1Kings 11:1 And King Solomon loved many foreign women, even the daughter of Pharaoh, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites; 11:2 of the nations which Jehovah had said to the sons of Israel, You shall not go in to them, and they shall not go in to you; surely they will turn away your heart after their gods. Solomon clung to these in love. (Deuteronomy 7:1-4)
Here we see the beginning of the end.
King David had built a great and powerful kingdom
His son Solomon took that over and built it even stronger
Solomon built the temple of God,
He tried hard to please God (in the beginning)
Here is the first thing, we read, that Solomon does wrong.
This error (marrying foreign women) is what causes the downfall of Solomon, his son, and eventually the entire country.
This decision Solomon made, to marry foreign women, started his downfall.
Deuteronomy 7:1 When Jehovah your God shall bring you into the land where you go to possess it, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 7:2 and Jehovah your God shall deliver them before you, you shall crush them, completely destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.
What was so wrong with those other cultures, those other people, the "the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites,"?
These were very, very bad people. There is actually no comparison to any culture I know of today. They were very evil people.
They did things like:
Sacrificing their children (putting them to death)
Having prostitution as part of their church service
Publically raping women and men (Judges 19:22-24)(Genesis 19:5)
These were very bad people and God was saying He didn't want His people to be affected by these sinful things. God was saying "when I give you a new life, don't keep parts of the old bad life".
This is like God saying to you now "When I bring you into the new life I have for you, don't keep parts of your old life".
You remember some of the things you used to do before you were saved, the way you would live your lives, well, when God brought you into this new life, when He brought you into His family, when you got saved, He wanted you to get rid of the old harmful ways you would live your life.
That is the idea here, God brought the Israelites into their new country, God gave them a new life, and He wanted them to get rid of the old life. The old life that was full of very bad things, because those bad things could affect the new life God wanted them to enjoy.
In Deuteronomy 7 the bad things those other people were doing, were very, very bad. In your case, when God brought you into this new life, probably you were not doing anything as bad as the people listed in chapter7 but those bad things from your old life can still corrupt your new life. They can ruin the good life God wants you to enjoy.
The only reason God wants you to give up the old bad things you were doing before is because he wants you to be happy, and those old sinful things you did before didn't really make you happy.
Doing some of those old things may have tricked you into thinking you were happy, for a few brief moments, but you know that they also make you feel bad and they had bad consequences too.
Is there something from your old life that you know you need to give up? God wants you to enjoy this new life He has given you. That thing from your old life, that sin, also has the possibility of dragging you back into your old life. Sin is keeping you from completely enjoying this new life. As Hebrews 12:1 says don't just leave those things behind, throw those things away from you. Because God has even more good things He wants to give you.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
That is a message for us today, leave your old ways behind, enjoy the new life God has given you.
Deuteronomy 7:3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to his son, nor shall you take his daughter to your son. 7:4 For they will turn away your son from following Me, so that they may serve other gods. So the anger of Jehovah will be kindled against you and will destroy you suddenly.
I will tell you God doesn't have to destroy you, if you get turned far enough away from God, you will self destruct.
King Solomon broke the command to not take foreign wives. He brought them into his life and they did turn his heart away from the Lord, just like Deuteronomy 7:4 says.
The funny thing is that this idea of not taking "foreign wives" is still a command for us. The only difference is now, because we have been adopted into God's family, we have been made a part of God's family; the concept of what is a "foreign wife" has changed. Now the idea of "foreign wife" is not of a different nationality but of someone not of our family. That is not of the family of God.
Solomon was not supposed to take foreign wives because of the command in Deuteronomy 7:1-4. The reason they were not supposed to marry foreigners was because they were not "Christians" then didn't believe in our God. And how they lived their lives showed the difference. They did not believe in our God. Therefore they really did pull the people away from our God.
Today, the Bible tells us we are not supposed to marry people that are "foreign" to Christianity for all the same reasons.
2Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?
In other words there is a big difference between believers and unbelievers.
In 1Kings and 2Corinthians the idea is the same. In Deuteronomy God was saying if you marry someone from another country they will turn you away from God. In 2Corinthians the idea is if you marry someone that is not a Christian they will pull you away from God.
And that is completely true.
If you marry a non-believer you may see it, you may experience it, as a slight pulling away, by the way they talk, the words they use, the goals they have, and their philosophy of life. You may sense them pulling you away from God gradually.
Or it could be more serious, like they don't want you to go to church, or they don't want you to read your Bible, or they make fun of you for believing in Jesus.
I was married before, I am divorced. In my prior marriage my wife didn't want me to go to church, didn't like it when I read my Bible. That had an effect on me and on my relationship with God. They had a far greater impact than I realized at the time.
I guess that makes sense. It is easy to imagine how you could end up married to a non-Christian, you get lonely, or tired of waiting, or you meet a really cute guy or girl. Then you want to fall in love or you want to get married. So you do. You fall in love and get married, even though you know the difference in your faith will cause a problem in your marriage. You think it won't be that big of a deal.
But the really strange thing in my case was that because of my marriage I was pulled a bit away from the Lord AND being pulled away from the Lord had a bad effect on my marriage.
You have heard those Christian sayings about how you need God in your marriage, about it being a 3 strand cord, about how if both you and your spouse are seeking the Lord that He becomes a partner in your marriage.
Marriage can be quite difficult. And trying to do marriage without God's help can be nearly impossible. So if you marry someone that is not a Christian, you are marrying someone who is not getting the help they need in marriage. If you marry a non-Christian, you are marrying someone who is not prepared for the difficulties of marriage.
It's like if you marry a non-Christian you are only marrying half a person. You will be marrying someone that doesn't have the tools needed to truly have a successful marriage.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?
Those examples righteousness and lawlessness and light and dark are used to show you how different those things are. They are opposites, righteousness and lawlessness, light and dark, they are in conflict with each other. That is how different it is to be married to a non-Christian. They are opposite. Understand this: In the most important area of your lives you will be completely opposite and in conflict with each other.
So if you are in a relationship with someone that is not a Christian, or are thinking of getting into a relationship, keep these things in your mind and heart. If you are lonely, want to be in love, want to be married, want to have children and are tired of waiting for the right Christian person, keep these things in your mind and heart. The consequences of Solomon's choice to marry 'foreign women' affected his life, his son's life and the entire country. Your decision to be in a relationship with a non-Christian will have a very big negative influence on your life.
On the other hand, your choice to marry a Christian will give you a third partner in your marriage. And a big blessing.
Let's see how this works out for Solomon
1Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 11:4 For it happened when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods. And his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites; 11:6 and Solomon did evil in the sight of Jehovah, and did not go fully after Jehovah like his father David. 11:7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill which is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the sons of Ammon. 11:8 And likewise he did for all his foreign wives, and burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 11:9 And Jehovah was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from Jehovah, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice 11:10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; and he did not keep that which Jehovah commanded.
Kind of makes sense that God was angry, Solomon didn't just quit following God, Solomon started seeking a lot of other gods.
Imagine that. 11:9 says God appeared to Solomon twice And: Solomon was the wisest man in the world, King David was his father, Solomon was rich and powerful, Solomon had built the Lord's temple and Solomon ruled a big and unified country.
And still Solomon turned away. And when Solomon turned away from God, Solomon's life, and the life of all those around him got a lot worse.
We need to be careful. We are not going to reach a place where God irrelevant in our lives. But no matter the things God has done in our lives, there is always the chance we will turn our back on Him. This is why we need to be sure we are spending time daily praying and reading our Bibles. Because we need to keep God in our lives everyday.
1Kings 11:11 And Jehovah said to Solomon, Since this is done by you, and since you have not kept My covenant and My statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.
This marrying foreign wives did not work out well for Solomon. The idea of marrying a Christian is an important one. Above all the examples stated here, ask anyone here that may be married to a non-Christian how that is going for them.
But what if you are already married to a non-Christian? What if you became a Christian after you got married?
You are having lots of disagreements with your spouse: Where you go on vacation (or what you do when you have time off together), How you raise your kids, What you are going to do every Sunday, Whether your kids should go to church, What you are going to watch on TV, (or not watch) The kind of music you will let your kids listen to, What kind of friends you will have, What you do for entertainment, How you spend your money, How you talk to each other, (and treat each other)
When you get married you are joining together (the two shall become one) mentally, physically and spiritually. Except if you don't marry a Christian you are not joining spiritually (one third of your marriage)
So what if you are already married to a non-Christian?
1Corinthians 7:10 For married people I have a command which is not my own but the Lord's: a wife must not leave her husband; 7:11 but if she does, she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and a husband must not divorce his wife. 7:12 To the others I say (I, myself, not the Lord): if a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she agrees to go on living with him, he must not divorce her. 7:13 And if a Christian woman is married to a man who is an unbeliever and he agrees to go on living with her, she must not divorce him. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is made acceptable to God by being united to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made acceptable to God by being united to her Christian husband. If this were not so, their children would be like pagan children; but as it is, they are acceptable to God.
Here God says a woman must not leave her husband, but if she does, she must stay single or be reunited with her husband.
Please note that if your husband is being abusive, and you need to remove yourself from that situation. Verse 11 says "if she does, she needs to stay single or be reunited with her husband". Obviously leaving your spouse is a bad thing, we all know that, whether we are Christian or not. But if abuse is involved you need to protect yourself and your children AND you need to give your spouse time to grow or heal from whatever is making them so violent.
God hates divorce and some of us know why, because of all the pain it causes and here God is saying if you have to leave your husband, don't desert him, don't abandon him, don't get divorced. While your spouse is healing You can love them and be married to them but live elsewhere.
And in verses 13 and 14, what does it mean that you being a Christian make your husband and children acceptable?
I don't know what it means, there are many opinions but we know it doesn't mean they are going to heaven because you are a Christian.
Here is what I think It means: 1Peter 3:1 In a similar way, you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands so that, even if some of them refuse to obey the word, they may be won over without a word through your conduct as wives 3:2 when they see your pure and reverent lives. 3:3 Your beauty should not be an external one, consisting of braided hair or the wearing of gold ornaments and dresses. 3:4 Instead, it should be the inner disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great value in the sight of God. (ISV)
As verse 1 says, you can win your spouse (and children) over by your conduct. You as a Christian have a good impact on your family. Won over by your conduct, as opposed to verse 3 by the way you dress. You know how some of the ladies dress around the city, that will catch your husband's attention, but these verses say that kind of attention is not what matters, not what is important, and it tells you not to seek attention that way.
Instead you are to attract your husband by your conduct and by your beliefs.
Verse 2 says you can win over your spouse through your "pure and reverent lives". You are probably thinking "My life is not "pure and reverent"". You are probably thinking of all the times you have failed in living as a Christian. But please keep in mind that you are trying, and you are asking God to forgive you when you fail.
And actually, it is not the "pure and reverent" life that your husband and children see in you, but they see your attempt to be pure and reverent. Your trying to be pure and reverent is what is winning them over.
Remember how Solomon's wives turned his heart from God? How he, and so many people were drawn into doing bad things because of pulling away from God.
You are the opposite.
If you are married to a non-believer you are the opposite of the examples I gave in the beginning of this sermon. You are drawing your spouse (and children) Towards God.
A non-believer will draw you away from God, that is why you shouldn't marry one. And they will draw you away from God if you are married to a non-Christian.
But at the exact same time, you, as a Christian, are drawing your spouse to God. You Are a good example for your spouse and children.
They know you are a Christian, they know you act differently than they do, they know you hold yourself to a higher standard than they do, than their friends do. You are someone they look-up to, even if you don't realize that.
Your spouse and children are not going to tell you that they admire your integrity and reliance on God, they will not tell you that they wish they had the peace you have in God, But they are looking up to you. You are a good example to them.
So, in conclusion: If you are single, wanting to be in love, wanting to get married, wait. Wait for a Christian. Marrying a non-Christian will not give you the relationship, the marriage you long for. Yes the wait can be long, but God has not forgotten you, and the wait will be worth it.
If you are married to a non-believer yes, you have a tougher life. You have more disagreements, more challenges and you are only connected two ways instead of three. And your non-believing spouse can draw you away from God.
But you are, beyond any doubt, drawing your spouse and children towards God. That final choice to accept the Lord is theirs, but there is no one else in their lives that are making a bigger impact on their lives for good, than you are.
Our greatest desire is...
for people to come to know God personally. The simple truth is that there is a God who created you and loves you very much. (Genesis 1:1) He gave us life and deserves our gratitude and love.