Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 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 of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. 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. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 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. 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. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods. 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. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 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. 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. 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.”
1 Kings 11:1-13
Dear God, where do I compromise for the love and approval of others?
As the director of a nonprofit in a small town, I try to keep myself politically neutral. I work in a sector where people from all different types of political ideology can appreciate our work to serve the community. The trick becomes that I sometimes allow my desire for neutrality to keep me from supporting or not supporting some cause or political position.
I was actually talking to you about this topic this morning when I was walking the dogs, but more in the way of evangelism and being a witness for you. I was wondering how much more I should be doing to represent you and the 1.) mercy and love you have for us, 2.) the mercy and love you want us to show others, and 3.) the work we need to do to worship and commune with you that will help us to better understand numbers 1 and 2.
Then I got home and opened Facebook. I saw a post from a recently divorced acquaintance from high school who posted a meme about what women want in a man:
Every woman deserves a man who calls her baby, kisses her like he means it, holds her like he never wants to let her go, doesn’t cheat or lie. Wipes her tears when she cries, doesn’t make her jealous of other women, instead makes other women jealous of her. He’s not scared to let his friends know how much he really cares about her, and he tells her he loves her every day.
This harkened back to the sermon by Andy Stanley I was listening to on that walk that happened to talk about relationships. My favorite line in the sermon was (paraphrasing), “We all lie in bed thinking about what we are looking for in Mr. Right or Mrs. Right, but none of us lie in bed and think about how we ourselves can become Mr. Right or Mrs. Right for someone else to find.”
Anyway, I saw this post on Facebook and decided that this might just be a divine appointment, so I commented, “Awkward to post a sermon here, but I listen to this guy out of Atlanta every week, and literally 5 minutes ago I finished listening to this. It’s on the very subject.” And then I posted a link to the podcast. This might not have been the bravest thing I’ve ever done, and maybe no one will listen to it, but it was at least an attempt at sharing your love with a group of people who likely don’t understand it very intimately.
Father, make me the man you need me to be in every way. Both for my wife and children, and for your world. Make it the same man. Let there be no duplicity in me, but just a life that worships you for the grace/mercy you give me and then turns around and gives that same grace/mercy to others. Do it all of your kingdom and your glory.
In Jesus’s name I pray,