The Sad End of a Great King
Today’s reading: 1 Kings 8:62-11:25
My selection: I Kings 11:1-6
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 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. 3 He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 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. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.
My reflections: Solomon’s reign was the golden age of the kingdom of Israel, but Solomon’s own life ended in disaster. In fact, it was because of Solomon that the kingdom was divided during the reign of his son, Rehoboam.
To handle success properly is very tricky. David experienced his greatest temptation, sin, and defeat during the most successful period of his reign (2 Samuel 11). Solomon never really knew any difficult times in his reign, so it is not surprising that he let his guard down and succumbed to the temptations presented him by all the pagan women he had married or taken as concubines.
I have heard this warning since the early days of my Christian life, “Few end well.” Experience bears this out. Obedience is a daily matter. One may start well, have many good days, but its how you end that counts.
My challenge: Are you counting past victories and obedience as having merit which allows you to disobey with impunity? Are you allowing your prestige and status to tempt you to cut corners in your spiritual life? “Flee youthful passions,” Paul warned Timothy (2 Timothy 2:22). By the way, youthful passions are not limited to youth. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Jesus was obedient unto death. He said, “Take up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Follow Jesus, not Solomon.
Tomorrow’s reading: 1 Kings 11:26-13:34