The Health Reformer

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April 1, 1878

The Apostasy of Solomon

EGW

The Mount of Offense

In the days of Christ there were still to be seen opposite the Kidron, on the southern eminence of the Mount of Olives, huge stones, and relics of heathen temples and altars. This debris was in sight of the temple of God, and seemed to defiantly confront it. King Solomon had built those heathen sanctuaries during the time of his departure from God, and though they had subsequently been destroyed, their remnants were still remaining as memorials of his apostasy. During Josiah's reign, unsightly blocks of wood and stone were to be seen peering through the myrtle and olive groves. HR April 1, 1878, par. 1

Josiah had read to priests and people the book of the law found in the side of the ark in the house of God. His sensitive conscience was deeply stirred as he saw how far the people had departed from the requirements of the covenant they had made with God. He saw that they were indulging appetite to a fearful extent, and perverting their senses by the use of wine. Men in sacred offices were frequently incapacitated for the duties of their positions, because of their indulgence in wine. HR April 1, 1878, par. 2

Appetite and passion were fast gaining the ascendency over the reason and judgment of the people, till they could not discern that the retribution of God would follow upon their corrupt course. Josiah, the youthful reformer, in the fear of God demolished the profane sanctuaries and hideous idols built for heathen worship, and the altars reared for sacrifices to heathen deities. Yet there were still to be seen in Christ's time the memorials of the sad apostasy of the king of Israel and his people. HR April 1, 1878, par. 3

Solomon, at the age of eighteen years, commenced his reign upon the throne of his father, David. He felt his need of strength from God. He asked for it humbly, and it was given to him. When he, at this early age, assumed the reins of government, he was cautious and distrustful of himself. He placed great confidence in the men who had wisely sustained his father, and deferred to their counsel. He did not feel competent to fill so responsible a position without the aid of wiser and more experienced heads. HR April 1, 1878, par. 4

God perceived the desire of Solomon to walk with integrity before him, and to deal justly with his people, and, in a dream, asked what he should give him. And Solomon, after recounting the goodness of God to him, and to his father David, answered the Lord, saying, “I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” HR April 1, 1878, par. 5

The Lord was pleased with Solomon's answer, because, instead of asking any personal favor for himself, he asked for power to guide his people aright. God said unto Solomon, “Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor; so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.” HR April 1, 1878, par. 6

Solomon's youth was illustrious, because he was connected with Heaven, and made God his dependence and his strength. God has called him Jedidiah, which, interpreted, means The Beloved of God. He had been the pride and hope of his father, and well beloved in the sight of his mother. He had been surrounded by every worldly advantage that could improve his education and increase his wisdom. But, on the other hand, the corruption of court life was calculated to lead him to love amusement and the gratification of his appetite. He never felt the want of means by which to gratify his desires, and never had need to exercise self-denial. HR April 1, 1878, par. 7

Notwithstanding all these objectionable surroundings, the character of Solomon was preserved in purity during his youth. God's angel could talk with him in the night season; and the divine promise to give him understanding and judgment, and to fully qualify him for his responsible work, was faithfully kept. In the history of Solomon we have the assurance that God will do great things for those who love him, who are obedient to his commandments, and trust in him as their surety and strength. HR April 1, 1878, par. 8

Many of our youth suffer shipwreck in the dangerous voyage of life, because they are self-confident and presumptuous. They follow their inclinations, and are allured by amusements, and indulgence of appetite, till habits are formed which become shackles, impossible for them to break, and which drag them down to ruin. Their once bright hopes and prospects are wrecked, and they are held in the veriest bondage to Satan. If the youth of our day would, like young King Solomon, feel their need of heavenly wisdom, and seek to develop and strengthen their higher faculties, and consecrate them to the service of God, their lives would show great and noble results, and bring pure and holy happiness to themselves and many others. HR April 1, 1878, par. 9

Those who do not make God their trust, but indulge their animal passions and appetites, are gradually overcome entirely by their evil propensities: their moral powers become enfeebled; they are unable to discriminate between right and wrong; and Satan takes advantage of this to lead them into carrying forward his work. Thus God is robbed of the service due him, and society is deprived of the benefits which would follow the proper use of the endowments which God has bestowed upon them to use for his glory. This debasement of the higher qualities of the mind to the slavery of appetite and passion is a bondage more to be dreaded than prisons and fetters. HR April 1, 1878, par. 10

God made man in his own image for high and noble purposes, such as are the delight of angels. If he connects with Heaven, the wisdom of Heaven will be given him, as in the case of Solomon in the years of his youth and purity. Continual dependence upon God, and obedience to him, will prevent man from imitating the example of Solomon in his mature years, when evil associates and unsanctified connections led him into apostasy and ruin. If the youth are connected with Heaven they will be able to discern evil from good, and to penetrate the specious appearance with which vice hides its hideousness. They will carefully consider every step they take, realizing that it can never be retraced, and that when they are once led astray by the deceitful devices of sin, they are weakened in principle, and are in double danger of again becoming the victims of temptation. HR April 1, 1878, par. 11

The thought of our responsibility to God should be the strongest safeguard to finite minds. It is a solemn thought that our individual being is inseparably bound to the infinite God. Christ, our Saviour, has, by the sacrifice of his own life, brought to man, who was feeble in moral power, divine strength, that, through his name and merits, man might become, even in this life, little less than the angels of God. Whatever course we may choose to pursue, so long as we possess our reason we can never cease to be responsible to God for our words and deeds. HR April 1, 1878, par. 12

It is the basest ingratitude to accept the favors and blessings of God with the indifference of dumb brutes, without making any acknowledgment of his goodness, or meeting the claims he has upon us. Our faculties are given us to be used in the work of God; and if we answer this purpose of our existence, still more important work will be intrusted to us; we shall be co-laborers with the Creator of the universe, ambassadors for Christ. We shall be elevated above the taint of selfishness and moral defilement; and the thought that we are living for a grand and noble purpose, fulfilling the design of our being, will make us earnest, cheerful, and strong under all discouragements and difficulties. HR April 1, 1878, par. 13

The mental and moral powers of Solomon in his early life were unequaled by those of any king that ever sat upon an earthly throne. His wise rule was the praise of all nations; and his purity and goodness enshrined him in the hearts of all his people. The fear of the Lord, and a right connection with him, does not disqualify men for dealing with people of different minds and temperaments, but, on the other hand, does much toward qualifying them for the most important posts of responsibility in this life. HR April 1, 1878, par. 14

God was glorified through Solomon, and he loved him, and favored his servant with the highest prosperity. His dominion extended from the Euphrates to the river of Egypt. He built a magnificent temple for God. He hearkened to the word of the Lord, and was so closely connected with him that the Lord gave him all the directions for building his temple. HR April 1, 1878, par. 15

Solomon, under all his honors, walked wisely and firmly in the counsels of God for a considerable time; but he was overcome at length by temptations that came through his prosperity. He had lived luxuriously from his youth. His appetite had been gratified with the most delicate and expensive dainties. The effects of this luxurious living, and the free use of wine, finally clouded his intellect, and caused him to depart from God. He entered into rash and sinful marriage relations with idolatrous women. HR April 1, 1878, par. 16

This was contrary to the special directions of God, who had forbidden the Hebrews to intermarry with the heathen nations around them, lest their wives, having been reared in idolatry, should draw the hearts of the people away from the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and they themselves should become worshipers of idols. If they should thus separate from God, their wisdom and power would be no higher than those of the heathen nations around them. God was ever leading his people upward and onward if they would submit to his guidance. HR April 1, 1878, par. 17

Solomon was ruined by intemperate habits; had it not been for them, his later years would have been as illustrious as his earlier ones. In following his own inclinations he separated himself from God. He commenced to follow his own judgment, step by step, seeking less and less the wisdom of God, which would have kept him pure. At length God was forgotten, and his only care was for pleasure and self-gratification. HR April 1, 1878, par. 18

After his unsanctified alliance with many idolatrous women, Solomon, in his desire to please them, was led away from God, and into idolatry, in proof of which the ruins we have mentioned still remained in the days of Christ. In the decline of life, this great king plunged into sinful indulgences, and the grossest excesses. The wonderful intelligence and ability which had once been devoted to God, and to his glory, were now employed in devising means by which he could best gratify his carnal desires for pleasure and his own glory. God did not, however, utterly forsake him who had once been his faithful servant. His moral powers, which had become benumbed through dissipation and lasciviousness, were mercifully aroused; and in proof of his reformation, we have the relation of his experience given in his inspired writings. HR April 1, 1878, par. 19