I remember sitting in a school-age Bible class many (and I mean many) years ago learning about this king named Solomon, about all the neat things he did, about how he loved and followed God like his father King David had done, etc, etc. Neat story, until the teacher told us about how Solomon turned away from God later in life. ..my reaction was something like “What!? No!!” I was truly disappointed (being the sucker for happy endings that I was and still am). To put it bluntly, Old Sol liked the ladies—a lot of them. And as if that didn’t make things complicated enough (which it always does, let’s get real) he started liking non-Israelites also, adding them to his burgeoning harem.
The text goes like this:
“In Solomon’s old age, they TURNED HIS HEART to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the LORD his God, as his father, David, had been… In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’s sight; he REFUSED to follow the LORD completely, as his father, David, had done. On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods. The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, WHO HAD APPEARED TO HIM TWICE. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command.”
Solomon’s story might not have been so upsetting to this little school girl sitting in Bible class if he had been able to “guard his heart” by—
- …being discriminating in his close relationships. I’m to love all people as Christ does, but that doesn’t mean they all get the same place of influence in my life.
- …whole-hearted devotion to Jesus. That relationship comes first, without which all other relationships never reach their full potential at best, and skew me off course at worst. And, importantly, this devotion is a choice that I make, every day and in every circumstance.
- …remembering and respecting his past experiences with God while at the same time pursuing fresh encounters in that relationship. Relying on the past alone is not enough. Guarding the heart includes keeping current in our face time with the Lord AND (as uncomfortable as it can be at times, admittedly), with His people.
Thanks for readin’! —dawnlizjones
*1 Kings 11:4, 6-9Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19279-19288). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.