Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 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. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. I Kings 11:1-8 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, [Jesus] said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 ESV
Most people think that Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most brilliant military commanders in history. In the early 1800s he won a series of victories that gave him control of most of Europe. Napoleon controlled Belgium and Holland and large parts of Italy, Croatia, and Germany, while other countries became his allies. But Napoleon made a terrible mistake. He led his huge army across the Niemen River into Russia. When winter came, much of this army was wiped out by very cold weather, a lack of food, disease, and attacks from the Russian army. This foolish mistake was the beginning of the end of Napoleon’s power.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and he was blessed by God in every way. But when he was old, he made an unbelievably foolish mistake. He let his many, many wives persuade him to worship false gods and goddesses! He even built places of worship for these gods and goddesses while his wives offered sacrifices to them. How could Solomon do such a foolish thing? The Bible says his wives turned his heart away from the true God that he had loved and served all his life. His mistake was in disobeying God’s command that said God’s people shouldn’t marry people who worshiped false gods, because they would eventually turn to these false gods also.
Jesus calls his people to follow him only, and to leave the whole world behind if it calls them away from him. What good does it do, Jesus asks, if everything in the whole world becomes ours, but we lose ourselves, and our lives with God? We will be separated from God forever in the end. Jesus paid the highest price possible to win us for him when he gave his life on the cross for us. He sends us his Holy Spirit to give us faith and to help us follow him and stay close to him. Jesus loves us very much and stays close to us as we follow him every day.
Dear Jesus, please help me follow you no matter what happens today and always. Amen.