1 Kings 11:9-43: The Chastening of the Lord
We come to the last message in the life of Solomon and the question that immediately jumps into our mind is: did Solomon go to heaven? If 1 kings 11:1-8 was all we were told then we might say no. However, the book of Ecclesiastes is a memoir of a sort written by Solomon and it is credited to be written by him at the end of his long life. The book describes the futility of the many things Solomon engaged in and how the meaning of life is to love God and keep His commands, Ecc. 12:13-14, ‘The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.14 For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.’ Solomon returned from his backsliding. He began well and the blessing of God fell on him and the nation, but then he sinned, and the chastening of God fell on him and the nation. This final section of Solomon’s reign focuses us on God’s judicial response to Solomon’s sins. This must not be overlooked. Yes Solomon went to heaven, but the suffering and destruction he suffered and caused others to suffer is highlighted by God punishing Israel.
As we close the life of Solomon I thought it would be appropriate to think about suffering and its relationship to sin in the life of a believer. Solomon went to heaven, fine, but his sin caused terrible pain for himself and others. As Christians we are not so crass as to think that as long as he got into heaven everything is okay. God is glorified or defamed by the holy or sinful lives of His saints. God is holy and takes sin in the lives of His children seriously. We will talk about the connection between sin and suffering generally and then look at the 3 chastening rods God used against Israel.