Love Grows Cold

By Teena Myers

The United Kingdom Rejected 8/9

Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the ways of his father, but he had one flaw. He sacrificed and burnt incense in “high places.” High places were places of religious worship, usually on mountains. God commanded Israel to drive out all the inhabitants of the land and destroy their high places.[1] Israel failed to occupy the land of the Philistines, Canaanites, Sidonians, Gebalites and all Lebanon. Their high places remained and spread as Israel vacillated between the worship of God at the high places and worshipping forbidden idols. God tolerated the practice of worshipping him at the high places “because there was no house built for the name of the Lord.”[2]

After David died, Solomon went to the tabernacle and altar Moses built at the “high place” in Gibeon and offered a thousand burnt offerings. That night, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what you wish me to give you.”

Solomon made an odd request. “So give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, to discern between good and evil.”[3] Solomon already had the ability to discern between good and evil. Everyone does. Adam and Eve sinned to become wise like God, knowing good and evil. After the first man and woman ate of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, God himself said, “the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil…”[4]

God responded not to the request, but to the intent of Solomon’s heart. Adam and Eve wanted to be like God. Solomon wanted to rule like God, a desire that fell within God’s purpose for creating us.[5] Pleased that Solomon had not asked for riches and honor, God gave him more than he requested. He gave Solomon the wisdom to make fair judgements and added the riches and honor he did not request. There would never be another king like Solomon, and if he used his wisdom and knowledge to obey God’s commands, he would have a long life, too.

If and then defined God and Solomon’s relationship. At Gibeon, God granted him a long life to enjoy all God gave him if he obeyed. When Solomon laid the foundation of the temple, God promised to fulfill the words he spoke to David if Solomon obeyed him.[6] At the dedication of the temple, God promised to answer Solomon’s prayer if “my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways.”[7]

Solomon teaches us that wisdom and knowledge make us proud. Did Solomon think all the blessings he received from God’s hand exempted him from God’s righteous and fair judgments? Did Solomon think God would judge his father for sin, but not judge him. God required the king to write a copy of the law in the presence of the Levitical priests to read all the days of his life, so he will learn to fear God. Did he think God was wrong when he told them not to marry foreigners, because a foreign wife would turn his heart away from God. Solomon had the written law that recorded the consequences of disobedience. And God appeared to him twice to warn him he would lose everything if he failed to obey and worshipped the pagan gods of other nations. 

Why did the wisest man in all the earth, so wise there would never be another like him, become a follower of Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom the idol of the Ammonites. Why did he build high places for Chemosh, the idol of Moab, and Molech the idol of Ammon? Solomon teaches us that wisdom and knowledge are not strong enough to keep us from sin. Only love can do that.

God said what he meant and meant what he said. He told Solomon he would take the kingdom from him and give it to a servant. But it would not happen in Solomon’s day. Solomon did not rise to the stature of his father. David sinned worse than Saul when he committed adultery and murder, but he never worshipped the pagan gods of other nations. For David’s sake, the nation would split when Solomon’s son became king. One tribe would continue to be ruled by David’s sons because God loved David.

Seven years later, God sent the prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam, a man Solomon had made ruler over the house of Joseph. Ahijah tore his robe into twelve pieces and told Jeroboam to take ten pieces. God had chosen him to be the next king of Israel.

[1] Numbers 33:52-53

[2] 1 Kings 3:2

[3] 1 Kings 3:9

[4] Genesis 3:22

[5] Genesis 1:28, 1 Peter 2:9

[6] 1 Kings 6:11-13

[7] 1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 7

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