GROWING OLD DISREPUTABLY
Lord, keep me on a straight path toward You.
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.
‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the ﬁrst and greatest commandment”” (Matt. 22:37,38).
To all outward appearances, Solomon is a decent, God-fearing, highly successful king of Israel. He is both privileged and blessed. The Lord has given him immense wealth and power and twice spoke to him personally in a vision (9; cf. 1 Kings 3,9). The Lord has given him clear instructions (1 Kings 9:4–9; cf. Deut. 6:14–25) and a godly father, David, to imitate. No believer in either testament, though, can depend solely on past experience or on other people. In any case, the Lord sees beyond outward appearances (1 Sam. 16:7).
So, with an ominous “however,” chapter 11 introduces us to the sad reality of Solomon’s inner self. His longstanding love for things other than the Lord has led him into temptation, direct disobedience and ﬁnally outright evil (6). Instead of growing more committed to God as he ages, he is deteriorating into an apostate. Now he has reached the point of explicit deﬁance of the ﬁrst commandment (5,7). It is hardly surprising, then, that he provokes the Lord to anger (9,11).
Consider the temptations which beset Solomon and whether any similar temptations are creeping into your own life. Note in verse 11 that the Lord is interested both in Solomon’s attitude and his actions—and that the former influences the latter. Solomon would have been wise to listen to his own proverbs—and so would we(e.g., Prov. 4:20–27). Fortunately for us, God has provided someone who can deal with even the worst of our sins (1 John 1:7–9).
Pray that, as you grow older, your growth may be in the right direction! Pray for the leaders of your nation, that they may be godly people who rule well.
Lord, by Your grace I will never allow anything to upstage You in my life.