Deterioration

OPENING PRAYER

Father, may Your light shine in my heart that my motives would be pure and I may follow You in truth.

 

Read:1 KINGS 11:1-13

[1] 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.” 

 

Reflect: WHAT DO YOU SEE ABOUT SOLOMON'S PRIORITIES?

Having begun so well, Solomon’s reign ends in decline. The previous ten chapters are largely positive about him, but it’s also possible to detect some criticisms, especially when read against the warnings in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 about the accumulation of accoutrements that go with kingship. Large harems were part of the trappings of power, often the result of political alliances with other nations (1). Still, the Lord had forbidden such intermarriage (2), the reason for which becomes clear in verse 4. It would result in divided loyalties.Responsibility is placed squarely on Solomon’s shoulders (9,10). Look for repeated use of the words “turn” (2,4,9), “follow” (5,6,10) and “heart” (three times in vs. 4,9). The “heart” dimension is crucial. Then, as now, biblical faith primarily involves not a set of doctrines we believe but a Lord we love. The Lord’s judgment is tempered with mercy because of his covenant with David (12,13). Solomon’s failure, though great, will not result in the annulment of God’s promise. Here’s a story that causes us to examine our priorities, reminding us that only the true God is to receive total trust and worship.

 

APPLY

Examine areas where complacency may set in and ask God to renew your heart.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord of Glory, I want to run the race without giving in or turning back. Help me to run well to the end.

 

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