With Whom Do You Associate?
by Jennifer Wood
May 4, 2017
"But king Solomon loved many strange women...it came to pass,
when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods:
and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David
his father." 1 Kings 11:1a &4
As I read this passage the other day, I was reminded how important it is to choose our associates well. Solomon had been a man that loved Jehovah God and had built Him a house where the people could worship God and sacrifice to Him and remember Who He is and What He had done among them. But he went against God's law when he married women that were pagans, that didn't worship Jehovah but worshipped other gods. And, boy, did he marry a lot of them! They affected him profoundly. And they turned him away from the one true God.
We often tell our kids as they are growing up that they need to choose good friends that will help them excel and not drag them down the wrong path. Yet we adults don't often take our own advice. We think we are old enough to handle it. We know what we believe; no one is going to change that. And yet I have seen over and over again where that is not the truth. Often the changes are so subtle at first that we don't even realize we are moving towards a wrong way of thinking. Look at Solomon. It wasn't till he was almost at the end of his life that he started worshiping other gods; yet his way of thinking had to start changing somewhere along the way. His associations dragged him down. They turned him away from God.
Now I want you to remember that Solomon had been given immense wisdom from God. As a matter of fact, 1 Kings 4:31 tells us that he was wiser than all men. People sought after his wisdom; the queen of Sheba was an example of this. And even with all the wisdom God had given him, he still made the unwise choice to follow after his wives' examples.
You may be wondering where I am going with this. Well, here it is…it doesn't matter how old we are, we had better be careful that we associate with people who love the Lord and are following Him. You may be wondering, then, how do I witness to people if I don't associate with them? Good question. How do we?
The Bible tells us we are in the world but not of it. I often see those bumper stickers, etc., that say NOTW, standing for Not Of This World. The statement is right…we aren't. Why do I say that? Because sometimes we say it but we don't act it. We are not of this world. We shouldn't act like we are. Our lives should be different. We should stand apart. And that means we shouldn't be a part of the influences that could turn our course towards a worldly path. However, we are in this world. That means we have contact with people who don't love the Lord, don't know Him, and don't know they need Him. So we should live like we are not of this world and thus show them with the love of Christ that they can also have a future that is out of this world, literally. Do we have to go do what they do and participate in their unchristian activities in order to reach them, to love them? No! As a matter of fact, our testimony is more powerful when we show in our actions that we truly live by the principles of God, that they mean something to us.
Psalm 1 has something to say about this. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." So what is this telling us? It is saying, in short, "Don't follow wrong advice, keep away from wrong associates, and steer clear of wrong attitudes. Our delight should be in God and His Word; and if it is in God and His Word, we will prosper." Psalm 1 keeps going on by telling us that the ungodly have no substance, shall not prosper, and shall perish. A very sad commentary for sure.
Solomon's mistake was not following God's commandments in the first place. He married outside of God's plan. And because of this, he affected a whole nation…he affected his son's kingdom and all the kings to come after.
I will leave you with one last thought. The Bible says in James 4:4, "...know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Please be careful who you let into your life; for you must at all costs "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23