I used to ask myself, “If Solomon was the wisest man in the world, how come he fell into such stupid sin and folly?”
Both facts are undeniably documented:
“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men …” (1 Kings 4:29-31).
“For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God …” (1 Kings 11:4).
It’s more baffling than that. Not only was Solomon wiser than any other man, but see how sincerely worshipful he was in those early days. See how he spoke:
“… O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart. … Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. … The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us” (1 Kings 8:23, 56-57).
A man cannot fake this; a man cannot speak like this without being godly. So how can a godly man become ungodly? And since it is God Himself who sovereignly gave Solomon the gift of wisdom, why wouldn’t that gift overrule Solomon’s sinful tendencies and be powerful enough to keep Solomon upright?
It is an alarming thing to realize that a godly man can slip from godliness. And I can only come to the conclusion that there is an element of cooperation on our part that cannot be ignored. Solomon slipped away because he had choice. And he made a series of bad choices along the way that eventually did him in. Little temptations that should have been nipped in the bud he caved into. Little nudges of the Holy Spirit to change course he ignored.
Salvation is all by grace, and the gifts of God are sovereignly given. But with all that, there is an element of cooperation on the part of man—on a moment-by-moment basis—that if not understood will leave even the most blessed man a shambles.