The downward spiral of sin is a consistent pattern in human beings. Therefore, we must heed the warnings of Scripture to stay close to the Lord, walk in His ways, and keep short accounts with Him. Every one of us is susceptible to spiritual decline. Unfortunately, this decline is sometimes not recognized by the person who is sliding backwards until it is too late to reverse the immediate consequences. As a result, it’s not unusual for us to blame God for the painful consequences we bring upon ourselves. But the New Testament book of James lays the blame upon us, and describes the spiral this way:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. – James 1:13-15
This is the sad reality of how temptation works. Our evil hearts are lured away by sinful desires. These sinful desires often become idolatrous, that is, they become more important than obeying and pleasing God. Our idolatries then take hold, producing more and more sin. And the Law of the Harvest (we reap what we sow) becomes our painful experience.
Repeatedly, however, God graciously calls us to repentance. He calls us to turn around. If we listen to Him then we are restored. But if we reject God’s offer, the downward spiral takes hold and we suffer increasing bondage, which ultimately leads to death. These are the main truths we see in 1 Kings 11.
Here the tragic compromise of King Solomon is an illustration of the downward spiral of sin. From this chapter, God wants you to be aware of three typical steps to spiritual decline so that you may be on guard for your own soul, and repent where necessary.
- Disregard for the Word of God leads to a diverted heart (vv. 1-8).
- Diversion of one’s heart away from righteousness leads to God’s displeasure (vv. 9-13).
- Displeasure from God invites His discipline (vv. 14-40).