November 26
Solomon's Mistakes
1 Kings 11

KEY VERSE: The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel. --1 Kings 11:9

Once again we see the tragic results of breaking God's commandments. God had made it clear: there were to be no other gods but God. As a woman turned David's head toward sin, now it was many women who turned Solomon's heart away from God. Early on the power of the throne had caused Solomon to disregard God's prohibition against marrying pagans when for political gain he accepted as his wife the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Now to appease other pagan kings he received many of their daughters into his growing harem.

Solomon's pagan wives were not required to worship the one true God. Instead they brought their idols and their pagan religious practices with them. Solomon began to pay more attention to them than he did to obeying God. Solomon was the most powerful man on earth. Why should he not have whatever he wanted? Apparently his power corrupted his thinking, causing him to put his own will and his own pleasure ahead of faithfulness to God.

The Bible explains plainly what happened: "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father." The words "not fully" explain it all. The influence of the pagan women caused him not to denounce God, but to imagine that his devotion could be halfhearted. His commitment to God was not complete; it was diluted by his acceptance of other pagan gods.

It is a startling thought to read that God "was angry" with Solomon. This should get our attention. While we are sure that God's mercy is plentiful to all who repent, it is also true that God does not take our sins lightly. We should beware of having a flippant attitude, like those who say, "So what if we choose to sin, God will forgive us; we need only repent." Actually it should grieve us to know that God is angry about our sins.

While God punished Solomon, as he did David, the punishment was postponed, for David's sake. But the power of the Israelite kingdom was never the same. It was weakened by Solomon's sin and later collapsed after Solomon's death.

We learn here that there is no substitute for obeying God. Life will fall apart, about our feet, unless we continue faithfully to obey God. It happened to Solomon and it will happen to us if we disobey God by embracing our own personal pleasures.