Our Old Testament reading appointed for today comes from the First Book of Kings and we hear how Solomon gradually fell away from God:
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 Israelites, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods;’ Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.
Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.’ (1 Kgs. 11:1-13).
Even the wise, like Solomon, can easily fall away from God, when they give in little by little, just as Solomon did who forsook his God because of personal pleasure. Solomon is a reminder to each of us. Even though he was the wisest of people, he decided to satisfy his personal desires rather than follow the will of God.
Let us pray: O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tomorrow, Friday, from 11 to 4 at the Galveston Islamic Center, “In the Name of God” Blood Drive, 921 Broadway, Galveston Texas 77550. Co-sponsoring the event is the Galveston Islamic Center, Congregation B’nai Israel, and St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church. The donated blood will be for patients at Galveston’s UTMB and Shriners Children’s Hospitals.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially the family of Doug McGraw who died this week.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550