The Lord has warned Solomon and all the people of Israel that “if you or your descendants abandon Me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor My Name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations” (I Kings 9:6-7, NLT).
As we saw yesterday, Solomon had finished the big projects that had kept his life focused on God. Now Solomon would have to be very careful not to allow his loyalty to the Lord to diminish.
Likewise for believers today, we must determine in our hearts, minds and spirits to remain faithful to God. As many of us can personally attest, we are so often drawn closer to the Lord through tragedy while, when things are going along smoothly, we find ourselves more self-centered and stuff-oriented.
And that’s precisely where Solomon found himself. He was rich. He was famous. He was powerful. Even the queen of Sheba came to visit:
“When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, she was overwhelmed” (I Kings 10:2b-5a).
Solomon became more and more impressed with himself. And, to his and his people’s detriment, he indulged himself thoroughly in his greatest weakness: non-Jewish women.
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.
On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.
The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command” (I Kings 11:1-2a, 3-5,-6a, 7-10).
“They turned his heart to worship other gods.” Folks, if Jesus Christ isn’t first in your life, He isn’t your God. In His message to the church at Ephesus, Jesus declared, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4, NASB). In Matthew 6:33, He said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” And in Luke 12:34 He cautioned: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Have you allowed “other gods” to come between you and “your first love?” Be sure nothing is more important to you than your commitment to Jesus.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates