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.
1 Kings 11:1-2
Admittedly, I can’t relate to loving many foreign women and taking them as brides, but I can definitely get on board the disobedience bus. My heart can be so quickly drawn away from the things the Lord has warned me against. I justify and explain it away every day in order to have the things I want.
For Solomon, disobedience and temptation came from having a blessed and rich life. God had granted Solomon wisdom, vast fortune, and long life. Enjoying worldly comfort gave Solomon a false sense of security. He began to look at his success and blessings as gods instead of God Himself.
We all do it. We say things like, “I can teach the Bible great. I went to seminary!” or, “I worked really hard to get that promotion!” or, “I set my mind to it and I got it done.” We are so arrogant. We forget that every breath we take is a gift of God. Every celebration, every penny, every good thing in our lives comes from God.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Nowhere in that verse does it say we can give good gifts to ourselves. The lie of the arrogant heart is self sufficiency. Without God we would not even have our life. So, why does the comfort in provision take us down the road of disobedience?
If the Lord had blessed Solomon with wealth, and wisdom, and good health, why shouldn’t He also provide beautiful, exotic women to enjoy it all with? Sure, those women were idol worshippers and devoted to destruction by the Lord for their denial of His sovereignty, but he could change their minds, right? He could show them the beauty and glory of God because of how richly God had blessed him.
Hear what I’m saying? In my ministry I am constantly trying to talk young women out of “missionary dating”. People hear my testimony about praying for my Muslim husband to come to Christ and they think that’s a great way to win thier beloved to Christ. But it’s not.
I am not special. I was a fool to marry someone who didn’t know Jesus. It caused great sorrow and pain in my life to be married to a man utterly opposed to my religious point of view. My husband didn’t come to Christ until I had repented of my foolishness and pleaded with Jesus to help me.
I think Solomon felt untouchable. I think he had enjoyed so much blessing that nothing would keep him from continuing to receive it. He might have looked back at his father’s life and thought himself no different. David loved beautiful women, too, so what’s wrong with that?
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.
1 Kings 11:4-6
David repented for his folly time and time again. His default with God was to be a humble servant. Every failure he met with repentance. Every blessing he received with humility. David’s heart was for God’s promise of salvation.
Solomon had fair warning, but chose to disobey anyway.
And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 4 And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ 6 But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 9 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the Lord has brought all this disaster on them.’”
1 Kings 9:3-9
I think that seems pretty clear. The Lord is surely quick to bless and to forgive, but He wants us to trust Him in obedience and humility. God asked Solomon to simply trust God’s way over his own: to obey and be blessed. And in his old age, Solomon decided not to.
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.
1 Kings 11:6-8
Solomon turned away from the provider of all his blessings and honored his wives above his God.
I don’t think it was intentional. I truly think it was arrogance. How often do I become over confident in my own success? How often do I attribute my accomplishments to hard work and diligence instead of to God. God lovingly partners with me, and He wants to give me good gifts. Shouldn’t I enjoy that beautiful privilege and walk with Him?
God’s grace is never ending. His mercy is not dependant on my behavior. The day I accepted His promise of salvation, He sealed me with His Spirit so that I would maintain a confidence in Him that I couldn’t have known before. My sincere love for Jesus is undeniable to Him, just as David’s was.
It’s not about our disobedience so much as our trust. Do we trust God or do we trust ourselves? Do we obey God because we trust His good gifts for us, or do we obey ourselves because we don’t want to put our trust in someone else? Or do we just get complacent enjoying the good gifts we have been given, and forget about the One who gave them?
Jesus, help me not to take you for granted. Help me to believe and trust Your will for me. Lord, when You give me good gifts, help me to appreciate them as gifts and never take them for granted. Protect me from my own arrogance. My sinful self is incapable of obedience, but You are my obedience, Lord. You are my righteousness. Let me fall back into Your perfection. Let me serve You with a humble and repentant heart.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He adorns the humble with salvation.