1 Kings 11:1–12:19
It’s heartbreaking to see the way Solomon did not remain loyal to the LORD; to see the devastation of sin to him, his family, and the entire nation of Israel.
God had clearly warned Solomon not to marry pagan women – they would turn his heart away from the LORD. But Solomon not only married them, we read in:
1 Kings 11:2b (NKJV) “Solomon clung to these in love.”
We all know crazy things we do for “love.” He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. Such a tally took its toll. We read next:
1 Kings 11:4 (NKJV) “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
It’s hard to imagine, but Solomon began to serve other gods, Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, he accommodated all his wives who burned incense to other gods.
Solomon no doubt justified his behavior, for this is what kings did in those days, it was diplomatic, it was the expected practice of the world, it was politically correct, and then to add to that, they say it’s every man’s battle (and I believe it). But it doesn’t matter what the pressure may be from the outside or the inside, Solomon should have known better. God had shown Himself to Solomon in so many way, even appearing to him twice. Solomon had the Word of God to kings in:
Deuteronomy 17:17a (NKJV) “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away…”
We have the same principle taught to us in 2 Corinthians 6:14, believers are not to marry non-believers…but so many do not listen to the Lord, and they pay a heavy price.
God became angry with Solomon (1 Kings 11:9) and raised up adversaries against him. A prophet named Ahijah even prophesied that one of those adversaries would be given 10 tribes of Israel, and the nation would be divided. But none of it seemed to bring Solomon back to where he’d once been. God, in His mercy, and because of His covenant with David, allowed Judah to be given to David’s descendants, but what a tragic story in the end.
I pray that you and I would stay on track.
When Solomon died, the leaders of the nation gathered together at Shechem to make Solomon’s son Rehoboam, king, but they had a question for him.
1 Kings 12:4 (NKJV) “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”
Rehoboam asked for 3 days to think it over, to consult his advisors. The elder (and wiser) advisor gave him good counsel.
1 Kings 12:7 (NKJV) “And they spoke to him, saying, ‘If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.’”
But Rehoboam didn’t heed their advice. He listened to the younger guys who told him he’d better off not giving in to their pressure, to take the bull by the horns, to hold his ground, to be a tough king, a resilient leader – he wasn’t going to let them push him around…and in doing so, he lost 83% of the kingdom – overnight.
Rehoboam missed an opportunity of a lifetime, but it was all part and portion of Solomon’s sin, “…for the turn of events was from the LORD.”
Such a tragedy – and the kingdom was divided!
About a thousand years later, Jesus Christ would tell His Apostles the godly leaders are servant-leaders…it’s too bad Rehoboam didn’t know that (Mark 10:42-45).
What an epic chapter, beginning with the conversion and commission of Saul, who would later become Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ. As he’s on his way to arrest Christians in Damascus, Saul is the one who gets arrested by Christ. How merciful God is, goading him, calling him, even asking him, “Why” do you do the things you do? (that’s a whole other conversation; why do people do what they do – the drugs, the alcohol, the violence – usually it’s because there’s tons of pain inside). “Why are you persecuting Me?” When people come against Christians, they’re coming against Christ!
But there on the dirt road to Damascus, a terrible terrorist is graciously saved. Jesus appears to Saul, He’s brighter than the sun at noonday. When Saul asks that question, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” he speaks the words of a saved man. Have you asked the Lord that question lately?
Ananias is then commissioned to pray for Saul to receive his sight, and after a slight (yet understandable) resistance, he lays hands on Saul, even calling him “brother” (when we become Christians our standing changes instantly – and our family grows). Saul was a chosen vessel, to bear the Name of Jesus, and hence to suffer tremendously. This is the glory and expectation of an effective ministry!
Acts 9:15-16 (NKJV) “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.’”
Saul preached Jesus immediately, but then learned more about Jesus earnestly, by spending 3 years in Arabia with just the Spirit and Word of God (Galatians 1:16-18 should be inserted right around Acts 9:21-22). We read of Saul’s impact:
Acts 9:22 (NLT) “Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.”
Now the Jews are after Saul, the tables have completely turned. He escaped from Damascus, by being let down in a basket from the city wall. But his ministry will eventually be unstoppable.
A short but beautiful Psalm about growing up and living a simple life of trust in God.
There will be MANY things in life that we will not be able to understand (too profound for us). But our peace is not planted or rooted there! Christians actually possess a peace that PASSES understanding and it’s a great guard for us.
Philippians 4:7 (NKJV) “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Whenever we come across things that we don’t understand, we fall back on what we do understand – that God loves us, and has our best and ultimate interests in mind. When we grow as Christians and move on from milk to meat, from being bottle-fed to studying God’s Word for ourselves, we learn to live on promises – not explanations.
This type of trust and Spiritual weaning is good for a nation (Israel) and it’s good for individuals, both now and forever more.
V. 4 – The is a Proverb that speaks not to the talker (primarily) but to the listener.
This is a little different than most of the other Proverbs that warn about terrible tongues, here we have the warning to evil ears.
Don’t give heed (believe) everything you hear – as a matter of fact, don’t even listen to lies or carnal conversations.
But some people like that kinda stuff – and listen anyhow, they’re identified as evildoers and even liars (they’ll be sure to pass it on)
V. 5 – People quickly forget that all men, including the poorest of the poor, are infinitely valuable to God, because they’re loved by Him and made in His image. The homeless is not any less a person.
As we connect the two sections of this passage, there may be some who celebrate the misfortune of the poor, or the tragedy or calamity of any. God will punish that guy or gal who is glad when others are sad.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.