In tough times, and particularly in times of plenty, we must keep our heart faithful to the Lord.
1 Kings 11:1-13
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which 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. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 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.10 although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 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. 12 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. 13 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.”
Many years ago, Israel demanded a king and God had warned them that a king would lead them into servitude and slavery. They were only three kings in and at first it seemed that King Solomon was the perfect king. He had it all, wisdom, power, wealth. During his rule Israel never had it better. The land prospered, they had peace, and they were the envy of other nations.
However, there was shadow looming in all that glittering splendour. The taxes that God spoke of were in place to fund lavish appearances, many Israelites were servants to the royal household to keep up the royal lifestyle. Worst of all, the heart of the king had turned from the Lord. Lured by the gods of his many wives, Solomon was leading his country into slavery worse than bondage to their enemies, he was enslaving their hearts to false gods, idols, and the idea that they could all prosper without the Lord God.
When things are tough, we are almost forced to depend on God. We turn to Him in our hour of need and our hearts find rest when we take our burdens to Him. However, like Israel, during times of prosperity, when it is all going well – our hearts can be tempted to forget the Lord.
We think that we can get by ourselves. We make treaties with things of the world just like Solomon’s many foreign alliances through marriage. These things will only turn our hearts further away from the true God, the one from whom good things come. In this passage we see God being faithful to His word and His promise to David. He has been so faithful to us, it is the least we can do to keep our hearts faithful to Him.
One key to locking our hearts and keeping them for the Lord is remembering His faithfulness and always being thankful. If we remember where our blessings come from, then we won’t be dazzled by the blessings themselves or put them in the context of the world. Instead we will have hearts full of gratitude to the Lord.
Head: In this passage we see that God speaks to Solomon and has given him the chance to put things right. Think about times when an issue of the heart has come up and you have heard something about it, either directly through the Bible, or from a sermon, or just in conversation with somebody else.
Heart: Be aware of times when the good things in life have led your heart to make alliances with the world. For example joining in gossip, because friends gathered around a nice dinner are gossiping. Ask God to help you deal with these times by remembering His faithfulness.
Hands: During your prayer time, in the midst or requests to God, make time to include thanks for things which are going well.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Please help me to keep my heart faithful to you and not turn away to other gods. Thank you for all the good things and blessings you have given me in my life, but help me to always remember that those good things come from you. I bring you my heart and ask that it be locked for you alone. Amen.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.