2Samuel 7:14-15 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
Here, Nathan the prophet speaks the words of God to David who foolishly thought he could build God a house as nice as his own. God replies that, actually, He will be the one to establish David’s throne and have his son, Solomon, build Him a temple. Hebrews, chapter 1, refers this also to Christ who of course was David’s ‘Lord’, the greater son of David who is now building the true temple of God, His body of believers.
But, aside from this, we learn something important about Solomon and something equally important about Saul: God’s sure covenant love was promised not to be taken from Solomon and yet the Lord uses Saul as an example of one whom God did not love.
Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Hebrews 12:6&8 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives… But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Solomon repented, being the very apparent writer of Ecclesiastes who had indulged almost everything in this world. God indeed disciplined him and gave him a distaste for all the things of this world, which can never truly satisfy us. God dealt with him as a son and as promised. But Saul never repented each time God showed favour and grace to David; rather, Saul raged against David all the more and descended into mad disobedience until his violent suicide.
We Christians mustn’t be fooled by the fact that the Spirit of God came upon Saul and others to cause them to do certain things. The Spirit of God could cause even Balaam to prophesy the truth. But this is very different to being indwelt by the Spirit of God, as Peter says the prophets of old were (1Peter 1:11).
Instead, these two men are a great testimony to the backslider. No matter how far you have drifted into sin, the only difference between Solomon and Saul, the only factor which determines whether you will lose your soul for eternity or have it hidden in the refuge of Christ is: Repentance.