There are many examples in the Bible of people making bad judgements. Just start in Genesis with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their choice of fruit. Or of King David and his choice of women concerning his adultery with Bathsheba resulting in the murder of her husband.
But to me the most stunning example of bad judgement is surprisingly found in the life of Solomon since he is reported to be “the wisest man on earth.” Even the queen of Sheba came from her realm with a bountiful retinue to see for herself and she said “Nevertheless I did not believe the reports, until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard.” 1 Kings 10:7, Solomon took his father’s kingdom upon David’s death and God asked him what He could give him and the his request was for wisdom and understanding in order to rule God’s people rightly. And God honored his request plus gave him that which he did not ask, wealth and honor. 1 King. 3:5-14
So Solomon ruled Israel with glory like no other king before or after and his fame spread far abroad and God’s glory followed after for years. But Solomon clearly understood God’s favor was conditional because God told him, “If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.” v.14 But toward the end of Solomon’s reign we find that he strayed widely from God’s ways. It is not until we get to chapter 11 that we read
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 1 Kings 1-4
Its astounding that the most wise man in the world could become the most stupid in just a few short decades! And the only reason given is that he married a lot of pagan, godless women. He did exactly what he knew was forbidden. It is true that the allure of a women can be overwhelming and a man disregards that to his peril; Solomon proves that. He is so out of control. The creatures of this world made a wedge between him and his relationship with the LORD. He went so far as to built all kinds of pagan temples for his wives around Jerusalem and the kingdom became divided. Basically, he abandoned God, his toys became his god. It is supposed to be when you get older you have a much more broad exposure to life and the world that you gain the wisdom to know what really matters. But here we see that Solomon abandons all wisdom in his old age!
If this could happen to the wisest man on earth how easily can it happen to the rest of us with lesser mental acumen? The answer is, it can happen all too easily, probably as imperceptibly as it may have happened to Solomon if we are not careful. How can we guard against this? There are many verses in the New Testament to help, even all of Scripture! Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. or Philipians 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. or Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, etc. But knowing God’s Word fully from Genesis to Revelation, reading the Word daily is one of the surest ways of keeping focus on God and knowing Him better and understanding what can happen in our lives, and what He can do, because we see what has happened in the lives of those who have gone before. “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” Colosians 3:16 The emphasis is on “richly” and “dwell.” “Dwell” as in actively working and moving and stirring, not as a lump causing a stomach ache. And “richly” as in causing much profit spiritually, not as in wrapped in a handkerchief and buried in the dirt in your backyard.
After Solomon came a string of kings most of whom followed the Lord but who, toward the end of their reigns, made tragic mistakes rather than relying on the Lord. But there is one standout I’ll talk about next who is a brilliant example for us in out daily lives to give us hope in those “against-all-odds” occasions.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]