The zenith of Solomon’s accomplishments in 1 Kings 10 comes plunging down in 1 Kings 11. Beginning with the first verse you read, “But king Solomon loved many strange women…and his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kings 11:1, 3). He lost his perfect heart. Can you imagine what it must feel like when you read, “The Lord was angry with Solomon” (1 Kings 11:9)? What does it take to make the Lord angry? If you knew this, wouldn’t you avoid it at all costs?
Look early in Solomon’s life. He was aware of the possibility of God’s anger. At the dedication service for the newly constructed Temple, Solomon prayed, “If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them” (1 Kings 8:46). We know God is not quick-tempered. “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15). The original word for anger centers on the word for “nose” or “nostril.” When God is longsuffering, He is slowly drawing in the breath which abates His wrath. In order to make God angry, you must continue to trespass His righteousness and violate His graciousness so much He no longer draws His patient breath.
What did Solomon do to outstrip God’s mercy? You may say it was his harem. This was certainly forbidden by God, but there is more. You may say it was the worship of his wives’ false gods. You are getting warmer, but let’s appeal to Psalm 2 for some insight. The last verse of the psalm offers the counsel, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry” (Psalm 2:12). Glance at the beginning of the psalm and you will find the single transgression which invites the anger of the Lord: “Why do the…kings of the earth set themselves…against the Lord” (Psalm 2:1–2).
What solicits God’s anger upon one’s life? Rival His kingdom with your own. This self-appointed reign takes many forms. In Solomon’s story, His kingdom became the pursuit of pleasing numero uno. “I was great, and increased more than all that were before me…And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them” (Ecclesiastes 2:9–10). Solomon “clave unto these in love” (1 Kings 11:2). He set himself against the Lord when he “went not fully after the Lord” (1 Kings 11:6).
The life which siphons off some of God in order to make room for something else eventually will see the expiration of God’s longsuffering. “Be wise now therefore…Serve the Lord with fear…Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:10–12).
Learn from Solomon’s unfortunate decision. Complete surrender (kiss the Son) and consecrated service will preserve your days upon this earth from the wrath of God. With God, it is all or nothing.
“My servant…had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully” (Num. 14:24).