The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. 1 Kings 4:20

This is the high point in the book of Kings, perhaps the high point in the entire history of Israel. The country enjoyed peace with its enemies. There was security, relationships, belonging and sustenance. Their basic needs were met and they were happy. Solomon was a wise king and a good administrator. Early in Solomon’s reign, the people were committed to keeping God’s covenant and they were blessed.

But Solomon, despite his great wisdom, foolishly allowed his wives to turn his heart away from following the Lord wholeheartedly (1 Kings 11:4). Maybe it even began when he bought numerous horses (1 Kings 10:26), ignoring God’s command (Deuteronomy 17:16-17) and trusting in his own resources instead of the Lord.

It wasn’t just one bad decision that Solomon made but a series of small decisions over time. The downhill slide began and the nation divided. It never really recovered. Israel only ever had evil kings and Judah, a handful of good kings.

I wonder why at some point the people didn’t realize that their happiness came from living God’s way and return to following the Lord wholeheartedly. Just because the king started worshipping idols, why did the people follow suit? How easily they were led astray.

When others, even leaders, aren’t living God’s way, we have the choice as to who we’re going to follow. Will we remain committed when others aren’t? Will we have the wisdom to see trusting in our own resources is short-sighted? Will we create connections with others that are unwise and compromise our own beliefs?

It’s the numerous small decisions over time which determines the outcome of our lives.