God’s Warnings – 1 Kings 10-11

26 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem…28 Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; 1 Kings 10:26-28 NKJV

Several hundred years before King Solomon, Moses led the Israelites through the desert on their way to the Promised Land.  He had been used by God to free the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh, King of Egypt.  God had then personally met with Moses on Mount Sinai, giving him the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, the basis of a new law and an eternal covenant between God and the people.

Through their ongoing meetings, the Lord spelled out for Moses many details of His will for the new nation.  He would provide them with their own land flowing with milk and honey and countless blessings, with peaceful borders on all sides.  God knew that man and woman would sin and thus He provided a provision of sin sacrifice that would allow them to maintain a close fellowship with the sinless and pure God. 

The one thing that could end this covenant of eternal blessing was for the nation to turn away from God and His laws and to seek after other ones.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened.

Leadership for any nation starts at the top.  If a leader respects and honors God and seeks to follow Him, the nation will eventually follow.  If a leader does not care or pursues other gods, the nation will also follow.  God knew this, and gave very specific instructions to Moses to record for future kings to follow:

14 “When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses… 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.  Deuteronomy 17:14-17 NKJV

Though God had blessed Solomon with both wisdom and riches, He did not wish the king to seek after multiplying these gifts rather than to seek the Giver.  He did not want Solomon to so multiply chariots and horses that he would begin to trust in them to save him rather than in the God who had brought the people into this free and bountiful land in the first place, and had blessed Solomon with such a position of prominence and power.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 NKJV

Solomon continued to multiply the very things that God specifically prohibited.  And yet, this was not the worst of it:

1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.  1 Kings 11:1-3 NKJV

Solomon chose to ignore God’s instruction and to follow and marry countless women who worshiped their own local deities.  Many of these deities and idols were worshiped with despicable and immoral practices, some even including child sacrifice.  Yet Solomon, perhaps the wisest person who ever lived, left wisdom behind and chose to follow his own ways.  This greatly displeased the Lord and had disastrous consequences for the future of the nation.

When things had progressed beyond hope of repair or restoration, God declared that He would one day divide the nation.  This would greatly reduce the power and prestige of the throne and add many troubles to the lives of the people.  Gone would be the peace and prosperity of Solomon’s kingdom, to be replaced by internal unrest, strife and dissatisfaction as the kingdom would slowly come apart and be scattered.

If one were to ask Solomon, “Was it worth it?”, surely his answer would be “No”.

Many of us could ask ourselves the same question about things in our lives that we know, deep down, are contrary to God’s will.  And if given the chance, many of us would also say, “No, these are definitely not worth it”.

Reflection

Have you ever been warned by God? I have. Sometimes these warnings come long before we need them. But like Moses’ warnings for Solomon, the time did come.

Lord, help us to see the things in our lives that are displeasing to You and to respond to your warnings. Help us to begin again with a fresh start, and to be free of those things we have wrongly chosen that hold us in bondage and darkness.  We claim your blessing, repair and restoration. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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