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a Heart Turned Away from God
1 Kings 11:1-13
The practice of mixed marriages was in direct violation of the divine Law, Deuteronomy 7:3-4 , and it led to idolatry. All around the Holy City arose heathen temples. It seems almost incredible that Solomon should have lent himself to such unblushing patronage of idolatry. His sin was aggravated by the great privileges he had enjoyed, 1 Kings 11:9 , and there was no escape from chastisement, 2 Samuel 7:14 . The more privileged we are, the more disastrous our fall, and the more inevitable the penalty. If God loved us less, He might be more sparing of the rod. We are often punished with the rod of men, that is, we suffer at their hands; but God does not cease to love us. The father will listen at the door of the room of the child whom he has been compelled to chastise to detect the first sign of broken-hearted grief.
It is sad to witness the break-up of a noble ship. Listen to the boom of the successive waves: “His heart was not perfect”… “Did that which was evil”… “The Lord was angry”… “Behold, I will rend the kingdom.” But out of loving regard to David’s memory, one tribe was left. See 1 Kings 11:12 ; 1 Kings 11:32 ; 1 Kings 11:34 ; 1 Kings 11:38-39 . Your children’s children will benefit as the result of your consecrated life. God will not forget.
Breaking Three Commandments
1 Kings 21:1-29 ; 1 Kings 1:1-53 ; 1 Kings 2:1-46 ; 1 Kings 3:1-28 ; 1 Kings 4:1-34 ; 1 Kings 5:1-18 ; 1 Kings 6:1-38 ; 1 Kings 7:1-51 ; 1 Kings 8:1-66 ; 1 Kings 9:1-28 ; 1 Kings 10:1-29 ; 1 Kings 11:1-43 ; 1 Kings 12:1-33 ; 1 Kings 13:1-34 ; 1 Kings 14:1-31 ; 1 Kings 15:1-34 ; 1 Kings 16:1-34
From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Leviticus 25:23 ; Numbers 36:7 ; Ezekiel 46:18 .
Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2 Kings 9:26 . The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Revelation 6:9-10 .
Adversaries of the Recreant King
1 Kings 11:14-25
Two of the instruments of Solomon’s chastisement are enumerated in this paragraph.
First, Hadad, the Edomite , 1 Kings 11:14-22 . Notice the importance of a little child. All the male representatives of the royal family of Edom had perished; but in this child, the line was preserved and perpetuated, to be, through long years, a formidable menace to Israel. Never neglect a little child. You never know what good or ill may be hidden in a tiny bud-an Ingersoll or a Garfield, a Paine or a Wilberforce. Mark in this man Hadad the trace of those strange impulses which determine destiny. He could not assign the reason that led him to leave Egypt, but he knew he must go, 1 Kings 11:22 . Thus migratory birds feel the call of southern lands.
Second, Rezon, also, hated Israel , 1 Kings 11:23-25 . It is an awful thing when such hatred arises between two peoples. We as Christians must use all our power to arrest and allay it. Only love and good-will can guarantee a lasting peace. It was by these two human “rods” that God chastened Solomon. Let us live in such conformity to His will that he may not need to chasten us as individuals or as a nation. “Our God is a consuming fire!”
the Kingdom Promised to His Servant
1 Kings 11:26-40
The opening chapters of Jeroboam’s life were very promising. He sprang from the ranks of the toilers, but his business talent attracted the notice of Solomon, who set him over the forced labor which was levied from the great tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Whether Jeroboam had entertained the prospect of rulership before the prophet met him, we cannot tell, but after that interview his whole life was altered. And if only he had observed the injunction of 1 Kings 11:38 , he might have lifted Israel to a level of prosperity and glory that would have blessed the world. But, alas! he sinned, and made Israel to sin- 1 Kings 12:30 ; 1 Kings 13:34 ; 1 Kings 14:16 ; 1 Kings 16:2 ; 1 Kings 16:9 ; 1 Kings 16:26 , etc.
When God has given you your place, do not devise things out of your own heart, in order to retain it, 1 Kings 12:33 . The plans that Jeroboam laid to secure the stability of his throne led to its undoing, and covered his name with undying infamy. “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” “Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” “ Thou maintainest my lot.” Let those who feel compelled to do wrong in order to keep their business or position, dare to stand with God against the temptation. He will honor those who honor Him, 2 Samuel 2:30 .
the Wise King’s Foolish Son
1 Kings 11:41-43 ; 1 Kings 12:1-11
Solomon’s reign had been splendid but very oppressive, and it was reasonable to ask for some relief. The people felt that the accession of the new king gave them their opportunity, and apparently they took the first step in this momentous crisis. We are expressly told that Rehoboam came to Shechem . If this mighty gathering had been called by himself or his court, the people would have had to come to him at Jerusalem . Here was the muttering of the rising storm.
There was much wisdom in the counsel of the older men: “Serve them… then they will be thy servants forever,” This principle underlay the sacrifice of Calvary. “Thou art worthy to take the book, for thou wast slain,” Revelation 5:9 . It is because Jesus girded Himself with humility and washed our sins in His own precious blood, that He has ascended to the throne, not only of God, but of our hearts and lives. And He has taught us, that whosoever would become great must begin by being the servant of all. The proud and lofty in this world are served often enough with the eye-service that gives superficial obedience for wages and rewards, Ephesians 6:6 , but what is this compared with that which is yielded by gratitude and love!
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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany