Lord, give me strength and guard my heart from the temptations that come.
Read 1 Kings 11:1–13
11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 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. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSolomon, despite every advantage, turned away from God. What went wrong? And how can we guard against doing the same?
Our good impression of King Solomon as a uniquely wise, wealthy and godly king takes a sharp turn here. God favored him in every way possible, but Solomon still made a mess of things. He was wise at first, but he eventually became a fool.
Notice how Solomon abandoned his early devotion to God. He was gifted, self-assured and pragmatic. And it was his pragmatism that shaped a key political decision. In his day kings ensured peaceful relations with other kings by taking covenant brides—marrying a royal daughter from each nearby kingdom—to ensure closer relations. But we read that God prohibited such intermarriages (2). Why, then, did Solomon dismiss God’s Word and adopt this worldly practice? Was he coerced? Did he believe his wives would turn to God after he married them? Or did he even care?
Whatever his rationale, it was folly. As Solomon became spiritually independent, his keen mind, good heritage and godly training failed to protect him. Instead his love for his wives led him to embrace ungodly choices. God, in turn, promised him a divided realm to come.
Have you ever been tempted to reshape your faith to fit your circumstances?
Lord, help me to remember that obedience is the way to fullness in You.