“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with (loyal to) the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.”1 Kings 11:4-6
I was speaking with some friends recently, and they talked about picking a wedding date that would be hard to forget. I have never struggled with forgetting what day I was married as it was quite a memorable occasion. The day may come when I do not quite remember as I used to, but I am thankful that the day has not come yet. I have spoken to some men on the phone who struggled to remember their wife’s birthday or the birthdays of their children. I could hear the wife in the background not too happy and I imagined them with their hands on their hips, shaking their head in disbelief. I am not sure how Solomon kept all the anniversary dates of all the woman he married, but I know his marriages were not pleasing to the Lord.
I used to run in an event called the Pancake Race, duly named because of the pancakes you would get at the end of the race. You could do the 5K or the “Double Stack”, which was the 5K followed by a 10K run. I had church that morning, so I opted for the 5K run for which I trained a couple of months. The weather was a bit chilly on race day, but it was perfect weather for running. The excitement of the race got the butterflies going in my stomach, which increased as I neared the starting line. Off I went at a pace which was challenging to me and I felt good coming out of the gate. I was about halfway through the race when I felt like a rock hit the back of my calf. I instantly grew angry and turned around to see who the culprit was from the grassy knoll. I saw no one when I turned around, and I quickly discovered I had a bigger problem.
My anger turned to pain as I realized something had happened inside of my right calf. The pain was excruciating with every step I took, but I pressed on despite the pain. I figured the quicker I finished the race, the quicker I could stop and the pain would hopefully subside. I tied for my best time as I crossed the finish line, and I was so relieved to be able to stop. I learned I had a partial tear in my calf muscle which sidelined me for a couple of months. I went to church that morning with a limp, and my own daughter called me the bell ringer, Quasimodo. I was proud of the fact that I finished that race, and I realized the importance of starting strong and ending strong, no matter the circumstances that are thrown at you.
Solomon started his tenure as a new king with the opening up of the temple that God had allowed him to build. He was blessed with no wars, riches untold, and the title of the wisest man to have ever walked this earth. He dedicated the temple to God, and he praised the Kings of Kings for His goodness to His people and all the blessings He had bestowed upon the Israelites. Sadly, he did not finish his life race the same way he started as the women he married took his heart away from God. His father, David, had a heart after God, but Solomon did not follow in those footsteps. His heart changed toward God as he sought after the false gods of his wives. He had been so blessed in his life, but he came up short at the end of his race.
Where are you today friend? Where are you on the race that is set before you? Are you pursuing God as you once did? Have you stopped due to “injury”, or are you still running the race despite the pain and hurt you feel? Keep your heart after God, and you can have the testimony of David whose heart was loyal to God. Will you finish your race like David or like Solomon? May our hearts be pleasing and honoring to God.