One sad fact we’re going to learn about Israel’s history as we move forward in our study of the Scriptures is that not only did Israel at times accept the worship of MOLECH by foreigners living among them, but for the sake of tolerance even established the worship of MOLECH for themselves.
Even the great King Solomon built altars of sacrifice to serve a whole host of heathen gods including MOLECH.
He participated in the worship of these false gods declared an abomination by the Lord and even encouraged his own family to do likewise.
It’s not that King Solomon really believed in these false gods.
His motives were political.
He did it to show understanding towards those in his kingdom who held differing beliefs from him (Sound familiar?).
What’s interesting is that the reason given as to why King Solomon participated in idolatry was “love”.
He did it in “love”.
Some people will angrily deny that King Solomon worshipped other gods.
They’ll say how could a Bible hero who authored three of the inspired books of Scripture, including the much loved Proverbs, how can you say that such a man of God participated in idol worship?
Well, take a look at the following Scripture from 1st Kings:
“King Solomon, however,
loved many foreign women
besides Pharaoh’s daughter
Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.
They were from nations about
which the Lord had told the Israelites,
“You must not intermarry with them,
because they will surely
turn your hearts after their gods.”
Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth
and three hundred concubines,
and his wives led him astray.
As Solomon grew old,
his wives turned his heart after other gods,
and his heart was not fully devoted
to the Lord his God,
as the heart of David his father had been.
He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites.
So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord;
he did not follow the Lord completely,
as David his father had done.
On a hill east of Jerusalem,
Solomon built a high place for Chemosh
the detestable god of Moab,
and for Molek 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 11:1-8
Well, there you have it in all its ugliness.
King Solomon, the one who built the 1st temple, worshipped other gods to satisfy his many foreign wives.
Understand that the reason Solomon married all those women was to build political alliances.
In those days that was how one nation entered into an alliance with another nation.
The wife of a nation represented an alliance.
What makes this situation even more disturbing is that it’s not like Solomon grew up as a pagan and thus wasn’t familiar with God’s Torah.
No, he grew up under the Levitical laws and as a king of Israel he was required to know them well.
The Scriptures paint a tragic picture of a man who at one time was solely devoted to YHVH but fell prey to the pernicious attractions of idol worship.
Here’s the point that’s important to catch.
It’s not like Solomon completely disavowed worship of YHVH.
The point is he worshipped YHVH and false gods at the SAME TIME.
I’m talking about syncretism here.
The Scriptures say he committed idolatry in “love”.
He did it to please others and in the process ended up deceiving himself.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it?
A king of Israel making a mockery of all that Israel stood for.
His actions must have greatly offended and saddened those citizens of Israel who had stayed true to HASHEM.
There is a good modern example of such blasphemous idolatry.
Remember the day shortly after 9/11 when President George Bush stood in a Mosque and declared to the world that Allah was good, that Allah was God, and that Allah was the same god as the Christians and Jews?
He announced in a service broadcast globally that Islam was a valid, true and peaceful religion that was in complete harmony with the religion of the Bible.
When King Solomon did the same thing thousands of years earlier, Israel fell into a civil war and collapsed as a nation.
It would be a good 3000 years before Israel became a unified nation again after that happened.
I tremble when I see an elected leader of our nation profess that a false god is on the same level as the true God of the Bible.
But what saddens me even more is how some folks try to make it seem like what George Bush did wasn’t that big of a deal.
The Christian church just blew it off by saying that George Bush was just acting wisely as a “political leader”.
Well, if Solomon’s syncretism wasn’t acceptable back in ancient Israel, why would it be any different today?
This brings me to another important point.
How often do we do something “in love” that goes completely against what God has commanded in His Word because it seems so compassionate and merciful at the time?
This is why it is so dangerous to follow our hearts.
Our hearts are deceitful beyond our ability to comprehend.
Our hearts are what tell us that as long as something is done in love, it’s okay to override God’s commands and ordinances.
Our wicked hearts are what lead us to believe that Yeshua, the Torah made flesh, actually did away with God’s holy laws that were given at Sinai.
Our hearts are what tell us it’s okay to replace the Torah with whatever direction our hearts lead us.
After King Solomon, things became even worse for Israel.
King Manasseh and King Amon, who were the kings of Judah, made MOLECH worship mandatory, and those who refused were put to death.
Even in Yeshua’s time, there was an altar in GEHENNOM where MOLECH worship was practiced by burning children to death.
It is because of this wickedness that the Lord had no choice but to drive Israel out of the Promised Land on more than one occasion.
The Lord views tolerating the worship of other gods as an absolute abomination.
The cult of Molech had infected Israel like a deadly cancer because the people had refused to take the necessary action to stamp it out.
I’m sharing this to demonstrate how easy it is to assume everything is hunky dory in our relationship with the Lord when the reality is that idolatry is rampant in our lives.
Look at the modern Church today.
They honestly believe that in exercising loving tolerance, they are being true to God when the truth is they have become corrupted by the desire for power, status, money, and not wanting to be ostracized by society and the world at large
The conclusion of the matter is that the word “tolerant” must be eradicated from our vocabulary.
Harmony, peace, tolerance and compromise have been made into virtues in our day when what they really are our characteristics of cowardice, rebellion and sin against the Lord.