Avoiding Solomon’s Downfall (1 Kings 11:4-6)

1 Kings 11:4-6 – 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. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 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.

Reading from the end of 1 Kings 10 through the beginning of 1 Kings 11, we see that Solomon disobeyed the commands of God for kings of Israel found in Deuteronomy 17:14-17. In those verses, God commanded future Israelite kings not to acquire many horses for themselves, especially from Egypt, not to acquire many wives, and not to amass much silver and wealth. Solomon did all these things, and it led to his downfall. Specifically, his many wives from foreign nations led his heart to follow after false gods until he was carried away in false religion.

Solomon’s story is very sad, and it contains in itself a warning for us. What things threaten your heart? Are there things that you love, that you cling to, that could, if given proper time and influence, lead your heart away from God? These things could be as simple as the books that the intellectual reads to feed his mind and stroke his ego. They could include the entertainment that the person enjoys that slowly degrades his or her wholehearted devotion to purity and to the Lord’s glory. It could be friendships that the Christian makes with lost people, friendships not for the sake of sharing the love of Christ. It could be a fascination with another religion or the occult. It could be simply a low view of scripture that allows other philosophies or sciences to trump the Bible in the heart of the believer.

The fact is, there are many voices out there in the world that are very tempting. Many of these voices, if we are not careful, can capture our hearts as Solomon’s wives captured his. Then, if we are caught up by them, those voices will ever so slightly turn our hearts away from following hard after God. From that point on, it is only a matter of time until we, like Solomon, are bowing at the altars of our false gods, dishonoring the one true God, and suffering the consequences of idolatry.

The cure for this deadly problem in your faith is to follow hard after God. Specifically, follow God in accord with his revealed word. Do not let your feelings, emotions, supposedly spiritual leadings, or the voices of those outside you determine for you the will of God. Instead, be certain that God’s revealed will in his word, properly understood and interpreted, is your first and final authority for the will of God. Yes, the Bible is the answer! Follow the scriptures, and do not be led astray by emotions.

Had Solomon heeded the call to follow the scripture, he would not have allowed his emotions to get entangled with all those women. Once those women had his emotions, he began to do what he “felt” was good. In the end, his feelings, divorced from the scriptures, led him into idolatry. God said that Solomon did not follow him as did his father David, and this caused tragic results for the family of Solomon from then on. Do not be like Solomon here. Follow God’s word, and do not let your heart become entangled with what might lead it astray.

Dear Lord, I see how easy it is for the hearts of men to be captured by something simple, something that looks like it is not that bad. I’m sure that Solomon thought that the prohibitions in your word against multiple wives was passé, and so he fell into sin. Lord, I acknowledge here and now that your word is the first and final standard for righteous living. I desire to never ignore your word in order to satisfy my emotions. I pray that you will hold my heart fast to you and to your revealed will in the scripture. Let me not turn from it, regardless of what things compete for my heart’s attention. Let me turn away from everything in my life that would speak evil and falsehood to my soul. Let me only hear your voice in your word as my standard.