"For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods." I Kings 11:4-8
How could the wisest king in history go so terribly wrong? He began his reign so well, and ended it so poorly. Where did he go wrong? An answer, you already know, is in our text. "...his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father."
Solomon reasoned that it would be politically astute for him to marry Pharaoh's daughter. Surely her father would be an ally if his daughter lived in Solomon's capital city, wouldn't he? Politically, he was correct, but biblically, he was in error.
There is a deep, foundational error in the wise man's strategy. He was violating his own maxim, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5,6) Ahem, Solomon, old chap, who ARE you trusting? And have you looked in the mirror lately? You've acquired quite a lean there. And this part about "ALL thy ways", what about that? Have you forgotten the warnings God gave in Deuteronomy 7:3,4, where he commanded, "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly." ?
So why did Solomon fall into this trap? Why did he allow reason to prevail over revelation? What basic philosophical premise was at the root of all this? Yes, we know he married Pharaoh's daughter, and then the daughters of all the kings of the nations around Israel, and then he took wives and concubines until he had 700 wives and 300 porcupines, oops, I mean concubines. (One commentator says that, in order to marry 1000 women in forty years, Solomon would have had to marry a new wife every two weeks. Talk about disaster!) But what was the basic error in his thinking? There is a taproot for every poisonous weed in the garden of the heart of man, you know. What is Solomon's taproot?
Some years ago, the Lord led me to I Chronicles 8:11, "And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come." And this verse reveals the single basic error in the wise man's thinking.
Here is the taproot. Solomon divided his life into two parts, the sacred and the secular.
Read the verse again. Solomon said, "I build a house for my wife, separate from my house because it is holy and she can't live there. My house is holy, consecrated to God, but my wife isn't. There are parts of my life that belong to God and they are holy, and there are parts that belong to me and they aren't, and I will have to keep them apart."
This is the master key to the decline and fall of Solomon. Solomon reasoned out a basic fallacy that destroyed him, deluded his son after him and ultimately devastated his kingdom. Solomon made the mistake of dividing life into two compartments, the sacred and the secular.
Is this a serious matter? When I preach on this subject, I hear the hurried whispers of disturbed hearts, and see the saints squirm in their seats. I see the nervous glances between husbands and wives, and see the surprised eyebrows of children lifted. (Surely, pastor, you jest! You cannot possibly be saying that the Christian's life is to be entirely consecrated to God? I mean, we believe in holiness, but that's going a bit far, don't you think?) Well, let's just try on a few Bible verses for size. How about this one, does it fit? "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication" (1Thess. 4:3) Or this one, "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." (1Thess. 4:7) Or maybe this one, does it suit? "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Thess. 5:23) These three simple verses sum up the Bible truth about sanctification and make clear to us what we are to do about sacred and secular areas of our lives.
1) It is the will of God for each of us to be sanctified. You want the will of God for your life? Start here.
2) God has already called each of us to holiness. Don't wait around, hoping to hear from Heaven, He has already spoken!
3) God is at work in us to sanctify, to make holy our spirit, our soul, and our body! Every part of me, and every part of you is to be holy. Are we there yet? No, by no means! But we need to embrace these truths and take God's side against ourselves. We need to say, "There will be no toleration of sin in my life."
I once heard an old preacher say, "For the Christian, every piece of ground is holy ground, and every bush is a burning bush!" That is what Solomon, in all his wisdom, did not perceive. He permitted the grey matter above his eyebrows to overrule the Scriptures that spoke of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, as He confronted Solomon with the Word of God. He permitted Reason to prevail over Revelation. His greatest error was in dividing life into sacred and secular compartments.
This is what is destroying the saints at this very moment, individually and collectively. Men, women, and children, pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, in fact, whole churches have divided all that life contains into that which belongs to God and that which belongs to ME!
Consider the results of Solomon's faulty logic. If a child of God is happy to divide life into two boxes (God's box and MY box), it is almost impossible to prevent that which is in God's box decreasing and that which is in MY box increasing. So it was for Solomon. One pagan, unsanctified wife led to two and two to a thousand. One wife worshipping her idol in HER house led to Solomon building high places for Ashtoreth, and then Milcom, and then Chemosh, and then Molech. Reason prevailing over revelation in private led to the practice of this faulty hermeneutic in public. Is it any surprise that his descendants added to his pantheon until it destroyed them?
Have you considered what this reasoning is doing to our homes and churches? In most homes there is a shelf for the Bible and a shelf for the vilest propaganda from Hell. Not in my house, you say. Well, would you be willing for the Lord Jesus Christ to sit down with you and watch the DVD's you feed on more than you feed on the Word of God? Would he approve the profanity and nudity, the drugs and drunkenness, the pornography and blasphemy of your favourite movies? And what would he think of the New Age errors your children feast their hearts on as they watch the Disney DVD's you buy them? It all started when you embraced Solomon's doctrine of dichotomy, "I am justified to have in my life Sacred things and secular things, and they are to be kept separate."
We are seeing it in our churches, more and more. Whether we keep the KJV in the pulpit, and the NIV in the pastor's study, or whether we keep hymns in the Sunday morning worship and the world's music in the youth department, it simply is not possible to keep the leaven of ungodliness from leavening the whole lump. It is the nature of that which is ssssssssecular and ssssssssssssinful to grow and expand like leaven. (If you read that last sentence out loud you can even hear the Serpent's hiss.)
Oh, how much better it would have been if Solomon had prayed, "LORD, give me a godly wife that will live in the king's palace with me, and will worship You with me, and will help me to train our children to consecrate everything in our home to God!"
What is urgently needed in this hour is pastors who will say to God and to their people, "I am committed, so help me God, to strive to make every part of our church sacred. The pulpit, the baptistry, the study, the Sunday School, the missionary program, the choir, the special music, the musicians, the men we train to preach, the evangelists we have in to speak, the soul winning program, and even the pastor's marriage, all we do must be consecrated to God. We will not divide our church into sacred and secular. We will consecrate it all to God!"
Wise men can become fools.
All they have to do is divide life into two boxes, sacred and secular.
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