TEXT:         I Kings 11:1-13


INTRO:       Everyone loves to be loved by others!  We often go to great lengths to please people so they will like or love us.  This is a natural desire since God has made us all social beings.  This drive to be accepted can help build our self esteem.  Yet, this same desire can also become unhealthy when the desire to please is so great that one ignores sound principles in order to find acceptance by others.


      Jesus recognized that as humans we will want to please others, but that we must be careful that we don’t sacrifice the importance of pleasing God first.


      Those who get themselves in spiritual trouble are often those who have lost focus on who it is they need to please first, above all we are to please God!  There are Christians who attempt to please man and in the process have sacrificed their souls.  The temptation to move away from what God wants first starts with sentences like:


          “What will others think of me if they see me?”

          “I don’t want some to think I am some kind of weird spiritual nut you know.”


      The starting place should always be, What will God think of me?

      The pressures to please others above anything else will set spiritual traps for us.


ILLUS:            In 1992 Kerrin–Lee Gartner of Calgary, Alberta became the first Canadian in history to win Olympic gold in the women’s downhill.  In Canada she became an overnight sensation.  Shortly after her victory an announcer interviewing her commented that this must surely be the most significant day of her life.  To his surprise she answered, “No, the most significant day of my life was the day my marriage to my husband, but this ranks pretty high too!”  While pleased that so many of her countrymen was pleased with her she had not lost sight of the one who she wanted to please even more, her husband!  If she ever lost sight of that her love for him would diminish as the need to please her countrymen would grow … so she was keeping focus.  This is probably why so many Hollywood marriages fail, they live to please their audience and in the process lose sight of the relationships that they need most to please.  We can do the same with our relationship to God if we are not careful too!  -- Source Unknown


PROP. SENT:     The Bible teaches us to avoid the temptation to please others above God.  If this desire becomes greater than our desire to please God it will cause our priorities to become compromised, and we will lose sight of the real relationship we should have with God.


I.      THE “HEART” OF THE PROBLEM!   11:1-4


       A.      Desires   11:1-2

1.   Solomon truly wanted to please God early on, after all, it was he who built the temple for God’s people in Jerusalem.  It was he who called a great solemn assembly for the people to come and worship.

a.   One of the great moments in the Old Testament was the dedication of the temple built by Solomon.

b.   The glory of the Lord was so powerful that the priests could not stand to minister in it.

c.   God met Solomon personally, one of the two times in his life that God made a special visit with him.

2.  Solomon was loved by Israel, but he began to desire the love of others more than the love of God, and this led to a sad set of decisions and thus consequences in his life.  1 Ki 11:4 “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.”

      a.   It is tragic to note that as Solomon got older he compromised more!

b.   Most of the people who fell away from God did so in the later part of their life!

3.  God’s instructions for Israel when they wanted a king was simple, as long as the king sought the Lord with ALL his heart God would bless the nation.  If the king however turned away to other loves the king would lose God’s blessings and all Israel with him.

a.   Solomon began to love the “greatness” that was attributed to him by others.  He started to build political peace through pagan marriages instead of trusting God to keep the peace.

b.   With all these foreign wives his heart and love turned away from God toward them, they drew his heart away.

c.   No wonder God had forbidden Israel to marry foreign wives in Deut. 7:1-4; the desire to please them above God would be tremendous, and costly!

4.  Solomon began to find his love for these ungodly wives rising against his love for God and he began moving in a different direction from what God had directed him earlier.  This was a formula for a disaster.


ILLUS:    In the 1990’s there was a massive earthquake in Kobe, Japan that killed thousands and caused huge losses.  The destruction was in the tens of millions of dollars.  46,000 buildings alone lay in ruins when the quake stopped.  1/5 of the entire city was instantly homeless!  What caused such massive damage?  They discovered that there were two plates moving in the earth in opposite directions to each other, and suddenly the locked plates gave way at the friction point.  The plates slid 6 to 10 feet in opposite directions!  This is what happens to us when we find ourselves moving in opposite directions from God, at some point something is going to give, and the results can be devastating!  --  Source Unknown


5.    Solomon’s desire to love and please these foreign wives grew stronger and stronger, political pressures added to this … and before he knew it his love and passion for God was misdirected.

a.     God Himself said He is a jealous God … He will not take “second place” in any of our relationships.

b.     He does not accept a second place position!

c.     The very first commandment in the 10 commandments deals with this very issue:

(1.             “No other gods before me!”

(2.             Jesus said the first commandment was to “love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

6.    Solomon’s love and desire was to please others, his wives and political leaders around the world became greater than his trust in God’s power to keep the nation strong and at peace.  Solomon found himself compromising spiritual principles in order to keep these wives happy and satisfied.  He was in deep trouble!!


B.    Devotion!   11:3-4

1.   These political marriages made strong ties with the nations around him, these wives were the daughters of kings of other nations or members of their harems.

2.  Solomon was thus locked into being devoted to these wives in order to please the kings of the other nations to keep the peace.

3.  This desire to please them more than God grew stronger as time passed.

a.   As he gave himself more and more to them he had less and less to give to God.

b.   Over a period of time his devotion was almost strictly toward pleasing man rather than God.

4.  This was no an overnight development, it grew into this as time passed and he had to keep pleasing others above God.

a.   He had set the pattern of his life, and it consumed more and more of his time and energy.

b.   It is interesting to note that much of the book of Ecclesiastes may have been the expression of his life during those times, this may explain the opening remarks in the book when it says, Eccl 1:2  "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless."

c.   It may also explain the harsh burden Israel began to feel under his kingship as taxes rose higher and higher and stressed the people of Israel.

5.  It is easier to want to please what we can see and feel than to please something we can’t physically see or feel such as God.


ILLUS:    In an Arab country a general in the Persian army had a strange custom for all those who faced execution.  He would allow them to choose their final punishment with one of the following choices:

(1.      The firing squad

(2.      Or the “big black door” and what was behind it that they couldn’t see.

When the moment came for the sentence to be carried out almost everyone always took the firing squad rather than the unknown thing behind the “big black” door.  Sometimes a prisoner would stop and think, but then would choose the firing squad after thinking about it.  The general’s aide one day asked him what was beyond the “big black” door that no one ever picked and to his surprise the general said, “Freedom from execution and prison, they could go free.  In all these years there have only been a few who have taken it, they prefer the known to the unknown almost always.”  This is what we sometimes do when confronted with the choice to please God or man, the familiar thing is to please man, but the right choice is always God!  -- Source Unknown




      A.      Detestable!   11:5-6

1.   Solomon introduces 3 particularly evil gods and their worship into the very heart of Israel!

a.   Asheroth:  This was a goddess of fertility associated with all kinds of lustful practices.  God’s word had particularly singled out this kind of worship as abominable for Israel to participate in, Israel was to have nothing to do with the “Asheroth” and “Asheroth pole.”

b.   The Ammonites horrible god Molech is also mentioned here, this god was worshipped at times with the offering of children in the fire as sacrifices!  It was strongly condemned by God and forbidden by Israel … EVER!  The Ammonites were a wicked and cruel people; God did not want their influenced on Israel.

c.   The Moabite’s god Chemosh is also mentioned, and like the god Molech this god demanded sacrifices that included human children through fire.  The idols were made of metal with outstretched arms and a hollow belly with a place for a fire to be built inside the statue. This fire would heat up the metal and the metal arms so that when the children were placed in the arms of the god they were burned alive.  No wonder God hated this kind of worship!!!

d.   Yet, Solomon’s desires to please others instead of God had introduced all these wicked practices and worship to Israel, his foreign wives had brought this all in and Solomon had given in to allowing places of worship to be built for his wives and their religious practices.

2.  Incredibly, Solomon at first only tolerated these worship styles by his wives, but later he financed and actually built “high places” around Israel for their worship to be practiced!

a.   What Solomon only tolerated at first he later endorsed and participated in … why?  Because he sought to please others for political reasons.

b.   What an incredible fall, all because he loved these foreign wives more than his love for God’s word and direction.

c.   This great passion for these forbidden wives caused a devotion problem; he gives in to them rather than uphold God’s principles.

d.   This of course esteemed in the eyes of the world, something he certainly enjoyed, but it pained the heart of God.

e.   No doubt he may have rationalized that it at least kept the nation out of war and at peace, but it was laying the groundwork for God’s blessings to be withdrawn from Israel and the future split of the nation.

3.  A man with so much wisdom FELL TO THE TEMPTATION TO PLEASE OTHERS RATHER THAN GOD … what about us?

      a.   If one of the wisest men on earth could do this so can we!

b.   We must guard our hearts and be sure our focus is FIRST to please God, not man.


     B.      Deterioration   11:7-8

1.   The author had mentioned how Solomon was not wholeheartedly devoted to God like his father David had been, yet David had made mistakes too.

a.   But David always repented and sought to please God above everything else, he always came back to the proper alignment of priorities.

b.   Solomon was lacking this saving quality, he sought to please people above God unlike his father David.

c.   David had a love for God commandments even when he had broken them; he always came back to them.  Solomon was more concerned about the political unrest that might come if he displeased a foreign wife and the country she might have represented, so God’s commandments took second place.

2.  Solomon was going directly against God’s Word which had clearly condemned these marriages and these idols.  He went so far as to erect “high places” to these idols IN ISRAEL in support of his love for his wives.

3.  The deterioration became obvious in Solomon’s life, and in Israel’s life these planted seeds were setting the stage for the kingdom to be divided and moving toward destruction later.

a.   Things went downhill as time went on; sin began piling up in his life and in the nation’s life.

b.   Corruption began to grow, and instead of prosperity coming from God Solomon maintained it by high taxes … which taxed the nation’s joy and strength.  It also led to harsh increases after Solomon that led to the nation being divided bitterly.

c.   What began as merely toleration became participation!  We need to remember this when we begin to follow this process!

4.  It would reach the point where God could no longer ignore the sin, action would be required, the action of discipline.


ILLUS:     In 1991 a judge fined two brothers who owned a Bridgeport, Connecticut wrecking company nearly $900,000 in fines for operating an illegal dump.  In 1986 on empty lots next to their facility they had dumped debris from buildings they had torn down because they couldn’t find a legal place to put it.  They had done this only as a temporary plan, but as more and more was added to the pile over years it had grown to over 2 acres that was 35 feet deep!  They spent $330,000 a year to try and clean it up but it had hardly dented the pile!  According to one brother who was asked how this happened, he said, “It was never supposed to get this high!”  But it did!  I am sure Solomon never dreamed he would do what he did in building idols around Jerusalem, but it just happened over time as he sought to please his wives above God.  Things just deteriorated over time!  Sin always works this way!  -- Source Unknown


5.    His desire to please the flesh grew and his spirituality deteriorated as did that of the nation of Israel.

a.     How about us as Christians today, what is your desire, what do you want to please the most?

b.     Does God find a second or third place in your life, or even less?

c.     Who or what are you trying to please?




     A.      Decline!   11:9-11

            1.  This was hardly the kingdom God had envisioned for His people!

            2.  This was hardly theHoly City God had claimed as His own place to dwell!

3.  The temple was hardly the center of Israel’s life anymore, there were altars to other gods all over the place!

4.  The nation of Israel was in serious decline!

a.   This is what happens when desire to serve the Lord takes second place to the desires to serve this world.

b.   Any nation or church can expect decline when their people have a greater desire to please self or other things rather than God.

5.  God is angry with Solomon, for all Solomon’s wisdom this was pretty stupid!

      a.   Solomon had broken almost every covenant commandment.

      b.   Worse, it didn’t seem to bother him much either!

c.   There is almost a hint of hurt in God’s voice here in stating that Solomon had turned away from Him, and after God had appeared to him at least twice in a personal way which was rare in the Old Testament.  Not many could claim they had had a personal contact from God once, much less twice!

d.   Yet, Solomon chose to please people instead of God.

6.  His love for God faded fast in light of his love for these women, he yielded easily to the TEMPTATION TO PLEASE OTHERS BEFORE GOD.  This happens easily when we misplace our devotion for wrong things.

a.   Solomon’s attitude was “I don’t care; I love these women too much to disappoint them.”

b.   Solomon so easily dismissed God’s Word and commandments, he wanted to please people instead of God!  This is so often still true today!

7.  God tells Solomon that the spiritual decline will be costly; the united nation would in the near future be divided!

a.   The splendor of Israel that had brought the queen of Sheba to visit would end, what was once a great nation would become a bitterly divided one!

b.   This was a decline that did NOT have to happen, but pleasing others above God does have a pricetag down the road, a huge one!


    B.      Detour!   11:12-13

1.   Once again, God states that because of David He would spare the nation from total loss, but not because of Solomon!

a.   The godliness of forefathers would allow for some grace, Solomon’s kingdom would not be destroyed until after his death.

b.   God would also preserve a witness for Himself through the southern kingdom of Judah, the only nation later to have any godly kings!

2.  This detour would remove the grand nation that Israel was becoming under Solomon into two constantly warring nations that often found themselves conquered and hurting … and often fighting each other!

3.  They had found a horrible detour to what God had wanted for them, all because one man pleased others rather than God!

4.  Even their most carefully laid plans would fail, they had missed the most important thing in life, pleasing God first!


CONCLUSION:   As Solomon’s love for his wives grew above his love for God he sought to please them with a greater passion than his passion for God.  He desired to keep everyone happy and in the end discovered that no one was really happy, God was not happy either!  His chosen people had taken a route that led them to ruin.  The only true way to win in this world is to please God above everything else!