Solomon was a good king with a righteous heart. God asked Solomon what one thing he would want. Solomon's answer--wisdom. God grants his request and is pleased. Because of his gracious heart God also grants him wealth, honor and a long life.
"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours." 1 Kings 3:9
Solomon's greatest achievement was to complete a temple for God that David, his father, desired to build.
"My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, "You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name, Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your won flesh and blood--he is the one who will build the temple for my name." 1 Kings 8:17-19
It took seven years to complete, but it was a majestic temple. Solomon dedicated it to the Lord and people came from all around to see it. The ark of the covenant was brought to rest in the Most Holy Place within the Temple. The Lord was pleased and there was peace in the country.
Over the years, Solomon married many woman from foreign lands. Solomon began to make alters for his wives' gods. God became angry with Solomon and promised to rip the kingdom apart from his son's hands.
"Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him [Solomon's son], but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen." 1 Kings 11:13
This is yet another example of great men showing imperfections.
Solomon's son Rehoboam, the new king, was not as wise as his father. He refused the advice of the older, more experienced council and instead listened to young men. Because of his decisions Israel revolted and split apart just as God promised.
"When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David." 1 Kings 12:20
The other big story in First Kings is of the prophet Elijah. He is perhaps the biggest prophet in the bible. He followed God and God worked through him--even to command the rain.
"Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." 1 Kings 17:1
Of course this was for a purpose. Ahab, the present king of Israel at the time, needed a BIG sign that GOd was real and the idol he was serving, Baal, was a false god.
Elijah tells the prophets of Baal to call him, but he does not answer. Then Elijah calls on God and He answers with fire. All the people rejoice.
"Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!" 1 Kings 19:14
(The entire story is told in 1 Kings 18:22-42)
A lot happens in 1 Kings, but my favorite part is hiding amongst all the drama:
"The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the Presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12
God did not come as the wind, an earthquake or fire, but as a gentle whisper. We must be listening and not get distracted by all the commotion surrounding him. Only then will we be able to hear the message God is really speaking to us.