Religion Can be a Stumbling Block

We have been working through a few major issues that could easily distract the people of God. The things considered are in fact idols in the shape of wealth, vanity, horses (power) and women. We have been using Solomon as a Biblical example of how not to turn away from God. From being blessed with the finest wisdom in the world, through the impact of what I have mentions above, Solomon stepped out of pace with the Spirit and crossed the line angering God.

1Ki 11:9 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.

It’s a sad day when one’s heart turns away from the source of grace, mercy, protection and love … turns away from God. I suggested reading Deut 17:14-20 to link it with passages used for the previous two Daily Notes in 1 Kings 10 and 11.

Religion Can be a Stumbling Block

To back up a little, Solomon had all the wealth, the military machinery, was extremely vain and had a harem far bigger than other kings and wealthy men of the day. Verse 3 tells that … “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines.” He:

1 Ki 11:1 … loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

Disobedience to God carries penalties that are unimaginable.

1 Ki 11:4 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.

He might have enjoyed the luxury and women for a season but they became a stumbling block to his relationship with God. He slipped into idolatry of the most severe nature:

1Ki 11:5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech 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 Molech 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.

You can picture what splendor he enjoyed apart from the wealth, military power to women, yet it was insufficient because a backslidden heart wants more than what God gives! When one considers Solomon building places of worship for his pagan wives which is direct rebellion against the reason God warned the king not to “take many wives” (more than one wife) and at that to take from pagan religions. These fives stumbling blocks were the result of rejecting God’s Word and following his lustful depraved nature. Through Moses, God said:

Dt 17:18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

Sadly Solomon as king turned away from God. He worshipped with these pagan wives in the places of worship he built for them. He put these idol gods on the same level as the One, True, Living God. This is the reason that God was angry with Solomon. He failed God by rejecting His Word.

Let us now see what God says to us today and apply this to our Christianity.

2Co 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

How often do Christians marry non-Christian (pagan) people only to find that they are pulled away from the Lord Jesus finding themselves either drawn into paganism or into a non-religious condition. The primary meaning of the text is most likely marrying non-believers, but it would include Christians partnering with non-Christians in businesses, pagan religions and cults, intimate friends and any practices that would be against Gospel principles. God is holy and will not have his people share their devotion with any other god, idol or person.

Dear Lord, please help us to understand Biblical principles so that we will know firsthand what to avoid and displease You so that Your anger does not burn against us, O God, help us not to backslide, stumbling away from Your love, protection and provision. Please grant us a greater passion for Your Word and the desire to apply Your Teaching to ourselves, children and friends. Mercifully come to our help for Jesus sake. Amen.

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