High Places and Alliances – 1 Kings 3

1 Kings 3:1, 3 (ESV)

1 Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem.

3 Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.

High PlacesI always had the impression as I grew up that something nefarious was going on when Israel sacrificed at the high places. I assumed that some pagan ritual such as human sacrifice or ritual prostitution was happening. It was not that long ago that I learned that they were not sacrificing to some pagan deity, they were sacrificing to the LORD, the God of the Bible.

The problem is that by sacrificing on the high places, they were not worshiping God in the prescribed manner. While to our 21st Century ears, this does not seem to be a large compromise, it is a deviation from God’s plan for Israel.

Solomon also compromised in the area of matrimony. He was not to marry a Gentile, nor was he to rely on anyone or anything other than God for his support. Through his marriage Solomon allied himself with Pharaoh, trusting in Egypt for support against Israel’s enemies.

Before I am too hard on Solomon and Israel, I have to examine myself to see in what ways I am allowing the culture around me to push me toward compromise. The question is not if I compromise but how and where it happens —and what am I willing to do about it.

Am I willing to be called out by God, Scripture or my friends on those areas where I knowingly or unknowingly go against Scripture? Am I willing to step out in faith and be counter-cultural, whether it be against the culture of established religion or against agnostic society?

I have failed in this and I have also seen progress. By God’s grace, I keep pressing on, trusting in the promise of Philippians 1:6.