by Christopher Harbin

Sidetracked Hearts
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 11:4-12

For many of us, beginning is easier than following through. We see plenty of relationships that begin well, but then fizzle out before long. Marriages fall apart, businesses fail, students drop out of school, people quit their jobs or careers, diets are dropped, exercise routines are discarded, resolutions are quickly forgotten, and groundswell movements for reform are abandoned along the course of getting on with our lives. Sometimes, the problem is that our initial decisions were unworthy of a corresponding commitment. At other times, it may be the commitment we lack. It may be that we lack the strength to follow through consistently on the chosen path. How do we keep from getting sidetracked in our commitment with God?

There were many pressures and stresses claiming Solomon's attention. He spent his reign in building projects of immense scale. The text tells us of hundreds of wives, one being a princess of Egypt for whom he built a palace. For her and many others of his foreign wives, he also built temples for their deities. Solomon began his reign well-enough, as we saw in 1st King 3, asking God for wisdom and erecting a Temple for Yahweh as the God of Israel. He was endowed by God with great wisdom, wealth, and prominence. Those blessings, however, were not enough. God's blessings did not keep him on a course of commitment. He found too many distractions, becoming sidetracked in his service to Yahweh.

There were things Solomon did well. Then there were those things that distracted him from a life of committed service to God. In Solomon's case, the narrator of Kings attributes the issue to his many wives from so many different cultures and nations. They brought into Jerusalem the gods each one of them worshipped. As a result, Solomon, after having built the glorious Temple to Yahweh, began to seek out these other, lesser gods. Rather than remain firm in his commitment to Ya ...

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