Pondering the Word – 1 Kings 3:3

PonderingtheWord“Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.”

This verse captured my attention as I was reading this week (using the F-260 Bible Reading Plan). And specifically one word struck me big time:  It was the word “except”.

A little background. When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, they were supposed to destroy all the hilltop shrines of the Canaanites:

“Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire;cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from their places.” (Deuteronomy 12:2-3, see also Deut 7:5 and Numbers 33:52)

Until the construction of the temple, Israel was only allowed to worship at divinely sanctioned sites. Solomon, however, continued not only to worship at existing high places but even to build more of them…

“On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.” (1 Kings 11:7-8)

This is the danger of allowing exceptions into our spiritual lives. What starts out as a small exception that we rationalize and convince ourselves that it will just be this one time becomes a repeatable habit and way of life that slowly but surely lures us away from God and destroys our spiritual health. Note what 1 Kings 11:9 says about Solomon…

“The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”

And it all started with one word… “except.”

  • Here are a few questions that this verse provokes me to ponder:
  • What are the exceptions I allow into my TV and internet watching?
  • What are the exceptions I make with regard to the things I spend money on?
  • What are the exceptions I make regarding stuff that I read?
  • What are the exceptions I make regarding dietary habits?

Exceptions can kill you. Be careful what you “except” in your life!

 

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