Lesson 4: Solomon, a heart that was turned

Intro: In the previous lesson we saw how Israel’s first king, Saul, failed as king because of pride. As Samuel said, the next king would be a man after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13.14). However, before we begin looking at David’s life let’s turn our attention to his son, Solomon.

Solomon looked to be a man after God’s own heart

Recall that in Deuteronomy 17.14-20 God laid out several criteria for Israel’s king: 

  1. He would be one of the people, chosen by God (vs. 15).
  2. He would put his trust in the Lord (vss. 16-17).
  3. He would be guided by the word of God (vss. 18-19)

If the king would follow the Lord, God promised that his kingdom would endure (vs. 20). David understood this promise, so he exhorted his son to follow in God’s ways: “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kings 2:2–4)

Based on the early portion of Solomon’s reign, he looked to be like his father; a man after God’s own heart. So, when the Lord instructed him to “ask what you wish me to give you” (1Kings 3.5), Solomon responded: “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:7–9).  

The tragedy of Solomon: his heart was turned.

While Solomon’s reign began with him placing his trust in the Lord, he would ultimately put his trust in all the things God had warned against in Deuteronomy 17.16-17. 

  • Horses, i.e. military might (1Kings 10.26-29)
  • Wives, i.e. political alliances (1Kings 3.1; 11.1-4) 
  • Money, i.e. economic prosperity (1Kings 10.14-23)

And because Solomon put his trust in things other than his God, the results were truly tragic.

  • His heart was lifted over his brethren (1Kings 12.4) 
  • He departed from the Lord (1Kings 11.4-8) 
  • His kingdom was torn apart (1Kings 11.9-13) 

What makes this tragedy even worse is that Solomon knew better! He had wisdom and insight from God! He knew that…

  • God is the true source of strength (Proverbs 18.10) 
  • It is pointless to place trust in riches (Proverbs 11.28)
  • Horses would not grant victory (Proverbs 21.31)
  • The key to life is to fear God and follow Him (Proverbs 9.10-11) 


  1. You can’t inherit a heart. David followed the Lord and he encouraged his son to do the same, but ultimately Solomon was responsible for himself. He had every opportunity to follow the Lord, but ultimately chose to turn from His ways. You can develop a heart that follows the Lord, but you can’t inherit one.
  2. It’s not enough to know that we should trust in God. Solomon possessed this knowledge, but He did not live by it!
  3. The heart must be guarded.  Solomon did not watch over his heart, rather he allowed it to be turned by power, money and his wives. Ultimately, he did not heed his own wisdom: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

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