And then you hit this:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love (1 Kings 11:1-2)I say "you hit this," but really, it hits you. What depressing reading.
But what a solemn and needed warning. Was any man ever so blessed as Solomon? God had visited and spoken to him, not once but at least twice (1 Kings 11:9). Yahweh had blessed Solomon in every way imaginable: spiritually, psychologically, materially, socially, martially, politically (1 Kings 10:23-29). Solomon was in the best shape a mortal could be in. He was poised to be the greatest mortal ruler in all history.
And yet, what was the outcome? What was the result of Yahweh graciously meeting every one of Solomon's needs? Did this abundance of blessing produce godliness, holiness, contentment?
Solomon's heart was weaned away from God by love — by love for the wrong women.
I wrote this in my Bibleworks notes at this point:
Listen up, my soul. You dream how great everything would be if only, if only, if only? Look at Solomon. Fear.Nor was this simply a matter of folly. It was a violation of a specific command from God. What Solomon did was not merely stupid; it was immoral. It was wrong. It was wicked.
It was a sin against God.
Solomon could not have known all the misery that would come from his actions. But he knew it was rebellion against God. And, knowing that, he knew all he needed to know.
And so, for Solomon, healing could not come merely from regrets, nor from an inner, nagging, horizontal sense of guilt. He'd not deal with his acts merely by thinking of how he'd shamed his father (though he had), nor how he'd failed his nation (though he had), nor of how he'd made a fool of himself (though he had).
Solomon would need to see what he did as God saw what he did. He would need to see it first and foremost as a sin against God, as wrong because God said it was wrong. It was a crime against Heaven, it was rebellion against his King.
Solomon would need to come where his father did. David wronged his wives, he wronged his children, he wronged his nation, he wronged Bathsheba, he wronged Uriah.
Yet — though not denying any of that — what did David write, when brought to true repentance?
Against you, you only, have I sinnedWhat made David's sin sin, and not just mean or bad, was God. God said it was sin. That, and not human consensus nor enlightened self-interest, is what made it sin. As D. A. Carson has often said, in every sin, God is the most offended party.
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment (Psalm 51:4)
Solomon would need to confront his sin in that dimension. Then he would need to go back and tear down all the works of his sin. He would need to tear down the idols, the altars, the dark and noisome fruits his rebellion had borne. He would need to "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8).
Hence the Cross of Christ, where sin was not bruised, wounded, beaten, nor injured. Christ did not feel faint for our sins. He did not get a headache for our sins. He did not catch a bug for our sins.
Christ died for our sins, and made an end of our sins, and destroyed the works of the Devil. In Him, we die to sin, and must reckon ourselves dead to sin.
In Christ, then, we find not only forgiveness for our sins, though (thank God!) we do find that. We find severance from our sins. We find liberation from our sins. In Him, we die to sin, and live to God. No one who lives on in his sin — whether its guilt or its power — can say he has encountered the Cross.
But who who encounters the Cross finds freedom both from sin's guilt and its power.
I close with the words of D. A. Carson
There are plenty of lessons. Be careful what, and whom, you love. Good beginnings do not guarantee good endings. Heed the warnings of God while there is time; if you don’t, you will eventually become so hardened that even his most dire threats will leave you unmoved. At the canonical level, even the most blessed, protected, and endowed dynasty, chosen from within the Lord’s chosen people, is announcing its end: it will fall apart. Oh, how we need a Savior, a king from heaven! (For the Love of God : A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word. Volume 1 [Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998], October 8)Amen.