We’ve now read through all of Solomon’s history and writings. At the end of this week, we read about how the kingdom was divided between the northern 10 tribes under Jeroboam, and the southern kingdom of Judah and Benjamin under Rehoboam, son of Solomon. From here on through the Old Testament our chronological study will take us through the kings and prophets of these two kingdoms in the time periods they occurred. This will be helpful for understanding the prophet’s messages alongside the historical periods of Judah and Israel’s kings.
The greatest issue that was always a constant flaw in God’s people is kept before us throughout our Old Testament studies. Do you know what it is? What the greatest flaw of God’s people here is? I’ll give you a hint: what are the first two of the ten commandments? By the way, these are also the two most important commandments, and the most serious ones to break.
King David was a man after God’s own heart. Not because he was such a great moral leader, but because David never turned to idols. His heart belonged to God. When David fell, he knew that there was only one place to return to.
What happened to Solomon? Was not Solomon blessed with wisdom and understanding? Was Solomon not given greatness, power, wealth, wisdom, strength, blessing and honor above ALL the kings of Israel before and after him? Who gave him those gifts? Did God not appear to Solomon twice? Was Solomon not the son of David?
Think about it: Solomon wrote three books of scripture that are in our Bibles today! Solomon built and dedicated the first Temple of God. He centralized the worship of God in Jerusalem and in Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed, “Now, Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my laws, as you have done.’ And now, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.”
This was a beautiful period of faith. God appeared to Solomon after this and promised to establish Solomon’s throne, but with this warning: “If you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my name…”
What part of that warning do you think Solomon didn’t understand?
Knowing is not the same is doing. Understanding is not the same as agreeing. Wisdom is not the same as faithfulness, though they are certainly in the same neighborhood and compatible with one another.
So what happened to Solomon? It was companionship that made Solomon’s heart turn away from God. 1 Kings 11 tells us this. Look at verses 1-5.
Love. Be careful who you give your heart to. Be careful who and what you love. Love is not just what you are attracted to or feel good about. There is that. But God has given us the capacity to love so that we can say no to our romantic feelings, and even our fears, and say yes to those we have committed to. Commitment is a practice of love. Solomon lost his love for God. His heart turned away after other gods.
Listen carefully to 1 Kings 11:1-5. (Read again) Listen for the words “love” and “heart.”
Now, could Solomon have married all those foreign women and NOT been led astray by them? (Not unless God is wrong).
That’s a bit like asking, “Could Adam and Eve have eaten the forbidden fruit and NOT surely died?” If God’s word is true, and it always is, then Solomon could NOT take all these foreign wives and keep from being led astray. If he could, God’s word is not true.
On the other hand… Can you protect your heart from loving that which will lead you astray? Yes! How? By deciding to do what God says, knowing that He’s always right! His word never fails. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Those of you who are young and not married, please listen and take this to heart. Give your heart to God. Trust Him. Commit to follow what He says. Let God’s word guide you in relationships with others. Don’t give your heart to anyone else without His permission. God loves you. He really, really wants you to have the best life and enjoy His best blessings. He won’t drag you. He will let you choose to trust Him. He will even let you face things that are hard, but only to make you more like Himself, if you trust Him. Give God your heart. Don’t be fooled by feelings. Don’t be dragged away by desires and pleasures. Commit your ways to the One who created you and who gave you His only begotten Son. Put your heart in His care and keeping.
Seek out friends who are committed to God’s will. Set your heart and mind on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Pray for God’s help in finding and making friends. You can love your enemies, but not give them your heart.
Follow David’s instruction in Psalm 101. (Read) Notice and mark the “I will” statements:
I will sing of Your love and justice; to You, O Lord, I will sing praise!
I will be careful to lead a blameless life
I will walk in my house with a blameless heart.
I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
I will have nothing to do with evil.
I will not put up with slander or haughty arrogance.
I will surround myself with faithful friends.
I will not put up with deceit or lies.
I will cut off all wicked evil doers from my life.
Basically, I will love what God loves, and hate what God hates!
David’s heart and love are clearly stated. David knew what God loved and what God hated. He gave himself to being of the same mind and heart as God. Will you?