“As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’
“But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’ “ 1 Kings 9 4-9
Now that God had given Solomon wisdom, he had some standards to go along with it. God wanted Solomon and his sons to walk uprightly. He realized how easy it would be to be wise but not Godly, to know the good to do, but not to actually do it, to serve God half-heartedly, especially when life is going well. He would bless them if they continued to serve Him.
On the other hand, if they began to go astray, disaster awaited them. God also knew the results of turning away from Him: embracing other gods. There is a pattern in the Scriptures of God blessing the people, the people becoming disgruntled then beginning to serve other gods, and then disaster.
Before we’re quick to judge Old Testament character for falling away from God, it’s a good chance for us to look within ourselves to see if little gods have taken the place of the One True God. What are those little gods, you ask? Think about it, what is it in your life that is more important than God? Could be money, popularity, sports, how you look, craving recognition. These things are wrong if they are what drives us, if they motivate us to do the things we do. Essentially, here’s the question to ask yourself: what thoughts consume me throughout the course of a normal day?
Turning away from God rarely comes all at once. Instead, we fall away in small steps or stages. The beauty of it is we can turn back towards Him any time we want, no matter how far we’ve strayed! He’s the God of the Second (and Two Hundredth) Chance.