(Recommended Reading: 1 Kings 11:1-15:24)
Solomon was so very full of wisdom and the love of His God – yet he eventually slid down the slippery slope of sin and it cost the nation of Israel dearly. His mistake? Taking many foreign wives. Multiple wives were not the issue because that was common at that time. But, referring to the foreigners, the Lord had told the Israelites “’You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.” (1 Kings 11:2 NIV)
As Solomon grew older, those wives did indeed turn him toward their gods. His heart no longer sought after his God alone. He built places of worship for his wives to pay homage to their detestable gods; and, we have to assume he probably participated with them at least some of the time.
Eventually God had had enough of Solomon’s betrayal. 1 Kings 11:9-13 NIV says: “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. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.’”
God then allowed at least two adversaries to rise up that would eventually wrestle most of the nation of Israel away from the house of David.
Jeroboam, one of King Solomon’s officials, was anointed to become the future king over 10 of the tribes of Israel. Apparently, Solomon must have heard some whispers about Jeroboam, because he tried to kill him. But Jeroboam was able to escape and stay safe until Solomon’s death. Once he became the king, he was evil and caused turmoil for the people he was ruling over.
In the meantime Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, ended up as the king over the remaining two tribes – Judah and Benjamin. They suffered some difficult times under his reign though because he did some really stupid things. But, we read in 2 Chronicles 12:12 (NLT) “Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.”
When Rehoboam died, his son Abijah became king and as a result of his commitment to their God, things went well for them – at least for a time. But then we can read in 2 Chronicles 15 about how eventually he too fell away from his devotion to God and committed the same kind of sins as his father Rehoboam.
However, in order to fulfill His commitment to the forefathers and to David, God raised up a good and righteous man in Abijah’s son – Asa. Under his rule, and then following after him his son Jehoshaphat, things turned around for the better for many years.
What a roller coaster ride the people of Israel had. They consistently went from having a good king that had adoration for their God, and things went well for them – only to be followed by an evil king that led them down the path to ruin.
How about you? Is your life a roller coaster? Do you go from peaks of good to valleys of bad? Maybe, just maybe, you need to step back and take a serious look at your spiritual life. Maybe you are going from times of adoration for God to backsliding and allowing evil to enter your life. It can be easy to do because Satan and all his evil can be so very subtle – it can sometimes happen before you even realize what is going on. But once you realize what has happened, repenting and humbling yourself can go a long way to getting you back on the straight and narrow – the path to good again. Do not let the evil one win – do not let him lead you down the road to ruin!
Written by Karran Martin – July 30, 2019