1-2 The Lord did not want the Israelites to worship foreign gods, so he had warned them not to marry anyone who was not from Israel.
Solomon loved his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt. But he also loved some women from Moab, Ammon, and Edom, and others from Sidon and the land of the Hittites. 3-4Seven hundred of his wives were daughters of kings, but he also married 300 other women.
As Solomon got older, some of his wives led him to worship their gods. He wasn't like his father David, who had worshiped only the Lord God. 5Solomon also worshiped Astarte the goddess of Sidon, and Milcom the disgusting god of Ammon. 6Solomon's father had obeyed the Lord with all his heart, but Solomon disobeyed and did what the Lord hated.
7Solomon built shrines on a hill east of Jerusalem to worship Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon. 8In fact, he built a shrine for each of his foreign wives, so all of them could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.
9-10The Lord God of Israel had appeared to Solomon two times and warned him not to worship foreign gods. But Solomon disobeyed and did it anyway. This made the Lord very angry, 11and he said to Solomon:
You did what you wanted and not what I told you to do. Now I'm going to take your kingdom from you and give it to one of your officials. 12But because David was your father, you will remain king as long as you live. I will wait until your son becomes king, then I will take the kingdom from him. 13When I do, I will still let him rule one tribe, because I have not forgotten that David was my servant and Jerusalem is my chosen city.
Although the Lord is merciful and patient, he is also just and altogether wise. If he sets limits to our freedom, it is because we need them.
Perhaps Solomon considered himself wiser than he was? He did not obey God and his foreign wives eventually led him to turn away from the source of his prosperity and to prostrate himself before idols. God was right and the results were disastrous.
Here we also see a dramatic example of the importance of a father’s behaviour for his children, particularly his sons. Because of David’s faithfulness his son Solomon was greatly blessed and his grandson, Rehoboam did not lose the entire kingdom. However, Solomon’s infidelity caused his descendants to lose most of the kingdom.
In his wisdom, God had warned the Israelites of the consequences that sin has on future generations. Moses had made it clear:
“Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the Lord your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations” (Exodus 20:4-6).
All this reminds me of my early childhood and that of my children. They and I wanted to do whatever we wanted, not being aware of our actions. We were going beyond our limits and did not like correction.
Let’s be ready to obey God, even if we do not fully understand his methods. Let’s trust in his perfect love for us. If we don’t, the result could be disastrous.
Eternal God, wise and compassionate, help us, by your grace to obey you in all that you command us to be and to do. We trust you with our lives. Help us to be, or to become, faithful parents, so that we might be blessed, as well as our children and the generations to come. Amen.