The sad story of Solomon’s fall is familiar to Bible readers. The writer of 1 Kings recaps…
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. 1 Kings 11:1-2 (ESV)
The King started so well, in such close communion with the Living God…and then…this. In fact, Solomon falls so far in Scripture that it’s almost hard to believe, but we aren’t left wondering why it happened. His wives turned his heart after other gods. But how did that happen? Yes, he loved these women, but why did loving them cause Solomon to love their gods? In other words, why does loving someone who doesn’t love God…or, for instance, who thinks wrongly about God (idolatry) cause the first lover to fall away? I was musing about this after reading the passage recently, and for whatever reason, my mind turned to kids who lose their faith at college, and their parents…who follow them.
I imagine this happens more than is reported – a child goes off to University and gets schooled in secularism, or maybe just modern day “Christianity” with its rejection of the church and Scripture and its embrace of cultural morals and mores…and Mom and/or Dad begin to rethink their own faith as a result. But what brings this about?
The Psychology of Solomon and Those Who Follow Him
I think it’s simple: when we love someone, we want to stay close to them by having things in common. Therefore, we want to root for the same teams, enjoy the same food, vote for the same President…and yes, worship the same God. This is undoubtedly what happened with Solomon – he loved these women, and not only the physical aspects of their relationship, I’m sure, but also the joy of their companionship (at least some of them, that is – there were too many to be close to them all).
And likewise, we parents love our kids greatly…sometimes, even too much. The child comes home denying the faith, or perhaps simply saying the church that the family has attended for all these years is outmoded and she wants no part of it. And Mom and Dad also start moving away. This is where child-rearing becomes idol-worship, where that relationship with the child brings such security that parent will push away Christ (and His bride, the church) to hold on to the child. Sadly, the only way to truly hold on to the child is to lovingly challenge her with truth.
But when such challenge does not take place, often a falling away on the part of the parent is the sign of what was really a spurious faith to begin with. Whatever the case, the lesson is clear – in this great big world of ours, be careful who you love…and in the case of family, be careful how you love.
For no relationship will ever be worth forsaking Christ…His Word…His gospel…or His church.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26 (ESV)