1 Kings Chapter 11 is the tragic story of a wise king whose moral integrity was compromised. His inability to control his lust overshadowed the gift of wisdom God gave to him.
This story reminds me of the recent case of the moral failure of Ravi Zacharias. People were quick to judge the man, in fact, I even saw where some Christian commentators damned him to hell. What Ravi did was appalling, but Solomon had his own moral failure to overcome. In fact, Solomon never overcame it … it overcame him.
Solomon was a king whose wisdom was not matched in all the kingdoms around him, yet all the applied wisdom could not save him from himself. His worst enemy was not a foreign power … his worst enemy was his own compromised life of sexual indulgence.
Ravi Zacharias also had one of the best minds in defending the gospel. There wasn’t a question posed to Ravi that he couldn’t answer, and yet he was out of control when it came to his passion for women. This is true with most people who are out of control in some area of their life. Take drug addicts for instance, they know they need help and they also know that someday they will find themselves facing death and be unable to prevent it because of their addiction. I have seen addicts go into treatment and in a few short days, they left the treatment center because their passion for drugs was out of control.
Solomon had the advantage of God’s instruction to Israel … not to marry foreign wives because they would turn them against God. Solomon, with all his wisdom, ignored the warning and in his old age, God’s warning came true. Not only did Solomon create the places of worship for his wives, but he also joined them in worshiping these foreign gods. Solomon worshiped the following gods:
Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians
Goddess of sexual love
Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites
Associated with child sacrifice
Chemosh the god of the Moabites
Associated with orgy worship and human depravity
Many of these gods were worshipped through pagan rituals of human sexuality. This would make sense that Solomon would worship them since he had a passion for sexual encounters. After all, he had 1,000 women at his disposal in his own household.
Giftings, talents, and religious privilege will not protect you against yourself and your passions. That is why Jesus said that out of the heart comes the passions for evil:
Matthew 15 19For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.
That is why the most talented, gifted, and blessed can be a Solomon or a Ravi Zacharias, and still have demons of desire and passion. The uncontrollable passions of the heart, the forbidden fruit of a desire unfulfilled, can bring a person to go beyond the Godly character everyone assumed they possessed. The Prophet Jeremiah understood the heart when he penned:
Jeremiah 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
The only way the heart can be cured is by God. Only He can change the evil that makes up the human heart and replace it with Himself. Was Solomon or Ravi Zacharias not changed? Perhaps there was a time God worked in their lives, but the passions soon removed God from having the priority in their lives.
We all have read about Christian leaders who have publicly come out saying they no longer are following Jesus. What happens to these once faithful followers of Jesus? They simply fail to protect their hearts against the lies in our day.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Guard your heart by protecting it by prayer, by submitting to the Holy Spirit, and by the love you have for His Word, to hide it away in your heart:
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
You hold the power to protect the gift of salvation God has so graciously given you. It is a gift that cannot be taken from you, but you can give it away … when your heart’s passions rule your decisions.
Solomon was wise and Ravi Zacharias was gifted, but it all comes down to what rules your heart.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler