The Retirement Years


Solomon's Life of Backsliding

The life of Solomon is full of warning, not only to youth, but to those of mature years and to the aged, those who are descending the hill of life and facing the western sun.... RY 178.2

When Solomon should have been in character as a sturdy oak, he fell from his steadfastness under the power of temptation. When his strength should have been the firmest, he was found the weakest of men. RY 178.3

From such examples as this we should learn that watchfulness and prayer are the only safety for either young or old. Satan will so shape circumstances that unless we are kept by divine power they will almost imperceptibly weaken the fortifications of the soul. We need to inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” RY 178.4

As long as life shall last, there is need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. There is inward corruption, there are outward temptations, and wherever the work of God shall be advanced, Satan plans so to arrange circumstances that temptation shall come with overpowering force upon the soul. Not one moment can we be secure, only as we are relying upon God, the life hid with Christ in God. RY 178.5

Notwithstanding the warnings in the Word of God and in the testimonies of His Spirit, many have closed their eyes to danger and have gone on in their own way, infatuated, deluded by Satan until they fall under his temptations. Then they abandon themselves to despair. This was the history of Solomon. But even for him there was help. He truly repented of his course of sin, and found help. RY 179.1

Let none venture into sin as he did, in the hope that they too may recover themselves. Sin can be indulged only at the peril of infinite loss. But none who have fallen need give themselves up to despair. Aged men, once honored of God, may have defiled their souls, sacrificing virtue on the altar of lust; but there is still hope for them if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God. RY 179.2

The misapplication of noble talents in Solomon's case should be a warning to all.... His history stands as a beacon of warning that young and old may learn the sure result of departure from the ways of the Lord. RY 179.3

Solomon acted in direct opposition to God's will. God had made him the depositary of sacred truths, but he proved unfaithful to his holy trust. Evil communications corrupted good manners. He entered into political alliance with pagan kingdoms, especially with Egypt and Phoenicia. One wrong step led to another. Through his associations with these nations, their heathen practices became less abhorrent to him, and at last their sensual customs and their darkest worships were imported into Palestine. Solomon's fine sensibilities were blunted, his conscience seared. He became weak and vacillating. The justice of his early reign gave place to tyranny. Once the guardian of his people, he became a despot. To support his extravagance and profligacy he imposed a grinding taxation upon the poor. RY 179.4

He who had said to his people at the dedication of the temple, “Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God,” became himself the offender. In heart and life he denied his own words. He mistook license for liberty. He tried, but at what cost, to unite light with darkness, Christ with Belial, purity with impurity, good with evil. Shall we give heed to the warning, and shun the first approach to those sins which overcame him who was called the wisest of men?—Letter 8b, 1891. RY 180.1