Word: 1 Kings 11:1-13 (NLT)
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 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. 3 He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
4 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.
7 On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.
9 The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 11 So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, lost his way when he lost his heart to women he should not have loved. Ancient rulers often married daughters of foreign kings in order to seal alliances and ensure peaceful coexistence. In spite of God’s extraordinary blessings that he had enjoyed his entire life, when he was old, these wives “turned his heart.”
The marital status and relationships of our national leaders are important! They may tell us about constancy and faithfulness, about where the heart of that leader is! And it would be a mistake not to believe that the spouse or the family of a leader does not have significant influence on the most important actions of that leader.
Solomon’s son Rehoboam would suffer the consequences of his father’s unfaithfulness. The people of the nation also suffered because Solomon “did not listen to the Lord’s command.” Our nation will suffer as well if our leaders have chosen significant relationships that would move their hearts toward “other gods,” whether that be power, wealth, influence—or other gods!
Prayer: Father, we want to choose national leaders whose hearts are turned toward you. Help us to know the truth about their spouses, so that we might have insight into how they choose those who will influence them the most. If they have children, show us the values they have used to mold the people they love the most. Give us leaders, Father, whose old age confirms their abiding faith in you and their love for obeying your will, not their own sense of entitlement. Amen