Thorns that choke the corn: 1 Kings 11.1–13 (7 October 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: 1 Kings 11

The writer of 1 Kings ascribes Solomon's spiritual downfall to the many foreign women he took as wives or concubines. No doubt many would have been acquired as status symbols or in the course of diplomacy, but there was still a strong element of sexual desire (verse 1). Again, it's Solomon's wealth and power that is his downfall: if whatever you desire is yours for the taking, it takes a strong sense of right and wrong for you to deny yourself what you want. In Solomon's case, there was a vicious circle: he desired women who brought their own religious practices with them into his court, and gradually his relationship with the God of Israel weakened: 'by the time he was old, they had led him into the worship of foreign gods' (verse 4) – including Molech, who specialised in the sacrifice of children by fire. In other words, he was behaving like every other absolute monarch of the time.

Solomon illustrates the truth of Jesus' parable of the sower and the seed that fell among thorns, standing for 'those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit' (Matthew 13.22). When we compromise or grow indifferent to our faith, we might think we're being terribly enlightened and modern. But we're storing up trouble, for ourselves and those who come after us. A 'golden age' that ignores God is a delusion; it's a castle in the air, a house built on sand.

Pray

Pray

God, when things are going well for me, keep my eyes on you. Help me to be faithful, and keep me from ever thinking that I don't need you.

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