Laura Elliott, first grade Bible class teacher at the Cold Harbor Road congregation, was teaching my son Dale’s class about king Solomon’s three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines, about how not only was it wrong to have so many wives but how difficult it must have been for Solomon to keep up with all of their names. Laura tells me that Dale’s solution was simple: “Couldn’t he just call them all ‘honey’?” If only keeping up with their names was Solomon’s most serious task with regard to these women!
Reading 1 Kings 11, right off the heels of Solomon’s hosting of the Queen of Sheba and the extremely opulent exchange of gifts between them, we are impressed with an incredible flaw in Solomon’s character. Perhaps Ecclesiastes was written later enough in his life after 1 Kings 11 that he realized, with regret, the folly of such a lifestyle. Consider some things about Solomon’s deadly mistake.
First, his mistake was in whom he had such great affection (1 Kings 11:1-2). They were foreign women from nations with whom God explicitly forbad such fraternization! God knew that such worldly yoking would lead men to fall away from Him (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Cor. 15:33). Be careful as to who is the object of your affection – choosing wrong is a deadly mistake!
Second, his mistake was in how he held them in affection (1 Kings 11:1-2). These women of the world were apparently beautiful and seductive. The word for “love” in these two verses speaks more to physical attraction and very little, if at all, to pure, spiritual love. It might be said that Solomon pursued these women from lust. From his own pen, he wrote of how dangerous such pursuit is (Prov. 5; 6:24-35; 7:5-27; etc.). To follow his example today is a deadly mistake!
Third, his mistake was in what his affection for them led him to do (1 Kings 11:3-10). It led him to worship the idols revered by these pagan women. It also led him to ignore God’s commands and even outright rebel against them! The natural consequence of following in his footsteps is the same today – a choice must be made. Choosing the path of sensuality prevents one from obeying God. Obeying God makes it impossible to, at the same time, pursue such a sinful path. Choose like he did, and you make a deadly mistake!
Finally, his mistake was in what his affection for them cost him (1 Kings 11:11). His pursuit of these women cost him the kingdom! God took it from him through the rebellion of Jeroboam and the folly of Rehoboam, his son.
Following Solomon’s example is costly! It will often cost one dearly – financially, socially, and physically. Lacking repentance, it will surely cost one eternally! Yet, so many are imitating Solomon’s deadly mistake!
May we take a page from inspiration and learn from Solomon’s deadly mistake.