This is in harmony with Job’s declaration that the wicked spend their days in prosperity.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.
- What better way does God offer? Proverbs 11:17; 14:22.
Note: “How striking is the contrast between Solomon’s ambitious desire to exalt himself, and the life that the Son of God lived upon this earth! The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee. He began His work in poverty and without worldly rank. He sought not the admiration or the applause of the world. He dwelt among the lowly. To all appearance he was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus God introduced the gospel in a way altogether different from the way in which many deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel in this age. At the very beginning of the gospel dispensation he taught his church to rely, not on worldly rank and splendor, but on the power of faith and obedience.” The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.
3 SEEING OPPORTUNITIES
- What had Solomon failed to realize? Ecclesiastes 3:17.
Note: “Solomon lost sight of God’s high and holy purpose. He failed of improving the magnificent opportunities for enlightening the representatives of all nations who were continually passing through his territory and tarrying for rest at the principal cities. A selfish use was made of the strategic points along the well-traveled highways. Solomon sought to strengthen his position by building fortified cities at the gateways of commerce. …
“The missionary spirit that God had implanted in the heart of Solomon and in the hearts of many true Israelites, was rapidly supplanted by a spirit of commercialism. … Because of the cupidity and the short-sightedness of those to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God, the countless multitudes that thronged the thoroughfares of travel were allowed to remain in ignorance of the true God.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1906.
- How can we redeem the time? Ecclesiastes 11:4–6.
Note: “In these days of travel, the opportunities for coming in contact with men and women of all classes and of many nationalities, are much greater than in the days of Israel. …
“We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination, seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls. Let literature be distributed judiciously on the trains, in the street, on the great ships that ply the seas, and through the mails.
“Christians who are living in the great centers of commerce and travel have special opportunities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to labor quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven.” The Review and Herald, January 25, 1906.
4 LEARNING FROM SOLOMON’S FALL
- Why was Solomon’s fall so tragic? Proverbs 25:26. How can we avoid his steps of decline? II Corinthians 6:14–18.
Note: “[II Corinthians 6:14–18 quoted.]
“Never was there a time in earth’s history when this warning was more appropriate than at the present time. Many professed Christians think, like Solomon, that they may unite with the ungodly, because their influence over those who are in the wrong will be beneficial; but too often they themselves, entrapped and overcome, yield their sacred faith, sacrifice principle, and separate themselves from God. One false step leads to another, till at last they place themselves where they can not hope to break the chains that bind them.” The Review and Herald, February 1, 1906.
- What are some important principles that Solomon had to relearn as a result of his apostasy? Proverbs 22:4, 8.
Note: “In his later years, turning wearied and thirsting from earth’s broken cisterns, Solomon returned to drink at the fountain of life. The history of his wasted years, with their lessons of warning, he by the Spirit of inspiration recorded for after generations. And thus, although the seed of his sowing was reaped by his people in harvests of evil, the lifework of Solomon was not wholly lost. For him at last the discipline of suffering accomplished its work.” Education, 153, 154.
“Solomon’s later writings reveal that he realized the wickedness of his course, and sought to warn those who were in danger of going astray.” The Review and Herald, February 8, 1906.
- In his bitter anguish of remorse over the influence he had cast, what was Solomon constrained to declare? Ecclesiastes 9:18; 10:1, 5, 6. How should this affect us?
Note: “Solomon’s repentance was sincere, but the harm that his example of evil-doing had done the people, could not well be remedied.” The Review and Herald, February 15, 1906.
5 A SAVORY INFLUENCE
- How are we bidden to guard carefully the influence we exert upon others? Luke 14:34, 35; Colossians 4:6; II Corinthians 2:14–16.
Note: “Among the many lessons taught by Solomon’s life, none is more strongly emphasized than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be our sphere, we still exert an influence for weal or woe. Beyond our knowledge or control, it tells upon others in blessing or cursing. It may be heavy with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of some cherished sin; or it may be charged with the life-giving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. But potent for good or for ill it will surely be.” Prophets and Kings, 85.
- What is the final summary of the wisdom that God offers us through Solomon? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Philippians 2:5–11.
Note: “We should ask ourselves, For what are we living and working? And what will be the outcome of it all? We need the religion of Jesus Christ daily; for everything we do or say comes under the notice of God. ‘We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.’ What we are at heart, we reveal in life. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, are the result of what we are; and our influence is a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death, according to whether we abide in Christ or not. In the judgment we shall be brought face to face with those whom we have had opportunity to help by directing them, through choice words of counsel, into right, safe paths. If we have a daily connection with God, we shall have a living, abiding interest in the saving of the souls of men, and our influence will be a savor of life unto life.” The Signs of the Times, November 21, 1892.
Review and Thought Questions
1 What triggered the first steps in Solomon’s apostasy?
2 How was Christ’s life a sharp contrast to the king’s?
3 What vital opportunities may we be overlooking today?
4 Explain the most tragic aspect of Solomon’s fall.
5 What are the secrets to exerting a right influence?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.