“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61
We love to celebrate God’s grace. His love and mercy offer so much blessing we don’t deserve, we often find ourselves tempted to think our choices don’t matter. God forgives, so we trust He overlooks the little things. Especially if our lives produce good kingdom works.
I wonder if that’s what Solomon believed.
Solomon inherited the kingdom of Israel through God’s promise to his father, David. Even Solomon’s birth unfolded in wrappings of grace, evidence of God’s redemption after his father’s grievous sin with Bathsheba and his attempts to cover it up.
But David’s sincere repentance unleashed marvelous blessing upon his son. And God gave Solomon a kingdom he had not earned.
When the time came for Solomon to take his throne, David gave him these instructions.
“Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever.
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:8-9
Solomon started out dedicated to God’s ways. He sought God’s wisdom and God honored him, exalting him high above all other kings. Solomon built God’s earthly dwelling place, a glorious temple of gold, and his kingdom prospered with wealth and peace. God blessed Solomon, just as He promised He would.
But Solomon had one area of his life that he neglected to submit to God, one fleshly appetite he continued to feed in spite of God’s Word on the matter.
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 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. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 1 Kings 11:1-4
In spite of God’s warnings, Solomon clung to foreign women who did not follow Israel’s practices. And just as God predicted, Solomon did the unthinkable.
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. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:7-8
Unbelievable. The son of promise entrusted to build God’s house on earth also erected places of worship to other gods—demons who defied his God—on the mountain east of Jerusalem.
Why? To please his wives—the ones God warned him not to marry. Solomon allowed his appetite for women to pull him away from heeding God’s words.
And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. 1 Kings 11:9-10
Did you catch it, dear one? On two separate occasions God appeared to Solomon to warn him and call him to repent. But Solomon refused.
Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13
Like his father, Solomon enjoyed the remarkable privilege of hearing from God. Another similarity also unites them. Both found themselves caught in sin, pulled away from God by the strong desires of their flesh. Yet one marked difference separates the legacies of these two men.
David loved God more than his sin, so he fell on his face in repentance when God confronted him through the prophet Nathan. And God poured out blessing that could not be undone.
Solomon loved his sin more than he loved God, so he built altars that defied Him. His refusal to repent cost both him and his children eternal blessing.
I have to ask, beloved. What are your choices costing you?
God kept His word to Solomon, exalting Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s servants, to rule over the kingdom of Israel.
“But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and will give it to you [Jeroboam], ten tribes. Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” 1 Kings 11:35-38
Nothing would keep God from keeping His promise to David. He watches over His word to perform it. But Israel became a divided kingdom because of one area of unsurrendered ground in Solomon’s heart. And his inheritance—the blessing that would also pass to his children—diminished to 1/12 of the blessing God had intended for him.
I wonder, dear one. What blessings are we cutting off from our inheritance because we don’t walk in God’s ways with all our hearts? Do we daily deny our Lord through appetites that defy Him?
In the days of the kings we just read about, the cross had not yet defeated sin. Sin still had authority to rule and reign within man’s heart. Yet God still held them accountable for their sin in every way their hearts denied Him.
How much more will He hold us accountable on this side of the cross, beloved?
Jesus freed us from the bondage of every sin. Fear. Lust. Greed. Selfishness. Pride. No stronghold remains that Jesus did not defeat. He has given us the power to overcome every fleshly appetite.
Repent, beloved, and rise to receive your full inheritance.