1 Kings 11:4-10 New International Version (NIV)
4 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. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.
Adapted from D.L. Moody's Book "Weighed and Wanting"
Remember to whom the first commandment was given and see how necessary it was for God to command, "Thou shall have no other gods before me." The forefathers of the Israelite's had worshiped idols, not many generations back. They had recently been delivered out of Egypt, a land of many gods. The Egyptians worshiped the sun, the moon, insects, animals, etc. The ten plagues were undoubtedly meant by God to bring confusion upon many of their sacred objects. The children of Israel were going up to take possession of a land that was inhabited by heathen, who also worshiped idols.
This is one matter in which no toleration can be shown, Religious liberty is a good thing, within certain limits, but it is one thing to show toleration to those who agree on essentials and another to those who differ on fundamental beliefs. This commandment is plain, unmistakable, and uncompromising. We may learn from the way a farmer deals with the little shoots that spring up around the trunk of an apple tree. They look promising, and one who has not learned better might welcome their growth. But the farmer knows that they will draw the life-sap from the main tree, so that it will produce inferior fruit. He therefore takes his axe and his hoe to cut away the suckers. The tree then gives a more plentiful and a finer crop.
"Thou shall not" is the pruning-knife God uses. From beginning to end, the Bible calls for whole-hearted allegiance to Him. It took long years for God to impress this lesson upon the Israelite's, He called them to be a chosen nation. But you will notice in biblical history that they turned away from Him continually and were punished with plague, pestilence, war and famine. Their sin was not that they renounced God altogether, but that they wanted to worship other gods beside Him. Take the case of Solomon as an example of the whole nation. He married heathen wives who turned away his heart to other gods. He built high places for their idols and allowed their worship. That was the history of the whole nation's frequent turning away from God, until finally He sent them into captivity in Babylon and kept them there for seventy years. Since then, the Jews have never turned to other gods.
Doesn't the church fight the same difficulty to day? There are very few who in their hearts do not believe in God, but what they will not do is give Him exclusive right of way.
Are you ready to promise full allegiance to God alone? Many professing Christians are stumbling blocks because their worship is divided. On Sunday, they worship God; on weekdays, God has little or no place in their thoughts and God's standards are replaced with what feels good to the flesh. Let's be mindful everyday of who God is and how we should worship Him in every area of our lives.
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