Solomon was chosen by God to build His dwelling place. When Solomon finished the temple he gathered the people and dedicated the temple.
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart;”[i]… Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”[ii]
Just three chapters later…
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.[iii]
In short… Solomon was distracted, disobedient and drawn away.
Distracted. Solomon loved many foreign women… 700 wives…300 concubines = 1000 women!!! Excessive by any standards. Many jokes can be made of this foolish pursuit, but it points to Solomon’s distraction. His focus shifted. Solomon clung to these in love. During his temple dedication he said, “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God…” Well, his heart was no longer true to the Lord God. He was distracted.
Disobedient. …the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you…” From before the time Joshua led the people of Israel across the Jordan into the Promise Land, God warned the people not to intermarry with the inhabitants – these are the very women Solomon did marry. Solomon disobeyed God.
Drawn away. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. When he was old he turned away his heart toward other gods… it happened over time. But the bottom line was he was no longer wholly true to the LORD his God.
So what application can we draw from this ourselves today in the twenty-first century?
- Our verbal proclamations do not prove our devotion to God. I assume Solomon meant what he said in Chapter 8, but it was not enough to keep him true to God. …this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me[iv] It is not our words that prove our devotion but rather our hearts.
- Distractions come in all shapes, sizes, colors and names. Perhaps it is a friendship or marriage or divorce or children or our past or status or a job or recognition. What is it in our lives that attracts our affection, distracting us from the One True God?
- In a culture where basically everything goes, have we been immunized against wrong? Are we disobeying God to fit in with that culture? Have we become numb to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? In what ways have we become comfortable with sin in our life?
- Being drawn away often is very subtle, gradual, even imperceptible. Moving from reading the Bible to watching a TV evangelist or to reading a devotional instead. Starting to skip Church to sleep in or to go to the beach on a beautiful day. Missing more and more Care Group, Cell Group, Home Church, Core Group (whatever your church calls mid-week gatherings) because of the kids’ sports practice. I’m not talking about legalism. It is not the choosing to do any one of these things that draws us away, it is the shift of our focus from Christ as our life to Christ as a part of our life.
I know this is a long Victory Call, I hope you have hung in there. If Solomon, given great wisdom by God[v] can drift into such foolishness how much more are we at risk to be drawn away?
Let’s learn from Solomon’s mistake and not repeat his folly.
[i] 1 Kings 8:23
[ii] 1 Kings 8: 56-61
[iii] 1 Kings 11:1-4
[iv] Isaiah 29:13
[v] 1 Kings 3:12
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.