1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2010-11;%202%20Chronicles%208&version=NIV
Today’s read is a HUGE read for us. It begins a HUGE turn in Israel’s history. Through out Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes we read where our CHOICES often result in consequences we must life with…..as opposed to things God caused. I am not saying that ALL things are this way because life “does happen” and bring unexpected, uncontrollable, NO reason for, circumstances that we must live with or go through such as health challenges, death of loved ones, company downsizings, economic ups and downs and more. However…. today we will be witnesses to a man who had EVERYTHING and I mean everything. He was greatly blessed by God because of a promise God made to his father David. And also greatly blessed by God because when God asked Solomon for the ONE thing he would desire and Solomon answered wisdom, God also blessed him with EVERYthing else. Yet, in Solomon’s humanness he made some poor choices. He was a wonderful leader for Israel and was well respected for his great wisdom. People saw God in Solomon. However, in his personal life whether he felt he was marrying certain women to keep political peace with other nations or whether he simply had a real issue with lust … these choices (1000 of them to be exact including wives and concubines) lead to not ONLY his decline but also to the decline of all of Israel. THINK about that for just a moment……LOOK at the impact a leader’s CHOICES can have on an ENTIRE NATION!! THINK about it…PRAY for our leaders!!!
Since Solomon became King of Israel, we have been reading about the “Golden Age of the Hebrews.” This was a figurative and literal reality. Solomon ruled for 40 years. During these 40 years, Israel was living the best, most prosperous, most peaceful, most worshipful time to our God that they had EVER known. We are reading about the peak of the Jewish nation and the beginning of the descent. Solomon set the example and gave a foundation to all of Israel for worshipping the Lord. But today we will see that he didn’t live it out (OUCH OUCH OUCH…..in moments like these I really hate looking in my mirror….how about you?) Solomon proved that relationships with others will have an influence not ONLY on our personal beliefs but OUR personal beliefs can and will impact those around us. Our personal beliefs and habits are observed by our families, our friends, our children, our spouses, our coworkers, the people we may supervise, the people we lead in our community, church, city, state, nation. And not ONLY do our actions and beliefs get observed they become examples for others to follow. OUCH OUCH OUCH!!
Chapter 11 started with :
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. These women were from nations where the LORD SPECIFICALLY had REPEATEDLY told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” AND BTW…even in the NT we are told … “[ Warning Against Idolatry ] Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 It is interesting that the NIV has the brackets before this verse stating: “warning against idolatry.” NOW I can hear a few of you out there thinking….but does that mean we are not to associate with nonbelievers? HEAVENS NO!! Jesus tells us to “Go” and share the gospel with EVERYone. Just remember…you don’t have to bring them home with you, spend the night with them, or marry them. I am only a person and I KNOW God is a God of surprises and can use anything. However, it is oh so important for us to KNOW HIM through HIS Word and live the way HE shows us. God knows that HIS perfect plans are the best for us and HE TRULY wants the best for EACH of HIS children.
When I was young and dating I can remember thinking, but if this person really cares for me he will change his beliefs about God out of his love for me (OH YES.. I did think that…and it did NOT work.) I also remember thinking…”if I am kind and gentle and good enough…he will see God in me and want to change”….in other words… I wanted to change him! (OH YES I did think that way for many years.) When I FINALLY wised up in this particular arena of my life and came before God saying: “Lord you are more important to me than anything and if you want me to be single… “I would rather be reasonably happy in this life with YOU, than married and totally miserable.” I still hear many young Christians saying the SAME things I said over 26+ years ago….compromising their values hoping this love they have found will change and become a Christian. Don’t misunderstand… I am not saying it can’t happen. God can do ANYthing…but God is SUCH a gentleman that HE wants US to CHOOSE HIM. HE will knock and knock and knock on the doors of our hearts. HE will send people to us to bring us to HIM. HE does PURSUE us to bring us to HIM. However, we still have FREEWILL and must make the individual choice FOR HIM.
OK…so back to Solomon…WHO was he marrying and WHO were his concubines??? First of all, we can’t gloss over the fact that God’s perfect way is for ONE man to marry ONE woman …till death do us part. And yes….there are allowable reasons for divorce in God’s eyes. But if we look at HIS perfect plan… it has ALWAYS been ONE man and ONE woman. Now, Solomon KNEW this. Solomon also KNEW that God’s plan was for him NEVER to marry anyone who was not Hebrew.
Whether it was because of lust or to help maintaining peace between nations (in Solomon’s time….and even in this era…. some marriages were/are planned to maintain peace between nations…or maintain the riches between families….it was acceptable by society…but not God’s perfect plan.) In marrying wives from nations who had NO respect or desire to serve, love, honor, and obey our ONE TRUE GOD, Solomon began down a slippery slope.
With ALL his wisdom, he was human and had weak spots. In marrying or living with all these women (one would have been enough of a challenge) he simply was unable to stand firm on his beliefs. He compromised a little here … a little there… until WHO he was, WHO he knew, and ALL he was….simply faded from his life. He handled the pressures of running his country, but could not effectively handle either his lusts or his wives. There is a REASON God allows us to read Solomon’s story TODAY… it is VERY pertinent… we need to know if a man as wise and as blessed by God (God came to him TWICE) as Solomon can slip and ultimately slide away from God… WE CAN TOO!!!
I am more than confident in saying that Solomon had the best intentions with his wives….he EVEN built a separate palace for his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, because HE did NOT want her living in David’s palace where the ARK of the Covenant had been!! See what I mean… he KNEW he should NOT have married outside of his people??? However his story can be something we can all relate to. It is important to understand that all “this” did not happen all at once, it was a gradual process…a slow process. At first he tried to RESIST his wives’ influences and remain pure to his faith. Then he began to TOLERATE the widespread practice of IDOLATRY. Once he became involved in idolatrous worship, he RATIONALIZED his actions possibly by saying “I need to show my love and respect for them.” Unfortunately his CHOICES led to CONSEQUENCES of God becoming angry with him “because his heart had turned away from The Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” However, please notice in chapter 11 that Solomon’s CHOICES not only led to CONSEQUENCES for his life…..but for the ENTIRE NATION OF ISRAEL. —- OYE VEY!!! Now does it make sense why the scripture I quoted above from 2 Corinthians began with a “warning against idolatry?” Look at what Solomon’s slip sliding away and compromising his faith lead to.
OH MY….. HUGE SIGH……UGGGGGGG!!!. Do you remember all the gods the people in the Promised Land were worshipping when God instructed the Jews to kill them ALL (and they never completely did?) There were fake gods called Ashtoreth, Baal, Molech (he was the one shaped like a cow with a fire pit belly so the families could sacrifice their CHILD to the gods) and Chemosh. Each of the other peoples/nations had their OWN God…so as Solomon added wives from each of those other nations….he began to have compassion for their needs….and little by little he began BUILDING statues of THEIR gods on his property, and worshiping them (because God said Solomon had not kept his covenant and decrees)!!!
SOME IMPORTANT SCRIPTURES FROM TODAY THAT YOU MAY WANT TO UNDERLINE IN YOUR BIBLE….THEY ARE PROPHECY….WE WILL WATCH THEM HAPPEN as we read in the days ahead!!!
“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. 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. 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.” 1 Kings 11:11-12
THAT IS SOMETHING I PRAY NEVER TO HEAR FROM MY GOD.
“About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.”
Here is a photo of a statue of Molech, the god of the Ammonites.
Do you recall that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel (well sort of…. the Levites became the Priests, and Joseph was blessed with a double portion so Joseph’s name did not appear in the tribes but his TWO sons did…double portion…Ephraim and Mannasha?) The scripture talks about the 10 tribes verses the 1 tribe. The 1 tribe is Judah AND Benjamin combined. The largest tribe and the smallest tribe are combined. So here is a tip from my mentor last year on how to remember who is who:
Israel will divide North and South. North keeps the name Israel (10 tribes) Judah is the South.
Judah (and Benjamin) was where the line of Kings began and will end. Saul was a Benjaminite, Israel’s first King…the beginning, And Christ comes from the line of Judah….the ending.
Clear as mud right? It’s OK….let The Lord lead you and guide you in areas HE wants you to know and remember. As we remain faithful to reading HIS Word… HE makes things clearer and clearer. I promise… I am living proof that things begin to stick after awhile of reading and praying <<<smile>>>.
One last thought I want to share that is specific to Solomon’s “slip sliding away.” Each of you have probably heard the story of the frog in a pot of water, but incase not…here goes. If you put a frog in a pot of tap water, then put it on the stove on high….. the water gradually heats up until it begins to boil. The frog never notices the water is getting hotter and hotter and eventually he dies. He is sitting in that water, fat and happy, getting all cozy and warm in his water then BAM!! He never knew what “hit him”. I have never done this….don’t plan to…but I have been told this by people who eat frogs. The point is … YOU AND I are like the FROG…. when we compromise our faith. When we try to please people we love out of respect and do what they do, or out of not wanting to be politically incorrect so don’t share the gospel….or “just this once won’t hurt anyone” … remember the story of the frog and most importantly remember Solomon’s story.
God tells us to GUARD our hearts for a reason (probably for many reasons.) HE wants us to know from Ephesians 6:12 — “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” By guarding our hearts we refuse to give the enemy a place to work in our lives.
What say ye??? Did anything touch you today? Did God whisper anything to you? I’d love to hear and you can share via email or on the blog itself.
Sharing HIS love,