“Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.” - 1 Kings 3:3
When Solomon was a child, the Bible says that “the Lord loved him, and He called him by the name Jedediah,” which means “Beloved of the Lord.” Now, as an adult, the newly-minted King of Israel sitting on his throne, the Bible tells us that “Solomon loved the Lord.”
But there is that one little warning sign of compromise, that even at that early stage Solomon was following the popular custom of offering sacrifices at the High Places. God had not permitted this; He had commanded that the offerings should be made only in the place that the Lord indicated, which was wherever the Tabernacle - which never had a permanent location - was set up.
The Tabernacle stood at Gilgal during the conquest of Canaan for about seven years. Then it was moved to Shiloh, where it remained for 369 years. By the time of Samuel a wall had been built around the Tent, and at that time it was referred to as “the Temple“ (I Samuel 3:3).
But when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines the Shiloh temple and the city around it were destroyed. Samuel seems to have rescued the Tabernacle before the Philistines got to it and moved it back to Gilgal, where he offered sacrifices at the time that Saul was made King.
The Tabernacle was moved to Nob during Saul’s reign, but Saul destroyed that city for helping David and moved the Tabernacle to Gibeah, his home town and Capitol city.
The Ark was never returned to the Tabernacle. David had it moved to Jerusalem and placed it in a tent in the fortress called the City of David, but he didn’t move the Tabernacle from Gibeah.
Si the excuse people gave for offering sacrifices on the High Places was that God had not yet defined the permanent location for the temple, but that was just an excuse. The truth was, it was just more convenient.
The people had taken to sacrificing on the High Places in each city. These were sort of local, small-scale “temples“ where offerings were regularly made. They included a dining hall where the sacrifices could be eaten - but they were a custom inherited from the Pagan Canaanites. These were often the very same High Places where the Canaanites had offered sacrifices and worship to their false gods, and of course that was the problem from which God wanted to protect them. That nexus to the pagan customs of worship made for a very short step between the worship of God in those High Places and the worship of idols in the same places.
Solomon could hide behind the reasoning that “everyone does it,” but It eventually ended in the disastrous idolatry and corruption of Solomon and finally if the whole nation.
What’s our point? Beware of the little compromises; the subtle failures of personal discipleship, that we so easily put under the category of, “everybody else does it.”
Dear Christian, you aren’t “everybody else.” You are a child of God, a follower of Jesus, a disciple. Lay hold of His wonderful forgiveness and stay close!
Lord, I pray You would give me a sensitive heart that heeds the call of Your Holy Spirit. Hold me close. Keep me from falling in temptation and deliver me from this evil, by Your grace, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles