Dr. David Ayer
In this age of scandal, where so many of our prominent leaders have fallen, I have been asking, “How is this happening?” The answers to this question are as wide-ranging as the diversity of the people involved. Because of this, I began to seek the answer to what happened to another great man of God. “What happened to Solomon?”
We need to understand something before we can really begin this conversation. Since the beginning, Satan’s goal is always to keep us, God’s people, in slavery. Why? Because when we are oppressed and serving another power, we can’t fulfill God’s design for our lives (Spiritual DNA). So, the Lord sets us free from our “Egypt” of sin slavery. He redeems and then empowers us to show the world that there’s a better way to live, full of healing and true freedom. Satan could not hold us back, because Jesus has won.
Then how does the enemy bring God’s people back into slavery? The Cross defeated him. Through the resurrection, we are justified, so Satan has no claim to us. So, how can this happen? Simple. He makes you want Egypt.
Satan could not keep God’s people in Egypt.
All of us know the story, but few have really understood what happened in the Exodus. In each of the plagues, the LORD judged Egypt and its gods (Exodus 12.12). What I mean is that each plague was designed to touch the domains of one or more of Egypt’s gods to show them to be powerless before the Lord. Here’s a short list of plagues and the gods the Lord judged through them.
- Nile to Blood: Osiris, Isis, Horus, and specifically Ha’pi, the god of the Nile
- Frogs: Heqit, goddess of fertility and water renewal
- Lice/Gnats/Sand Flies: Geb, god of the earth & vegetation
- Swarming Flies: Kepfi, god of creation, movement of the sun & insects
- Livestock: Apis/Mnevis- bull; Hathor- cow; Khmum- ram
- Boils: Thoth/Imhotep, god of medicine, and Isis, goddess of medicine
- Hail, Thunder & Fire: Nut, goddess of sky; Shu, the god of wind; and Hosus, god of the sky
- Locusts: Nepri, grain god; Anubus, god of the fields; Seth, protector of the crops
- Darkness: Ra, sun god; Horus, god of sunrise; Shu, god of light
- Firstborn: Pharaoh, son of Ra
There are two messages here. The first is that there is no power that can stop Him. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. He has no equal. The second message is closely related to the first: No matter what you are facing, the Lord can set you FREE!
So, God makes a family of slaves, a nation, and calls them His children. Under David, the Lord makes this nation something that had not existed since Adam ate the fruit. He made Israel the Kingdom of God in the earth. Then the Lord gives Solomon Israel’s throne to establish the kingdom in peace and to build His temple. At this point, the Lord has poised Israel to become a global power to reveal to the nations that its God is supreme, and, thereby, draw the world to become devoted to Him alone.
We know the story. Solomon started out strongly. He goes to the Tabernacle of Moses and sacrifices a thousand burnt offerings. That night, the Lord appears to him and asks, “What shall I give you?,” and Solomon asks for wisdom. The Lord answers his request, and with it, also gives him the best of everything he didn’t ask for. It’s perfect… but something happened. Solomon changed his direction.
When Solomon went to Moses’ Tabernacle, the Ark was not there. Most of us forget that the Ark was still in the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem, so the Ark and God’s presence that hovered over it was not there. The Bronze Altar was.
I’m going to take a moment to state the obvious. For every great man or woman of God, it all started at an altar. Each of you started there. It’s where the fire fell. It’s where the calling came. It’s where your passion to do something great for God was kindled. It always starts at the altar. Though this is absolutely true, I need to say something that, when you first read it, is going to seem wrong. It doesn’t just matter that you went to the altar, at least not to everyone who will ever follow you as a leader. Whether you are their pastor or parent, a spiritual leader or a spouse, what matters most to everyone who will ever follow you is how you walk away from that altar.
Where are you going?
When we read a little further, Solomon is still walking with God, but he’s beginning to walk away, following his own direction. It’s subtle but still true. People often wonder what happened to Solomon. I mean, how does David’s son, the King of Israel, the wisest man who ever lived, end up becoming unfaithful to God and falling into idolatry? I think the clue is in 2 Chronicles 1:13-14.
2 Chronicles 1:13-14, 16
13Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place at Gibeon, from before the tent of meeting. And he reigned over Israel. 14Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, at which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem…16Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt…
Right after his sacrifice and the visitation from the Lord, Solomon sets a direction away from God and His commands. “Solomon gathered chariots and horses…” This doesn’t look like much. The problem is that the Lord told Israel’s Kings NOT to. In Deuteronomy 17, we find the regulations for Israel’s king.
Deuteronomy 17.15a, 16-17
15you shall surely set a king over you …16But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
The Lord told Israel that the king was not to multiply horses to himself, nor return to Egypt to get them, but that is exactly what Solomon does. He takes Israel back to the place they were slaves to get horses for himself. It does not take a lot of imagination to realize that it was probably on one of those trips to Egypt to get horses that Solomon set the treaty with Pharaoh (1 Kings 3.1), and noticed the beauty of his young daughter. So, that means that everything that happened after this, Solomon’s fall into idolatry, the divided kingdom, and ultimately the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities – all of it – was the result of ignoring God’s Word about gathering horses.
In this age, when so many hear God’s Word and consider it irrelevant or reason that it was for another time and can’t be considered a compass for morality at this moment in time, I want us to be cautious of what we throw away. We can always reason our way out of having to follow God in areas where we want to do something different than what He prescribes. We say, “It’s JUST a horse!!!” But so did Solomon.
A great man that many of us would know used to say, “Sin will take you further than you wanted to go and cost more than you wanted to pay.” We must remember that the enemy’s goal is always to keep God’s people enslaved. Satan could not keep Israel enslaved in Egypt, so he made them want Egypt so badly that they’d bring it back into the land of promise with them to enslave them there. That is why God warned against horses.
I want to conclude with this: Satan cannot stop the ministry that God has placed inside each of you! His only hope is to get you to stop yourself. Where does the enemy want you to compromise? Where is he telling you, “It’s just a Horse?” You see, it’s not the horse he wants you to buy. It’s what’s behind It!
Dr. David Ayer, and his beautiful wife Denise, currently pastor New Life Church near Williamsport, PA. Both have traveled internationally as missionary evangelists and conference speakers. David holds master’s degrees in Christian Theology (TEDS) and New Testament (Ashland). His doctorate is in Christian Discipleship in a Postmodern Context (United). David is also the author of the book: Where Are The Davids?