Sometimes what seems like a small compromise can lead to devastating results. Maybe you’ve taken a short cut to home repair only to discover the resulting damage was far worse than if you’d fixed it the right way at the beginning. The same was true of Solomon. Considering the wisdom and wealth Solomon received from the Lord in the early years of his life, it is great disappointment that the king turned away from the Lord. How did this happen? The desertion comes through worshiping false gods. Solomon disobeyed the instructions God gave Israel about kingship.
In Deuteronomy 17:14–21, God commanded that Israel’s kings were not to take many wives. We can assume non-Israelite wives were in view because the command comes with a reason. These wives would turn the king’s heart after foreign gods. As Israel’s leader, it was of utmost importance to remain faithful to Yahweh. For as the heart of the king goes, so goes the nation. Solomon brought wives into his home who worshiped foreign gods. Over time he allowed himself to be persuaded to worship those gods. He even built shrines to false gods on a hill opposite Jerusalem within sight of the Temple he built for Yahweh (vv. 7–8)! In an echo of the golden calf incident in Exodus when Israel worshiped an idol in full view of Yahweh on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32), Solomon’s act of betrayal resulted in an extreme consequence—his kingdom would be turned over to an adversary.
God raised up enemies, including Jeroboam, who upon Solomon’s death would gain control of a large portion of the kingdom. But the consequences would not only affect Solomon but also the lives of everyone he led.
Today’s reading serves as a caution in our own walk with God. Are you making compromising choices? Stop and consider the effect this will have on your relationship with God and with others. Is the cost worth the compromise?