God’s Blessings and Wrath Toward King Solomon
In the biblical record of King Solomon, he had received great blessings from God, becoming the wisest king in all of history. Israel achieved unprecedented prosperity and flourishing during his reign. However, King Solomon incurred the wrath of Jehovah God by becoming depraved and suffered rejection and condemnation by God. After his death, Israel was split asunder. So how should we know God’s disposition from His two different attitudes toward Solomon? What of His will is God conveying to us? Let’s explore the story of Solomon together.
God Blesses and Has Mercy on Those Who Take His Will to Heart
It is recorded in the Bible, “In Gibeon Jehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give you. And Solomon said, … Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people? And the speech pleased Jehovah, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said to him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies; but have asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to your words: see, I have given you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like to you. And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like to you all your days” (1 Kings 3:5, 9–13).
We can see from Jehovah God’s promise to Solomon that He particularly graced and blessed those who took His will to heart. Solomon did not ask that God bestow material wealth or a long life upon him, but instead asked that God grant him wisdom so that he could better rule over the people and lead them to worship God. There was no selfishness in Solomon’s entreaty or any adulteration of his personal interests. It was just to be considerate of God, to meet His will, and to rule the Israelites well—this brought joy to God. And in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule he began erecting the temple for Jehovah, which took a total of seven and a half years to complete. Solomon’s actions were in line with God’s will, thus God greatly blessed him. He not only bestowed on him the greatest wisdom a king had ever possessed, but also innumerable riches, unmatched by any other king on earth during his lifetime.
God Rejects and Curses Those Who Offend His Disposition
But Solomon, so blessed by Jehovah God, later became depraved and did many things seen as evil in Jehovah God’s eyes.
In the Ten Commandments issued by Jehovah God, He said: “You shall have none other gods before me. … You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I Jehovah your God am a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 5:7, 9). At the time, Moses told the Israelites: “Neither shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son, nor his daughter shall you take to your son. For they will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and destroy you suddenly” (Deuteronomy 7:3–4). Jehovah God also appeared to Solomon and personally exhorted him: “But if you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them” (1 Kings 9:6–7).
God forbade the Israelites from marrying Gentiles, and even more strictly forbade them from serving or bowing down before other Gods. That offended God’s disposition and would incur His damnation and punishment. However, Solomon did not know God’s disposition and did not have a heart of reverence for God. He turned a deaf ear to God’s commandments and laws; he had a lavish palace built for himself that was under construction for 13 years and he had over a thousand wives and concubines. He reveled nonstop in the pleasures of the flesh and even worshiped idols along with Gentile women; he also had idolatrous altars constructed on a hill opposite Jerusalem. These things that Solomon did seriously violated God’s commandments and offended God’s disposition. Even when Jehovah God’s warning befell Solomon he still failed to take it seriously, continuing his dissolute life of food and drink, sinking deeper and deeper into sin. This incurred God’s loathing, leading Him to express His wrath: “For as much as this is done of you, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely rend the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant” (1 Kings 11:11).
God’s Disposition Not Only Contains Mercy and Love but Particularly Majesty and Wrath
Which aspects of God’s disposition can we know from Jehovah God blessing Solomon, and then expressing His wrath? It says in God’s word: “In reality, God’s thoughts are constantly transforming according to changes in things and in environments; while these thoughts are transforming, different aspects of God’s substance will be revealed. … Furthermore, God uses His own true revelations to prove to mankind the truth of the existence of His wrath, His mercy, His lovingkindness and His tolerance. His substance will be revealed at any time and any place in accordance with the development of things. He possesses a lion’s wrath and a mother’s mercy and tolerance. His righteous disposition is not allowed to be questioned, violated, changed or distorted by any person” (“God Himself, the Unique II”). “The mercy and tolerance of God do indeed exist, but God’s holiness and righteousness when He unleashes His wrath also show man the side of God that brooks no offense. When man is fully capable of obeying the commands of God and acts in accordance with God’s requirements, God is abundant in His mercy toward man; when man has been filled with corruption, hatred and enmity for Him, God is profoundly angry” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II”). We can see from these words that God not only possesses mercy and love, but also majesty and wrath. He can bestow blessings upon people, and He can also express His wrath; this is determined by His righteous disposition. In addition, God’s attitude toward people is not immutable; He may change His attitude based on someone’s seeking, as well as their attitude toward the truth, the commission He has given them, and His requirements. When someone holds reverence for God in their heart, they are willing to take His will to heart, they seek to love and satisfy God, they focus on following God’s commandments, and they do their utmost to act according to God’s requirements, He approves of and blesses their deed; He is full of mercy and love for them. But when someone violates His commandments, insisting on doing things they well know offend God’s disposition or even openly oppose and resist God, God rejects and condemns them, or even curses and punishes them. It is at times like these that God is full of majesty and wrath toward people. Just like the time Solomon’s reign had just begun—he took God’s will to heart, wanting to rule God’s people well and lead them to worship God, which is why he asked God for wisdom, wanting to use the wisdom bestowed upon him to do things that would satisfy God and accomplish God’s commission. God treasured Solomon’s seeking and his consideration of God, so greatly blessed him. When Solomon violated God’s commandments, lusting after beauty, living within the pleasures of the flesh, and even rejecting Jehovah God, worshiping the idols of the Gentiles and doing things to infuriate God, God expressed His wrath to Solomon. God wrested his kingdom away from him and after his death, Israel was split apart.
The story of Solomon is not only a wake-up call for us, but it also shifts our definitions of God’s disposition. The God we believe in is righteous and He is not as we imagine, all love and mercy, and no matter how we sin or oppose Him He will still be merciful and forgive us. On the contrary, God is constantly examining our words and deeds, our every movement. If we have hearts of reverence for God, if our thoughts and our actions are in line with the truth, are for the sake of satisfying and obeying God and taking His will to heart, then God will grace and bless us. If we are aware of the truth but do not put it into practice, still violating His commandments and doing evil things that oppose God, offending His disposition, then God’s punishment and damnation will befall us. In this evil age there are too many temptations, too many tests. There are countless entertainment venues that can pull our hearts away from God, leading us down into Satan’s temptations. Without the truth, we don’t know God’s righteous disposition that will tolerate no offense, we won’t have a heart of reverence for God, and it will be very difficult to resist the many temptations from Satan. We could do something that offends God’s disposition at any moment. This is why each and every one of us should maintain a heart of reverence for God, frequently observe His words, and be cautious in our words and deeds. We should take Solomon’s failure as a warning to ourselves not to do things that offend God’s disposition, and to take God’s will to heart, often putting His requirements into practice so that when trials befall us we may receive God’s protection, and gain His grace and blessings!