After the death of David, Solomon came to the throne of Israel. Solomon’s kingship began well; he showed great humility by following God’s will for him. He did not ask for wealth or fame, but only that God would grant him wisdom to rule over Israel. By studying Solomon’s life in the Old Testament, you learn that a relationship with God is a marathon, not a sprint. Solomon did not love the Lord with all of his heart as his father David had, and thus Solomon was the third and last king to rule over the United Israel. The ten tribes of the North would later become Israel. And the two Southern tribes would become the state of Judea. Jerusalem would be the center of worship, the home of the temple. More wayward self-willed kings than good would rule over both the Northern and the Southern kingdoms in the years to come, culminating in the eventual exile from the Promise land.
Through this severe period of backsliding away from God – who had promised the Israelites that He would be their God and they His people – He sent numerous prophets who wanted Israel to return to the one true God. But their hearts were more inclined to worship other gods, along with wicked, fleshly things. Consider Hosea (the book after Daniel in your Bible): his story provides symbolic understanding of the relationship between man and God. Replace Hosea with God. Replace Hosea’s wife with Israel. Read Hosea under this new context, and you will feel God’s great love and mercy for his chosen people. Once again we are given another illustration of God’s desire to ultimately have a right relationship with us. God knows our hearts as he had known his servant David’s heart. By faith, David walked with God, and this is why he was truly called a man after God’s own heart. It is in each of every one of your grasps to be a person chasing after the pure heart of God.
God’s love and mercy is always paramount in the Old Testament, and Jesus can actually be seen in every page of the Old Testament. God gave you the laws that we discussed a few days ago. He also gave you servants and prophets who warned you that you would backslide and lose focus. God’s ultimate plan was redemption in order to create a truly loving relationship with you. As you will see in the coming devotionals, the Old Testament was created to foreshadow the work of Christ the Redeemer, King, Priest, and Prophet. Everything that God had promised Israel was culminated on the Cross. The Cross is where God’s grace truly is revealed, through the sacrifice of His son.