Yeah, I’m not sure whether Solomon actually loved all the women. It says he did, but that could just be poetic language since he married them all. Or it could be that he loved the prestige of being married to them all. Or, as I heard taught more than once, he could have loved ‘being with’ them. (Not sure the dangers of lust is where I’d go with his story, but I guess I can see it.) Personally, I think he loved the prestige of being politically desired. I think he allowed and then participated in the idolatry to keep the peace. That many women, it probably seemed ‘wise’ to let them observe their own religions, right?
Whatever his motivation for these relationships, his indulgence broke his covenant with God, and it cost him and the entire nation dearly.
And then you have Jeroboam. Come on man! God makes him the same promise he makes all the other anointed leaders, offers the same covenant: stay faithful to me, and I’ll bless you and your line forever. Does Jeroboam even consider keeping the covenant? Nope!
Instead, he decides that allowing Israel to remain faithful will cost him the throne rather than secure it. He actively draws Israel away from God, on purpose! I mean, this is taking things to a whole new level. I think this is the least amount of faith we’ve seen demonstrated yet.
The kicker in this passage, though? The man of God. I mean, he tries to be faithful. He has a job to do, and he does it well. He rejects the king’s offer. (Probably for the best, I can’t believe Jeroboam was actually being hospitable. I bet he would have killed the guy.) But he falls for a lie from a known prophet. His folly costs him his life.
Now, I don’t know if he just really wanted to believe the prophet because he was really hungry and thirsty, or if he was just that gullible. I don’t know why the prophet lied in the first place. What I do know, is that we are responsible for our choices regardless of who leads us to them or what their motives may be in doing so.
We have the word of God. We have the Spirit guiding us personally. We have an obligation to test the instruction we receive, the guidance we are given, against the Scripture and against the Spirit. If it contradicts the word of God, we are obligated to follow the word of God rather than man. Regardless of who that man might be.
We can’t just blindly follow. Just because someone is a pastor does not mean they are always correct. Just because someone has a radio show endorsed by a minister we happen to like does not mean they are always correct. Just because someone has a successful ministry with a good PR team does not mean they are always correct. There is no hat, no badge, no marker of any kind that identifies anyone as completely and utterly trustworthy. There is no tradition old enough that it should just be followed. We are each responsible for our own actions regardless of our education or leadership.
So be vigilant. Be intentional. Study the word for yourself, and acquaint yourself with the guidance of the Spirit through prayer. Be careful out there folks: the world is full of ignorant as well as deceived and malicious characters.