*image originated here
1 Kings 11 – 15
For all of King Solomon’s wisdom and splendor, his heart did not follow God the way his father’s had before him. Solomon disobeyed God by marrying many women from nations God had specifically told the Israelites they were not to marry into. Why? Because they would turn their husband’s hearts away from God to follow after idols. In many conversations I’ve had with passionate feminists this is a part of the Bible they get really upset at. Taken out of context you could see this as making women out to be evil and men to be impotent. The truth is that women have been given a great power to sway the men who love them, they can draw them to good or to evil. We’ve seen examples of both so far. Ruth brought out the best in Boaz, drawing him to fight for and provide for his family when those with more responsibility to act refused to do so. Then there is Delilah who convinced Samson to tell her his secret so her family could murder him and take revenge for the losses they had at his hand. Women are not evil and nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that, but women can turn men’s hearts to do sinful things.
Solomon not only married these women against God’s command, he built them temples to all their gods and worshiped these idols alongside them.
This example to his sons corrupted his entire line. God tore most of Israel out of the hands of David’s house because of this and there was deep and bitter civil war. Solomon’s sons did not learn from his mistakes and instead carried on with their idols and sin. Where David had been given peace and strong alliances, Israel now had war and an ever-growing number of enemies.
Even then God promised them a king to come to their rescue and turn their hearts back to Him. This king’s name will be Josiah. None of the kings who refused to follow God reigned very long, just like in the book of Judges as each leader comes and goes. King Asa of Judah reigns for 41 years and begins to tear down all the evil being done in the land and to rebuild alliances held by his fathers. Yet the kings of Israel continue to war against Judah and their sin is passed down from generation to generation.
As Christians, the world’s eyes are turned on us. Are we setting an example that says we follow after God with all our hearts even if we sometimes make mistakes? Or does our example say that we will follow God as long as times are good and we get everything we want, beyond that we are going to live however it pleases us even if that’s in life destructive sin? What a powerful responsibility this is and how frightening the consequences as we see them laid out here for these kings.