Daily Thought for: 21st May


1 Kings 11. 1-25

Before we hold up our hands in horror, we must all remember our own evil potential. The apostle Paul puts it like this: ‘considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted’, Gal. 6. 1. The closing chapter in Solomon’s life makes sad reading, and it all began with the ominous words, ‘But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites’. He ignored the warning, ‘Ye shall not go in unto them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods’, v. 2. That is exactly what happened, vv. 3-8, and we can hardly believe that he built altars for Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh and Molech, the gods espoused by his ‘strange wives’. 

Idolatry is condemned everywhere in Scripture, but it is particularly reprehensible in the lives of God’s people—’And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice’, v. 9. We must never underestimate the power of misplaced affection. We can detect the deep grief in God’s voice when He said of Israel, ‘I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown’, Jer. 2. 3. It wasn’t long, however, before they ‘changed their glory for that which doth not profit’, v. 11. The cause of idolatry is as serious as its effect. We have no room to glory in our separation from ‘the unclean thing’, 2 Cor. 6. 17, if our love for Christ is diminishing. The Lord Jesus commended the believers at Ephesus for their steadfastness and faithfulness, but was obliged to censure them for lack of love for Him, ‘I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love’, Rev. 2. 4. It is rather striking to notice that Solomon’s loss of love for God resulted in loss of the greater part of his kingdom, vv. 11-13, and that failure to renew ‘first love’ for Christ at Ephesus would bring removal of the ‘lampstand’. No wonder Solomon (yes, Solomon!) wrote, ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life’, Prov. 4. 23. The ‘greater than Solomon’ said, ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved’, Ps. 16. 8. 


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