Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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Mar. 8 – Perilous Temptations

“For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.” 1 Kings 11:4-8

Devotional Thought For The Day

The Scripture is full of descriptions of the tragic reality of the perversity of human sin. This one is particularly devastating, in view of the wonderful beginning Solomon had in his relationship with the LORD God, the only True and Living God [see 1 Kings 3:1-14]. In these verses we read that “Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father.” Further, Solomon demonstrated great humility and reliance upon God, asking only for wisdom, and so God promised: “Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”  Solomon was the wisest mere human ever to have lived on the face of the earth, and yet he fell into the rankest manner of idolatry imaginable.

It is a bit difficult for us to sort out all of the names of the false gods referred to. Asherah, Astarte, and Ashtoreth all refer to the same “goddess,” a “female” fertility goddess, the supposed feminine principle of the universe, associated with worship of the moon, and quite similar to the later versions, Venus and Aphrodite. Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech also all refer to the same “god,” the name varying from region to region around Israel, the conception of this “god” being the same – a wretched “god of fire” whose adherents offered their children as human sacrifices, burning them alive in hollow brass images of this demonic “god.” All of the “religious” rites of these “baalim,” these wretched false “fertility” gods, involved perverse sexual behaviors – fornication, temple prostitution, and in some instances homosexual behavior. All of this seems unfathomable to us until we make the connections – promiscuous sexuality and abortion, and homosexuality.  The principles and dynamics are identical, though the external “cultus” or ritual appears different.

What are we to learn from the downfall of Solomon?  That wisdom, as blessed and important as it is, is no defense against apostasy and idolatry. Second, that relationships can be corrupting – especially a multiplicity of “wives.” [I suppose the same could be true of  multiple “husbands”]. Third, that there is danger even in having close associations with those who are involved in idolatry – growing friendships can become disarming, so that we become less wary and more susceptible to “accepting” wretchedness and wickedness, and perhaps even participating in it. And we should understand that all proper relationship with God, all proper honoring, fearing, and showing proper deference and reverence toward God, the only True and Living God, begins with the heart – is a matter of faith. In Solomon, first faith fell, then his behavior reflected his loss of faith and love for God, and then what is reprehensible became acceptable, participated in, and supported [encouraged].

Thankfully, Solomon also knew of God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love – and though there is no definite answer provided in Scripture, it is hoped that ultimately, at the end of his life, he was brought back to repentance and to joyful faith in the LORD “his” God. Those involved in the ministry of God’s Word should note with proper fear that Solomon was one of the authors of God’s Word [Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and many of the Proverbs] – and yet he allowed himself to be lured away from faith and loyalty to God, at least for a time, with horrid consequences to his family and nation. We should tremblingly beg God to preserve us from such temptation, so that we remain in constant repentance, constantly being refreshed in God’s gracious love and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and constantly strengthened by His Spirit. May God preserve us from the kind of fall that happened to Solomon. May He preserve us in humble faith in His love, and in devotion to Him.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Heavenly Father, what sorrow must have afflicted Your heart in what Solomon, Your dear son, involved himself in. We certainly have much less wisdom than he did, and far less privilege. Preserve us from evil influences, and from reliance upon our own native gifts – our intelligence, wisdom, reason, education, and cleverness. Forgive us all trespasses of heart, mind, and action. Help us to cling to Your Word alone, to You alone, and preserve us from all unfaithfulness of heart and behavior. Amen.