06/21/15 The Disastrous End of a King

READING: 1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9

TEXTS AND APPLICATION: These chapters deal primarily with Solomon’s reign, his visit from the queen of Sheba, his idolatries committed via his foreign wives, and his death. In only a few verses, we learn much about the man. Particularly, we learn that even a man fully blessed by God with wisdom can make dumb choices.

The queen of Sheba so recognized God’s blessing on Solomon that she praised Him: "May Yahweh your God be praised! He delighted in you and put you on the throne of Israel, because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel. He has made you king to carry out justice and righteousness” (1 Kgs. 10:9). By the end of Solomon’s reign (40 years), though, God pulled Solomon’s kingdom from him due to his idolatries: “Then the Lord said to Solomon, ‘since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant’” (1 Kgs. 11:11).  

In between is the reign of a king who married into idolatry, seemingly focused on acquiring great possessions, ultimately sought to kill Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 11:40), and forgot God. God had appeared to him twice in his life (1 Kgs. 11:9), but even those supernatural appearances did not keep him from idolatry. These thoughts run through my mind as I read these texts today: 

1. The pull of idols is incredibly strong. A clear call of God, supernatural appearances from God, and mighty blessings from God still did not keep Solomon from turning to his wives’ idols.
2. Flirting with idolatry does not end well. Solomon’s heart was divided in that he loved God (1 Kgs 3:3), but he married his idolatrous foreign wives. In the end, they “turned his heart away from the Lord” (1 Kgs. 11:3). 
3. Starting out well under God’s calling is no guarantee of ending well. Solomon recognized his youthfulness when his reign started, and he asked for wisdom and obedience (1 Kgs. 3:7-9). In the end, his choices were neither wise nor obedient. 
4. None of us is immune from this possibility. If Solomon walked this disastrous path, so might I. Every moment of my life, I need the grace of God.
PRAYER: Pray that I would not flirt with idolatries (e.g., position, power, dollars, popularity), but that I would be wholly devoted to God until my death. Pray the same for yourself. 
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 30-31

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