After some time in Ecclesiastes (Thank you, Midtown), I have the following thoughts (some old; some new) on the downfall of Solomon. As you know, Solomon started great. When asked what He’d like from God, wisdom, not money or things was his request. So how did the man who started off so well, fail?
Well, multiple women. Here’s the story from 1 Kings 11: “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women… The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord…instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.
And… unfortunately, there’s more:
1 Kings 21:25 “No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel.”
2 Chron. 21:6 “But Jehoram was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.”
2 Chron. 22:3 “3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong.”
WOW. Even though each King was approached by God at the beginning of his reign with the promise that if they listened to all God commanded them, walked in His ways, and did what was right in His sight; God would (1) be with them (2) build them and enduring house (3) give them the nation; they didn’t. Why? Because they were influenced by the women in their lives.
You all know the old adage, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck that turns the head whatever way she wants.” Perhaps there’s some…SOME… truth there. The warning to Solomon was, “Don’t marry/love them because they will lead your heart away…”
None of us want to be these women–“Oh, you think he’s bad? You need to meet his wife/mother/sister/daughter. She’s just evil.” The problem here is not women, but the heart. These women loved the gods they had grown up with, and sure enough, the more Solomon loved them the more he loved their gods– even though the true God had literally “appeared to Him twice” (vs. 9).
The lesson, I think, is this: loving someone naturally turns your heart, even aligns your hearts, together. And this is beautiful. Whether your married, single, a mother, a sister, or just a daughter you have a gift of influencing those that love you toward what you truly love the most. If your god is money, beauty, comfort… yourself… justice, community, relationships, or God, you’re going to influence those that love you toward them as well.
The question for me is, what do I love most?