The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord , the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. (1 Kings 11:9 NIV)
There are few episodes in scripture as tragic as this one. Here, in the 11th chapter of 1 Kings, the wisest man in his time who had enriched Israel and attracted such acclaim strays from God who gave him that wisdom with catastrophic consequences for the United Kingdom of Israel.
It’s tragic because almost as reflection of the fall in the garden of Eden, Solomon strayed from God to follow the voice of women. To read of how Solomon went from acknowledging His dependence on the wisdom of God to rule, to following the gods of his wives is sad indeed. To have had such exclusive interaction with God and to be so greatly blessed by that relationship and then turn your back to that to pursue detestable gods is worthy of great sorrow.
It is intriguing reading of the three gods in particular who Solomon pursues and then the three adversaries that God raises to oppose Solomon. It is also intriguing that Pharaoh’s daughter was among the first of Solomon’s wives and yet Egypt would prove to be the refuge for two of the adversaries – Hadad who came from a privileged refugee status in Egypt to oppose Solomon and Jeroboam who fled to Egypt after Solomon looked to kill him.
The account given of how Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon is also fascinating. The account is of a prophetic encounter through Ahijah that let Jeroboam in on something that Solomon himself had been notified about. Namely the consequences of Solomon straying. Jeroboam being in receipt of the news that the Kingdom would mostly be ripped away from Solomon’s son made him public enemy number one.
This is a truly tragic episode from which we see how important it is to check the state of your heart to ensure it is completely devoted to God. If the wisest person can be distracted to the detriment of his people, then we cannot think we are impervious. Obeying and following God is not a matter of legalistic obligation, it is a matter of the heart. When our hearts is not completely devoted it can lead to straying. There are plenty of detestable gods today which are well marketed and look for us to give them some of our attention. This is why it is so important to ensure we are wary of them and do not fall foul of the Lord by being enticed to serve them.
God have mercy on us.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden