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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Making Decisions As a Christian
Lesson Objectives: At the end of lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Identify source of Solomon’s wisdom,
ii. Explain how Solomon used his wisdom,
iii. Specify the importance of making wise decisions in life,
iv. Recognise God as the source of wisdom,
v. Identify Solomon’s unwise decisions,
vi. Describe the circumstances that led to Rehoboam’s decision,
vii. Discuss the consequences of unwise decisions.
Solomon’s Wisdom (1King 3:3 – 28, 4:21 – 34, 5:1 – 12, 8:1 – 53)
Some English dictionaries define decision to mean settled, determined, bring to resolution, give judgement etc. From this, it follows that a good or bad decision determine how well things are going to work out in future. Therefore in order to make good decision, one requires wisdom. It is wisdom that enables a person to foresee the future and take good decision.
The success of any leader is largely determined on his or her ability to take bad decisions. This, to a great extent, explains the reasons why Solomon requested for wisdom when God appeared to him in dream in Gibeon.
When Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice to the Lord, God appeared to him in a dream by night and God said to him, “ask whatever I shall give you” Solomon requested wisdom from God.
“Give to your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern the people that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this that great people? (1 Kings 3:9)
Solomon’s request pleased the Lord very much and God said that because Solomon had not asked for riches for himself of or the life of his enemies but has simply asked for understanding to discern justice he would give Solomon wisdom to the extent that no one would equal or supersede him. God equally granted Solomon what he did not ask for-riches and honour with a promise to further lengthen his days if he would walk in the way of the Lord keeping his commandments and his status.
King Solomon’s gift of wisdom was demonstrated when two harden struggling for a baby came to him for judgement. These two women lived together in a house and both gave birth each to a baby, one died and the both of them lay claims on the living baby. Solomon ruled that the baby should be cut into two parts and each parts should be given to the women involved. The actual mother of the baby wept and appealed to the king not to divide the baby but that instead, he should give it to her rival while the other woman said. “It shall be neither mine, nor yours, divide it” from their reactions. Solomon was able to know the actual mother of the baby. This type of display of wisdom was rare in those days and this made Solomon famous.
Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the surrounding nations, and they came to behold his wisdom. He spoke three thousand Proverbs and composed one thousand and five songs.
In terms of wealth, Solomon was very rich. The Bible records that he reigned over all the kingdoms. From the river to the land of the Philistines as far as the border of Egypt, they brought tribute to Solomon and served him. Solomon made arrangement with Hiram of Tyre to supply him with cedar and Cypress timbers with which to build the temple of the Lord as well as his personal house. In return he gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of Kors wheat and twenty measures of pressed oil as food for his household yearly. When Solomon eventually completed the temple, the ark of covenant was brought into the temple and he prayed and dedicated the temple to the Lord.
UNWISE DECISIONS OF SOLOMON AND REHOBOAM (1 KINGS 9:15 – 23, 11:1 – 13, 12:1 – 2)
Due to the relative peace that reigned during the time of Solomon, he lived in luxury. He engaged in so many expensive projects that required a lot of men and material resources. He raised forced labour and the citizens were heavily to finance these projects.
He was loosed with women; he married seven hundred wives and had three hundred concubines. To make it worse, he married these women from nations which the Lord warned the Israelites never to enter into marriages with, least they turn away their hearts after their gods. When Solomon married these women they eventually turned away his heart from following the ways of the Lord. These women brought their gods into Israel and Solomon built high places for these gods and his wives sacrificed to them. This act made God angry and led to the fall of Solomon and the break of Israel as a nation into two parts, God said to Solomon:
“Since these have been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statues which I have commanded you. I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David, your father i will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdoms; but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:11 – 13)
This decision by God was actually fulfilled in the days of Jeroboam who reigned after king Solomon.
Lessons To Learn From Solomon’s Misuse Of God’s Blessings Of Wisdom
i. God would always punish anyone who disobeys Him no matter how position.
ii. When we are in position of leadership, it is advisable to listen to the voicemail of those we are leading and consider their social well-being anytime we want to impose any tax, labour, law, etc.
iii. Solomon was at various times warned to desist from his wrong doings and return to the Lord, but he refused, we should learn to obey the voice of the Lord in all our undertakings so that we may succeed and prosper.
iv. Owing to his wisdom and wealth Solomon felt arrogant and proud. This contributed to his downfall.
Rehoboam’s Unwise Decision
When Solomon died, Rehoboam was made king. Jeroboam having heard that Solomon was dead, returned from Egypt where he has gone on self exile. Jeroboam joined the assembly of Israel and they went to Rehoboam and made a request thus:
“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard services of your father and his heavy yoke upon us and we will serve you.” (1 King 12:4).
Rehoboam replied them that they should come back after three days. Within these three days he sought counsel from his father’s advisers. The elders advised him that he should listen to the people’s request. However, he turned down this advice and took the advice of his age group who advised him to increase the people’s burden. When the assembly returned, Rehoboam spoke to them harshly according to the advice of the young men. When the people of Israel saw that the king did not listen to their request, they answered the king saying:
“What portion have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents O Israel! Look now to your house, David” (1 Kings 12:16)
This statement by the Israelites saw the formation of the Northern Kingdom which is Israel. Jeroboam was made king while Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in the Southern kingdom that is Judah.
i. Solomon’s wrong decision were the expensive projects he embarked on which made him to tax the people heavily and raise forced labour. The people became beast of burden under his administration.
ii. His numerous marriages with foreign women who brought their idols attracted the wrath of God. This made the Lord tear the kingdom during the reign of his son – Rehoboam.
iii. Rehoboam, on his part, committed a great diplomatic and political blunder by refusing the advice of the elders in reference to the advertisement of the young men. This made Israel revolt against him.
Lessons To Learn
i. Whenever things are going well for people in life, they must not allow it to get into their head. They must remember God almighty who is the source of their provision. Solomon’s luxury and comfort made him forget God who blessed him with all things and for his behaviour, his dynasty ended in disaster with the division of the kingdom.
ii. It should not be ruled out that it was in a bid to continue with luxury and extravagant life that his son, Rehoboam jettisoned the advice of the elders in preference to that of young men because he felt the young men’s advice would give him the opportunity to continue the enjoying luxury at the expense of others like his father did. He did not know that this will lead to revolt against him and subsequent division of the kingdom. This is a bad example. For people to be successful in life and ensure the success of their children they must avoid taking unwise decisions, particularly when they see that the interest of other people is at stake.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What are the things that made the Bible record Solomon as a wise king? Point out some of his decisions that were contrary to this assertion.
ii. Give an account on the division of the kingdom of Israel. What unwise policies or decisions of Solomon led to it?
iii. How did Rehoboam contribute to the division of the kingdom and what two lessons can be learnt from that.
iv. Discuss the source of Solomon’s wisdom and how to misused it. Mention any four lessons we can learn from this misuse.
v. Identify the actions taken by King Solomon which are commanded as mark of his wisdom.
vi. State two unwise decisions taken by King Solomon.
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