Wednesday, April 06, 2022

2022.04.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 11:1–13

Read 1 Kings 11:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What kind (and quantity) of woman did Solomon love (1 Kings 11:1)? Particularly whom, and particularly what ethnicities? What had Yahweh commanded about this (1 Kings 11:2)? Why? How does 1 Kings 11:3a recap what Solomon did? With what result (1 Kings 11:3b)? What was he like in the decades after the former/good building projects (1 Kings 11:4)? After what gods did he go (in 1 Kings 11:5)? How does 1 Kings 11:6 summarize his life? What was the height of his wickedness (1 Kings 11:7)? What was its breadth (1 Kings 11:8)? How does Yahweh respond (1 Kings 11:9a)? What had Yahweh done previously (verse 9b)? How had Solomon repaid him (1 Kings 11:10)? What penalty does Yahweh announce (1 Kings 11:11)? When will He do it (1 Kings 11:12)? Why? What other concession does He make (1 Kings 11:13)? For what two reasons? 

How great is the danger of poor marital choices! As chapter 10 has reminded us, Solomon is wiser than anyone else. As 1 Kings 11:9 emphasizes, Yahweh had appeared to him twice. Despite having such knowledge and wisdom, despite having such experience of God Himself, Solomon not only turns against Yahweh with His heart (1 Kings 11:4) but descends into the greatest wickedness imaginable: worshiping perverted fertility gods (1 Kings 11:5a) and gods whose worship involved child sacrifice (cf. Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:2–5; Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 16:3). 

Do you have much knowledge and wisdom from God and His Word? Praise God! Have you had much experience of God and His Word addressing you? Praise God! But let us not think that we are immune to devastating spiritual fall. Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12). 

And there is no place to take heed more than in considering marriage. Satan tempted Adam through his wife. Satan left Job’s wife alive to tempt him against God. The godly line was all but obliterated by poor marriage choices (cf. Genesis 6:1–8). And now Solomon is “exhibit A” for the danger that the Lord had directly commanded against in 1 Kings 11:2 (cf. Exodus 34:15–16, Deuteronomy 7:2–4). 

Simply put, a prospective husband or wife is either going to turn your heart more toward the Lord or more away from Him. Does their involvement in your life stir you up to greater faith and repentance? More (and more conscientious) attendance upon public worship? More service of your family and worship with your family? 

Or, do you end up serving inflamed romance (as with Ashtoreth)? And sacrificing your family in order to get closer to her/him (as with Molech)? Do you miss the worship of the one true God (either physically, or mentally even though you’re there) as a result of your preoccupation with them? We may gasp with horror at the Solomon of 1 Kings 11:1–12. But I grew up in a “reformed” “evangelical” youth group, and I can still remember my own heart and what I saw in others. 

We’re not so different as we think. Let us take heed that we not consider someone for marriage who is having such an effect on us, and let us doubly take heed that we ourselves not have such an effect on them. Instead, let us seek to make such connections in life as stir us up more toward the Lord, and let us seek to have that effect upon those with whom we are connected.

And there are many other things in life that become competing allegiances. Sports. Arts. Amusements. Even good things gone awry. Involvements. Disproportionate patriotism. Even just the laziness of complacency. 

We may be ever so close to the Lord now, but let us beware lest we make choices that turn our hearts away from Him! 

But let us not leave this passage without taking our hope from the Lord—lest we think that there is hope to be found in ourselves, our vigilance, or our past experience. At the end of his life, the Spirit uses Solomon to give us Ecclesiastes. But even more importantly, from Solomon came the Christ, according to the flesh. For the sake of His Messianic covenant with David, the Lord didn’t take the kingdom until later (1 Kings 11:12). For the sake of His Messianic covenant with David, the Lord didn’t even then take the entire kingdom (1 Kings 11:13). 

He has kept His promises to us in Christ. And in Christ, He will keep us as promised. Only let us take heed of the dangers and turn from them to Him!

What/who is there in your life that turns heart and attention away from the Lord? What (Who!) is your hope for correcting this and being spared the consequences of it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we bless Your Name, Who have kept all of Your promises in Christ, and given us knowledge and experience of Yourself by Your Word and Spirit. But we are not faithful like You are, and our hearts are easily turned away. Forgive us, O God, and preserve our hearts toward You! Make us those who refuse to be turned away or to become the occasion of others’ turning from You, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP45B “Daughter, Incline Your Ear” or TPH548 “O Blest the House”

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