Reading Through the Bible, Sunday, April 3. 1 Kings 11-14

“But.”

“However.”

Whatever translation you are reading, after reading of all the glory of Solomon, when you come to 1 Kings 11, one of those words, or one like them, reveals that all was not glorious in Jerusalem.

Many of Solomon’s marriages would have been diplomatic ones – a king gives a daughter to another king as a gesture of goodwill.  A king would take such a daughter hoping that her father would not attack his land while his daughter and grandchildren were there.

But each wife from each surrounding nation had their own gods – gods of their country and culture.  It would not be diplomatic to deny those gods, and it served diplomatic means to build them temples, honoring the gods and the countries and peoples they represented.

It was just politics.  After all, Solomon probably reasoned, you can’t let your religion get in the way of governance.

But you can.  And should.

God has a way all people should live, even those who are not Christians.  Christians live this way to keep their promised inheritance.  Both Christians and non-Christians should live this way to avoid God’s wrath. When a politician claims to be religious, but does not govern according to his convictions, he essentially acts irresponsibly toward those he governs – inviting the judgment of God – or he demonstrates his lack of conviction toward God.

The result, as Solomon’s life shows, is the destruction of a nation, the result of God’s judgment.  After a reign of peace, Solomon closes his monarchy with mounting pressure from the north (Rezon in Damascus), the south (Hadad in Edom) and among his own people (Jeroboam).

Christians who engage in public service have a duty to do so with an informed Christian conscience.  We would not force people to become Christians, because such would be contrary to Christianity.  But we must govern Christianly.