All of the accounts in the Old Testament were written so we could learn from them—what to do and what not to do (1 Cor. 10:6-11).
You can learn from personal experience, but you can also learn from the experiences of others.
I and II Samuel and I and II Chronicles have spoken to me a lot. As I was studying, I was grieved reading about Solomon. He started out so humble. God asked him what He wanted and Solomon didn’t ask for worldly things, he asked for wisdom. That was such a pure motive. He was the most powerful man in the world at the time, and yet he humbled himself before God.
But in 1 Kings 11, he turned away from the Lord and began building and worshiping idols. He violated what the Lord told him to do and turned away from God. I was praying and asking God how this could happen.
In 2 Chronicles, Israel was split in two—10 tribes went with Jeroboam, and two stayed with Rehoboam—Solomon’s son, David’s grandson. During the first two years of Rehoboam’s reign, he did so well that he amassed a huge army and was going to go into battle to bring the other 10 tribes back under his reign. He was ready to go to battle when a prophet came out and told him not to. The prophet said that because of Solomon’s sin, God had orchestrated this split and that he would be going against God.
Think of all the logistics of getting 200,000 men ready for battle! Yet when the prophet told Rehoboam he would be going against God, he immediately disbanded the whole thing! This showed total submission to the Lord. However, a short three years later, Rehoboam turned away from God and became antagonistic to anything the Lord told him.
This happened to Rehoboam and to Solomon because:
“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” —2 Chronicles 12:14
No one who has a great relationship with God wakes up one morning and just decides to rebel against Him. They don’t plan to walk away from God, but they also don’t plan to keep their hearts sensitive to Him.
“Prepare” in the above scripture is “kuwn” in Hebrew and means “to establish, fix or set.” When you prepare something, you do it in advance. And unless you prepare your heart, Satan will come against you, and you will give in.
If you fail, of course there is forgiveness and grace. But if you make a conscious decision every single day to seek God and resist Satan, you’ll be preparing your heart, and it will keep you from doing evil!