1 Kings 11:1-13 – We Are Only As Strong As Our Weakest Link

Posted: December 28, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 11:1-13

Solomon’s Many Wives

As we approach this Saturday, many of you who are college football fans know that the College Football Playoff semi-final games are this Saturday afternoon and evening. As many of you know, I am a passionate fan of the Clemson Tigers. My Tigers are the #2 seed in the four team playoff. The Tigers are making their fourth straight appearance in the playoffs (that are now in their fifth year). These are heady times to be a Tiger fan. We are experience the second great stretch of success for the Tigers that I have experienced in my lifetime. The first during my lifetime was during the 1977-1991 time frame where the team finished in the top 15 every single year (some years in the top 10 and winning a national championship for the 1981 season). But that has been nothing compared to this era of success that began in 2011. We have won at least 10 games every season beginning in 2011 and have finished in the top ten all of those years. Hear in the last four years we have finished in the top 5 every single year and won another national championship in 2016. We have made the national championship game in two of those four years. It’s a great time to be a Tiger fan.

This year as we approach the semi-final game, we will play Notre Dame. Both teams are undefeated. It will be the toughest game of the year so far for the Tigers. Notre Dame has a talented offense and a great defense to match our equally talented offense and great defense. It will be a battle. When you have two teams that are equal like this, the point of the other team is going to be to find the weakness of the other team’s offense or defense. The thing that Notre Dame will try to do is exploit our defense’s weakness, which is our secondary. Their deficiencies have been covered up most of the year by the superstars that the Tigers have on their defensive line and linebackers. Opposing teams do not often have time to let long pass plays develop against the rush of the Tigers. However, we have seen against South Carolina that if given time to throw, opposing quarterbacks can expose the weakness of our secondary. The Gamecocks, though they lost to us by 3 touchdowns, exposed our secondary as being weak against talented receivers.

That is my fear for Saturday’s game. Although Clemson has a great defense overall and is one of the best in the nation, the defense is only as good as it weakest part. Against Notre Dame, who has the best set of wide receivers that we will face so far this year and they have a good offensive line, Notre Dame will get some shots downfield. Will the Tiger’s secondary rise to the occasion or will they be the reason we get beat? Although Clemson is a double-digit favorite to win the game, the secondary of my Tigers against Notre Dame’s receivers scares me after watching an average Gamecock team torch them for 4 long touchdown passes in that rivalry game.

That’s what I thought about today as I read 1 Kings 11:1-13. Just as the great Clemson defense (ranked in the top 5 in all defensive categories) has its weakness (its secondary), Solomon’s weakness was his lust for women. It ultimately led him down a path that would ultimately destroy his nation. Let’s read about his weak spot now:

Chapter 11

1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 3 He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.

4 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech,[a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.

7 On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem,[b] he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.

9 The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 11 So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”

In this passage, we see that, although Solomon had clear instructions from God not to marry women from foreign nations, he chose to disregard God’s commands. He married not one but many foreign wives, who subsequently led him away from God. God knows our strengths and weaknesses. His commands are always for our good. When people ignore God’s commands, negative consequences inevitably result. It is not enough to know God’s Word and believe it, this belief cannot exist in a vacuum. It cannot exist only in our minds. We must apply it to our daily activities and decisions. Take God’s commands seriously. Like Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, according to God’s Word, we are not as strong as we may think.

For all his wisdom, Solomon had some weak spots. He could not say no to compromise resulting from lustful desires. Whether he married to strengthen political alliances or to gain personal pleasure, these foreign wives led him into idolatry. You may have strong faith, but you, just as everyone else, have areas of weakness – and it is in our weak spots that temptation usually strikes. Strengthen and protect yourself where you are weak because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If Solomon, in all his glorious wisdom can fall, so can we.

So just I worry about the Clemson secondary in Saturday’s game against Notre Dame, I should and you should examine ourselves for those spiritual weak spots. Those areas that we are sinning and rationalize it away. Those areas that we entertain sins in our minds but have not yet sinned. Those areas where we have turned away from sin from our past but still have a soft spot for that type of sin. What are the areas that you, as a Christ follower, know that you have a sin weakness. Steel yourself against your weak spot. Confess your weak spot to a valued confidant. Confess where you are weak. They can help you avoid situations in which you would be tempted to take the dive. Solomon did not have such a friend or either he did not listen to them. It ended up crushing his nation. Will your life be crushed by your weakness area? Let us each go to the Lord and ask that He steel us against the temptations for our favorite sin, our weak spot. Ask Him to take it from us and help avoid Satan’s siren song about these sins. Let us call on God and fellow Christians to help us remain strong and protect our witness to the world around us.

Amen and Amen.

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