1 Kings 11:4 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.
I feel sad for old King Solomon. Things did not turn out well for him. At first, his reign brought in a golden age of prosperity, esteem, and power. He was blessed by God with wisdom, so that powerful people from near and far sought his personal advice. His kingdom expanded as his reign endured. He had more wealth than many other kings, and he certainly had more wives than anyone else in the Bible! And yet, for all of these blessings and gifts from God, Solomon went astray.
Instead of honoring God, Solomon began to indulge himself. Rather than being devoted to the Lord, he devoted himself to his own selfish desires. In other words, he gave up his faith and replaced it with fantasy; he set aside his beliefs by displacing them with banality. Solomon wrecked his reign with idolatry, immorality, and indecency. He killed the newly born kingdom with his carnality, as well as his contempt for God. Instead of growing older and wiser, he became solo-centric and foolish. Whatever his accomplishments were at the beginning of his reign, they were totally eclipsed by his depravity and desertion of God in his later years.
Added to this sadness, was the fact that the people in his kingdom followed the same route away from God. The whole nation became profligate and prodigal. The Holy Temple, which had been recently built as a sacred place where God’s presence was experienced, became an empty place. Like Solomon, the people returned to pagan ways worshipping nature, adoring the stars, and sacrificing their children. In only one generation, faith was forgotten and God was neglected. Solomon and his people forsook the LORD and so, in turn, God also abandoned them to their apostasy.
How does this affect us three thousand years later? What lesson is here that we can learn, appreciate, and apply? I personally think that this passage of scripture (1 Kings 11:1-13) is both cautionary and challenging. It confronts our own ways and the decrease of our own worship of God, as well as our Christian beliefs. Are we as faithful to God now as we were ten, twenty, or even fifty years ago? Do we still live Christo-centric lives, or have we also become solo-centric? As we grow older, have we become closer or further away from God? These are very important personal questions, the answers to which both only we as individuals and God fully know. We may deceive other folks and delude ourselves, but we cannot ever fool God.
Questions for personal reflection
How has my commitment to Christ changed over the last ten years? Am I nearer to God now or further away?
Prayer: Lord God, You know absolutely everything about us, so we cannot fool You with our words and ways, our good intentions or personal promises. Challenge us today, so that we may make the serious changes needed in our lives to become more committed, devoted, and faithful to You. In the Name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest summer drawings called ‘Sunflower Power.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Sunflowers.