Posted By Nan

1 Kings 11:1-13
This is a sad story. Here was Solomon, the son of David, a man who loved God so deeply and whose love, poured out in the Psalms inspires us today. Solomon started his reign so well. He loved God, as his father had taught him. When God asked him what he wanted, instead of choosing riches and power, he asked for wisdom to lead the people. His wisdom was legendary, and he walked with God. He even built the temple and dedicated it with sincere praise to God. But he strayed from that path. He grew too fond of the adulation his wisdom earned him. He forgot that his wisdom came from God and instead of humbling himself and thanking God for that wisdom he began to believe he did it himself. All his wealth gave him the idea he could buy whatever he wanted, and he forgot that all those gifts came from God. He coveted many other women, all from royal houses, and he loved the power that came from linking himself to all these kingdoms. He forgot to spend time from God. He became more absorbed with how great he was and forgot how magnificent God is. Even when he did spend time with God it was about singing his own praises and not humbly praising God. He allowed himself to be seduced by the beliefs of his multitude of wives. He started worshipping their gods instead of the one true God. He forgot about God, despite God twice appearing to him. It is one thing for someone who has not had an encounter with God to stray away from Him, but for someone to come face to face with God, not once but twice, that is terrible. He encountered God’s great glory twice. He knew how mighty God was. Yet in his old age he turned away from God. It is like some terrible divorce.
The 20 year old loves God fervently and begs for the wisdom to reign in his father’s place wisely and according to God’s will. He is young and in love with his creator. He continues faithfully serving God. He builds the temple and a royal palace and the then 45 year old again receives a visit from God. God announces He has heard Solomon’s plea of dedication to God and God will answer it. But God warns him that if he or one of his sons fails to walk with God and worships other Gods, then God will tear Israel from the land. But Solomon forgets about his first love. The love he had at 20 that may have been wavering by 45, but remained relatively strong. He disobeys God and takes wives from the kingdoms around him. It is likely the first marriages were strategic ones, but where was his faith in God? He relied on strategic marriages to protect his kingdom instead of God. He kept marrying more and more wives. It is written that he loved them so the marriages were not about strategic alliances any more. The Bible says he married 700 royal wives and had 300 concubines. I do not know if that is a symbolic number or an actual number. Whatever the number was, it was an overwhelming number. He surrounded himself with women who worshipped other Gods. Additionally, God had forbidden the Israelites from marrying these foreign women because they would turn him away from God. Solomon disregarded this. Like the middle aged man who lets his eyes wander away from the wife of his youth to look upon young, desirable women, Solomon let his eyes wander away from the God he had loved so much in his youth and turned to the gods his desirable foreign wives worshipped. He forgot about his close relationship with God and the times God had come to him. He worshipped these women. And he worshipped their Gods.
God became angry with him and cut him off from the promised royal dynasty. It appears Solomon wasn’t even concerned. He did not stop what he was doing. The young man who loved God had tired of that love and chased after other gods.
We are just as vulnerable as Solomon in this regard. So how do we stop a divorce from God happening in our lives? We need to never forget our love for God. We need to communicate with God frequently, as we would with an earthly spouse. We need to spend time with God, not just one day a week at some carefully mapped out worship service, or when times are bad, or when someone sends us an email with a devotion in it. We need to spend more time with God than that. We need to read the Bible and earnestly seek Him. We need to thank Him for everything that He gives us. We need to thank Him when things go well for us, and not attribute our success to ourselves. We need to thank Him for his intervention when things go wrong. We need to be grateful in acknowledging all He has done for us. We need to be humble in recognising that He is mighty and we can do nothing without Him. We need to want to spend time with God, to see it as a privilege and blessing, not a chore. We need to seek Him and seek his insights into our motivations so we can realise when our behaviour is not acceptable to God and hand it to Him to change us. We need to constantly remind ourselves how much we love God. Most of all, we need to have a strong sense of the tragedy of Solomon and be filled with the desire to not repeat that mistake.

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