I came across an insightful phrase about King Solomon in chapter eleven of the first book of Kings. After the writer lists Solomon’s huge harem of wives and concubines he says that Solomon’s “wives bent his heart” (11:3, see note in NET Bible). They “shifted his allegiance to other gods” so that he was no longer “wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been” (11:4).
Solomon’s life started full of wisdom and in faithfulness to God, but did not last. Even though God had visited him twice and warned him to not worship other gods, over the years his heart slowly became divided as the idol of lust and the desires of his wives won his affections away from the Lord God of Israel to the detestable gods of the surrounding nations.
How did this happen? How did his heart get bent? Verse one of this chapter answers that question. The king “fell in love with many foreign women”. His faithfulness went to whom he fell in love with, and for Solomon that was women.
Yours and mine will too.
As the saying goes past performance is not a guarantee of future results, so too present faithfulness is not a guarantee of future faithfulness. Our future faithfulness follows our present affections. If you are married and your heart begins to be won over by someone else other than your spouse eventually, if you continue to “follow your heart”, you will be unfaithful to your spouse. Adultery and unfaithfulness do not happen overnight. It is a slow progression of a bending heart away from one’s covenant partner to another.
It is the same way with God.
Spiritual adultery and idolatry start with misplaced affections. What is your heart bending toward? What/Whom are you falling in love with?
Watch over your heart. And pray the prayer of Solomon’s father who knew the consequences of a bent heart all too well:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10)
Wherever your heart goes your faithfulness will follow.