1 Kings 4:25
During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.
1 Kings 4:20
The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.
How do we measure the success of a leader? How can a leader measure his/her own success? When can we be proud of a leader? When can a leader be satisfied with their own work and look back grateful? These are the questions we seek to address from today’s text.
Leaders are very important people in any community and organization. We cannot do away with leaders. Leaders are either elected, appointed, or employed. Leaders are expected to influence the direction that people take. It is every leader’s desire to be seen as having done a good job.
Solomon was the third king of united Israel. Solomon did a good assignment during his leadership. It is recorded in sacred history that Solomon’s time was a time of safety, the security was good. Security is a direct function of the main leader. Solomon did well in security matters. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
As a leader, how is the security of your people? Are your people safe under you? Are their jobs safe or one unconfirmed rumor is enough to render them jobless? Are people safe under you or you are prone to making sudden erratic decisions that negatively affect them? Are people safe since you can’t drift into paranoia? Are people safe from external interference or to please people outside you can sacrifice people under you? Under Solomon, people were safe. Solomon did everything to ensure people were not only safe but they felt safe. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
During Solomon’s time, the population increased. When a leader is good the statistics will tell. The customers increase. The people coming in are more than people going out. Solomon’s time was a time of increase as people appreciated the safety he offered. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
During Solomon’s time, people were happy. Happiness was not just with the tribe of Judah where Solomon came from, all the tribes of Israel were happy. Under your leadership are all tribes happy? Under your leadership are all races happy? Solomon was human and we too are human, if he made them happy we can make them happy. United Nations Organisation annually releases a world happiness report. Happiness in a country is measured by among many things if people trust their government. The relationship between people and leaders has a direct impact on happiness. You as a leader, how happy are the people you are leading? During Solomon’s time, the Bible records that people were happy. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
During Solomon’s time, people ate and drunk. That means they could afford to eat and drink. Are the people under you eating and drinking or you don’t care? Are the people under you affording their basic needs or they are steadily drifting into abject poverty under you? During Solomon’s time, his leadership enabled people to afford more than basic needs, they ate and drunk. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
1 Kings 4:29
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
1 Kings 4:30
Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 4:31
He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations.
Solomon is the wisest man who ever lived. Solomon applied his wisdom in his leadership. The result was a happy people, a people who felt safe, a people who could afford more than basic needs, and a growing population of people. Wisdom translates into effective and excellent leadership. Leadership is not about pleasing people, but in the end, people should be pleased. Solomon’s time of leadership was a good time. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
Solomon did this for forty years, 1 Kings 11:42. Forty straight years of proper leadership. It was not just luck and excitement of the first few years of leadership. It was not a leadership honeymoon, it was a way of leadership that consistently delivered the same results for forty years.
1 Kings 9:22 tells us that during Solomon’s time, no Israelite ever became a slave. He did not allow it for forty years. Slavery could have been prevented by constructive policies. Slavery could occur if one was unable to pay debts. Solomon ensured that the people under him could pay debts so that they do not end up as slaves. Are people under you slaves? Slaves of financial institutions? Slaves of the job since they have no other option? Under Solomon’s time, no Israelite was a slave. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
During Solomon’s time, there was infrastructural development. A magnificent temple of all time was built, not some ramshackle, 1 Kings 6:14. A temple that remains a subject of discussion almost three thousand years later. Solomon also built his palace successfully, 1 Kings 7:1. Solomon’s time also had infrastructure development. That was Solomon’s time, what about you as a leader, what infrastructure has been done in your time? Is it memorable many years later due to its excellence and functionality? Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
1 Kings 11:3-4
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
Solomon failed because of women who led him astray. If any leader fails, it’s is the people he/she loves and are dear to him/her that will lead him/her astray. As a leader who are so dear to you that will most likely lead you astray and bring you down? Who are dear to you? Who do you love so much? Who advices you and you also love them? Unless God’s grace and wisdom intervenes, they will bring you down. If the wisest man to ever live was brought down, we need to be much more prayerful as we get settled in leadership. During Solomon’s time those he loved brought him down. What about your time?
But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Solomon was a successful leader because he had God-given wisdom. Tribal wisdom, elder’s wisdom, philosopher’s wisdom, and even wisdom from experience are not equal or sufficient compared to wisdom from God. Do not be satisfied consulting fellow sinners who are of limited perception. Seek and pray for God-given wisdom and you will never go wrong. Experienced leaders eventually fail, armed with their experience. Even when surrounded by village wisdom or elders and their tribal sayings, you can still mess up. Even after reading leadership books and attending seminars, you can still fail. Laws of power and strategies of war are not foolproof. Only God-given wisdom carries the day. Seek and pray for wisdom from God during your time of leadership so that your time will be a great time. Every leader’s challenge is in this question, how is your time?
We are all leaders in one way or another. It is easy to focus on leaders and attack them, but how is your leadership at the level you are in? Whenever you point a finger at someone else, all other remaining fingers point back at you. How is your leadership at the family level? Is your spouse happy? Are your children happy? How is the leadership of your household? If your domestic workers, employees, juniors at work, etc, read about Solomon’s leadership would they think of you? How is your time of leadership according to people you stay with, work with and interact with?
Dear God, I pray for wisdom so that my time of leadership at any level would be a time like Solomon’s time of leadership or even better, in Jesus’ name, Amen!