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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 451-500 (The Word - Wedges)

F.E. Marsh :: 481. What an Imperfect Heart Means

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SOLOMON began well, but he ended ill. The fair morning of his life is followed by the foul weather of inconsistency in the evening of his career. The rosy apple has a maggot which spoils it. As the Thames for many miles from its source is sweet and healthful, but when it passes through London it is polluted by the pollution that pours into it; so the first part of Solomon’s life is beautiful with godliness, but the latter part of it is blighted with idolatry and sensuality. And all this arose from one cause, namely, an imperfect heart.

  1. An imperfect heart is a divided heart (1 Kings 11:4-5). Solomon could give good instruction (1 Kings 8:61), but he did not continue in following up his own precept. He thought he could share his affection with the gods of the heathen. There are many today who think that they can go with the world, and with Christ too. No one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24); we must be for Christ, or against Him (Matt. 12:30). A friend of the world is an enemy to God (James 4:4).
  2. An imperfect heart is a defaulting heart. Solomon was was not like his father David (1 Kings 11:4), who, in spite of his failures, was true in his loyalty to the Lord, and did not get into the meshes of idolatry. The remembrance of what David was, should have kept Solomon true to Jehovah. When the eyes of the soul get off the Lord, and look to that which is pleasing to the flesh, then it will not be long before we mix with the ungodly as Lot did (Genesis 19:1), boast in self-confidence as Peter did (Luke 22:33), lie as Abraham did (Genesis 20:2), get in danger as Jehoshaphat did (2 Chronicles 18:31), look to men as the Corinthians did (1 Corinthians 1:12), feel the chastening hand of God as Israel did (1 Cor. 10:5), and listen to the voice of the ungodly as Solomon did, when he hearkened to the voice of his wives.
  3. An imperfect heart is a distant heart (1 Kings 11:6). “Went not fully.” Ah! here is the cause of his declension. If we note what it is to follow the Lord fully, we shall be better able to determine what it is, not to thus follow Him. To follow the Lord fully, signifies that we consecrate* ourselves to Him as Israel did (2 Chron. 29:31); we act in faith as Joshua did, when he wholly* followed the Lord (Joshua 14:8); we fulfil* the Word of the Lord, as Judah did unconsciously when carried away into captivity (2 Chron. 36:21); we devote our whole strength to the Lord, as when Jehu drew the bow with his full* strength (2 Kings 9:24); we serve the Lord, as He has enjoined, as Jacob fulfilled* the specified time for Rachel (Genesis 29:28); we occupy the place the Lord intends, as the precious stones were set* in the breastplate of the High Priest according to His instructions (Exodus 39:10); and we are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, as the workmen of the tabernacle were filled* with the Spirit for their employment (Exodus 28:3). It goes without the saying that the antithesis to all this is, not to follow the Lord fully.
  4. An imperfect heart is a defiled heart (1 Kings 11:7). Solomon’s association with idolatry would bring him into contact with the ungodly, hence, he was bound to be defiled. The breath of the world will tarnish the brightness of our faith; the contaminating touch of iniquity will blacken our life; the influence of covetousness will damp down the fire of our love; the infection of doubt will poison our confidence; the malaria of envy will fever our soul; the frost of self will chill our affection; and the leprosy of sin will infect our nature, and extinguish our testimony.
  5. An imperfect heart is a displeasing heart (1 Kings 11:9). The ire of Jehovah was kindled against Solomon, because of his backsliding. He had received many privileges, for the Lord had twice appeared to him (1 Kings 3:5; 9:2). But he forgets his blessing. To displease the Lord means, that we place ourselves under His chastening hand, which will bring us sorrow of heart, and soreness of spirit.
  6. An imperfect heart is a disobedient heart (1 Kings 11:10). Solomon was disobedient in a twofold sense. First, in marrying the “strange women” (1 Kings 11:1-2), for the Lord had given plain and specific instructions that none of His people were to do this (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4); and second, Solomon was disobedient in going after “other gods” (Exodus 20:4). These commands have an application to us now (2 Corinthians 6:14; Matthew 4:10), and well for us if we follow the Divine instruction, for obedience is always the pathway of blessing.
  7. An imperfect heart is a disintegrating heart (1 Kings 11:11). Solomon’s sin led to the dismemberment of his empire. He did not live to see it, but it came in God’s appointed time. If God’s mills grind slowly, they none the less grind surely. When we sin, we not only bring damage to ourselves, but we also bring distress to others.

* The words “consecrate” in 2 Chronicles 29:31, “wholly” in Joshua 14:8, “fulfil” in 2 Chronicles 36:21, “full” in 2 Kings 9:24, “fulfilled” in Genesis 29:28, “set” in Exodus 39:10, and “filled” in Exodus 28:3, are the same in the Hebrew.

480. What Does It Mean to Be Saved ← Prior Section
482. “What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?” Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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