David and Solomon
We began this series by understanding that it was a horrible sin committed by Israel asking for a king, by which they sought to replace God and idolize a man.
The first king is Saul, called to a place of honor, had greatness thrust upon him but never received greatness within his soul. Like Judas, he was a tragedy of lost opportunity. He reveals the depravity of the human soul that rejects repentance because of sinful pride. The truth about Saul's rejection by God is found in 1 Samuel 15:18,
"So Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you."
God does not speak about any other kings as He does David. "Go, say to Jeroboam, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel says: "Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you—yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight; you also have done more evil than all who were before you" (1 Kings 14:7-9). This statement could be said about every king but one when compared to David.
It is so difficult for men to evaluate Solomon properly because he seems to fit so well into a success story. If a person's viewpoint is worldly, they will be in awe at Solomon. "When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings which he offered at the house of the LORD, she was breathless.?" (1 Kings 10:4-5)
Oh, how easy it is to be captivated with the things that don't matter at all in eternity. Let us consider the things that matter in the heart of God. "Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him regarding this thing, that he was not to follow other gods; but he did not comply with what the LORD had commanded. So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you, and will give it to your servant. However, I will not do it in your days, only for the sake of your father David; but I will tear it away from the hand of your son." (1 Kings 11:9-12)
Why would anyone value the Queen of Sheba's opinion at all when God declared His thoughts concerning Solomon? God tore the kingdom from Solomon; this is no small matter. The only reason his kingdom continued to the end of his life was for David's sake. God blessed David because he asked for wisdom and not for wealth. Wisdom alone does not salvation make. I do not know Solomon's heart, but it is sad to me that I can't say Solomon honored God with all his life like his father, David.
Indisputably, David was a man of war. He is an excellent picture of a man engaged in spiritual warfare. According to the scriptures, he was a praying man far beyond all others by reason of the Psalms. Only prayer warriors understand the reality of the unseen. Furthermore, He fought for Israel's kingdom and would not raise his hand against the Lord's anointed. A careful read of David reveals that he felt this way about all God's people and not just a king that sought his life. He did not lift his hand against Joab and others that deserved punishment. He did not have the heart to kill God's people; He loved God too much.