I was talking to a student recently, and he told me that his wife was counseling a friend whose husband was apparently having an affair. My student was friends with the husband, and what my student told his wife was, “My friend’s a nice guy. He just…likes women.”
Somehow, I don’t think my student’s wife passed this information along to her friend. This man, is risking his marriage because, “he likes women.”
And this, to say the least, was Solomon’s problem. He “liked women.” So much so that he married 700 women and had 300 more concubines. Although he married women from nations that God had warned the Israelites not to marry from, Solomon, “held fast to them in love.” (verse 2).
One wonders how much he truly “loved them.” He certainly couldn’t have spent much time with each woman. At a guess, he spent perhaps a day, or at best, a week with each concubine, and they were left to live the rest of their lives in luxury, but loneliness. As for his wives, I doubt they got much more attention from him. They would’ve been lucky to get one full day in a year from him, considering there were 700 of them and only 365 days in a year, not to mention the time he spent with his concubines. And yet, Solomon claimed, “I love them.”
The biggest problem, of course, is that these women turned his heart from God and got him worshiping false gods.
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (4-6)
Not fully devoted. I have no doubt that Solomon said to himself, “Well, sure I’m worshiping these other gods. But I still love the God of my father David.
But the point is, he was no longer wholehearted in his worship. He became half-hearted in his pursuit of God. And because of this, he ended up doing evil in the eyes of God.
How did this all happen? Compromise. And ignoring the voice of God in his life when he started going astray. He had to know marrying an Egyptian was a bad idea. And you see that he understood that deep in his heart even when he married her. In II Chronicles 8:11, Solomon said to himself upon marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter,
My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the Lord has entered are holy.
In other words, he knew God wouldn’t be pleased with this marriage. That God wouldn’t consider this woman acceptable. But Solomon “held fast to her in love.”
Perhaps he told himself, “I won’t let myself be influenced by her.” But he ended up following her gods, along with the gods of all the other women he married. And in the end, it led to his ruin.
How about you? Are you committing spiritual adultery? Are you trying to hold on to things you know you shouldn’t? Are you making things, if not more important as God, then as important as God? You may be fooling yourself, but when you make things as important to you as God in your life, you are no longer completely his. And soon, you’ll find yourself compromising in more and more things, doing things that God hates.
Let us not cling to the things of this world, committing spiritual adultery against God. Let us always make him first above all other things, letting go of the things that are taking our full devotion away from him.