As of late, I’ve been sharing with you as I’ve (very slowly might I add) been reading through 1 Kings. Today I’m going to focus my attention on a rather dismal passage. Here it is:
1 Kings 11:1-8 (The Message)`
“King Solomon was obsessed with women. Pharaoh’s daughter was only the first of the many foreign women he loved—Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite. He took them from the surrounding pagan nations of which God had clearly warned Israel, “You must not marry them; they’ll seduce you into infatuations with their gods.” Solomon fell in love with them anyway, refusing to give them up. He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines—a thousand women in all! And they did seduce him away from God. As Solomon grew older, his wives beguiled him with their alien gods and he became unfaithful—he didn’t stay true to his God as his father David had done. Solomon took up with Ashtoreth, the whore goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the horrible god of the Ammonites.
Solomon openly defied God; he did not follow in his father David’s footsteps. He went on to build a sacred shrine to Chemosh, the horrible god of Moab, and to Molech, the horrible god of the Ammonites, on a hill just east of Jerusalem. He built similar shrines for all his foreign wives, who then polluted the countryside with the smoke and stench of their sacrifices.”
Commentaries say this passage alone is probably one of the most “melancholy and astonishing instance of human depravity” in the scriptures. Not more than 3 chapters before this we get a picture of Solomon on top of the world! God has brought him to a place of power, he’s wealthy, there’s peace in Israel, and he’s not just smart….he has wisdom. So what happened between chapter 8 when we see Solomon singing praises to God and chapter 11 when his heart is divided by wealth, idol’s and many women (1,000 to be exact!).
I’m sure it wasn’t sudden. At some point he had one wife, and then something happened and he added another. That didn’t satisfy so he added another. With time he even surpassed his father David’s spouse count which was impressive as well. When he started building the Temple, he used his wealth to build for God, but then his quest for wealth turned inward and he began to satisfy his longings for more. He sought wealth and “cool” things from other countries, which of course introduced him to more women and….um…their god’s and idols (made of gold which I’m sure at this point was a stumbling block to him). How could a man who wasn’t just book smart….but truly wise…chosen by God to lead his people…allow such pervasiveness to creep into his life?
I suppose in many ways it’s like cancer. One thing that amazes me about cancer is that you can be 99% healthy, yet the 1% of an itty bitty cancer cell can begin to take over the body. With time it will creep and wind its way into anything. I looked completely healthy when I was diagnosed with cancer, I felt completely healthy (except for my sore breast)…..but when I was diagnosed the only part of my body that looked sick was my breast. With time, the cancer would have spread to other major organs. Gradually it would have overcome my life. I am amazed when I look at pictures of what look like seemingly healthy people who have died within weeks of aggressive cancer.
You wouldn’t know that inside them a pervasive cancer is taking over.
I suppose this is how sin spreads. We allow something small into our lives. It gives us a temporary high and we begin to seek more. I suppose it might be like the law of physics. “Everything left to its self, begins to fall a part.” Never more often do I experience this in my own life than I do with my children and their toys….lol!
So what do we do about it? How do we keep ourselves in check?
(Join me tomorrow for part 2. Commentary quoted from the Matthew Henry Commentary)