Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a bad finish

He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 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.
1 Kings 11:3-4

Solomon had been blessed so much, but finished so poorly. He knew better than to turn from God, but his heart was corrupted. His fleshly lifestyle got the better of him in the end. The text lets us know that Solomon was what we might call today a sex addict. He loved the adoration of women and really, he worshiped sex. He collected foreign women to his harem like some men collect rare works of art. His passion revolved around the thousand women who now had his heart.

And when these foreign wives requested that Solomon let them worship their false gods, he joined in, building temples to at least four other foreign gods in and around the capital city (1 Kings 11:5-8). There were now more opportunities to deny God than to worship God in Jerusalem. Solomon was being pulled away from God by the fixation with collecting wives.

God confronted Solomon and very directly warned him that the kingdom would be taken from him because of this idolatry (1 Kings 11:9-13). The sad thing is that there was no response of repentance on the part of Solomon. When David, Solomon's father, had been confronted about his sexual sin, he repented quickly, publicly, and with earnest sorrow. The text gives us no indication that Solomon was moved by God's warnings. He just did not care about anything else any more.

The final part of Solomon's reign was marked by conflict with God and with other nations. Edom, Syria, and Egypt began to harass the nation of Israel. There would be no peace while Solomon abandoned the LORD. And this did not move Solomon in the least. His sin had turned his heart from God. His sin had hardened his heart to God and even to what he was suffering as a result of that sin.

It is sad to see someone finish bad! And it is instructive. The older I get, the less I can trust my natural inclinations. The battle with sin intensifies. I am capable of wickedness and selfishness at any moment. And to finish in them is a great loss. It is only by aligning my passions in pursuit of God's will for me as His Word reveals it that I will trust enough to finish this life well.

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