Through King Solomon, David’s son and successor to his throne, the Lord reveals a picture for us of the devil’s tactics against the Lord’s people to draw our hearts away from Him to himself. Solomon took many wives from the foreign nations that God commanded Israel not to. He said the reason was “they will surely turn your heart away after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1-2), which is exactly what happened.
Regarding Solomon’s disobedience to the Lord, the Bible says;
“He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.”
(1 Kings 11:3-6/NASU)
It is hard to believe that Solomon, the man God appeared to twice, built His temple with, and was given wisdom beyond what any man had ever had would then, at the end of his life turn away from Him to serve these unbelievable gods whose worship involved extreme acts of wickedness.
In an article titled “The Battle of the Gods: Paganism’s Seduction of Israel” by Bruce Scott from the Israel My Glory ministry, he gives some insights regarding these pagan gods;
“Another goddess of eroticism and war at Ugarit [the author describes this ancient city as the site of an archeological dig in 1929 along the coast of northern Syria that revealed many details concerning pagan deities and rites referred to in the Bible] was Athtart. In the Old Testament, she is referred to as Ashtoreth (pl. Ashtaroth) … Athtart was ‘originally androgynous, being male in the morning and female in the evening’ (W. F. Albright, Archeology and the Religion of Israel, p.83). As a male, Athtart was known as Athtar and corresponded to the Moabite god Chemosh, as well as the Ammonite god Milcom, or Molech (1 Kings 11:33). Along with the biblical texts, the evidence found at Ras Shamra gives insight into the nature of the Cannanite religious rituals. In brief, they were characterized by drunkenness, sexual perversion, and violence … Few details are known about the Molech and Chemosh rituals, except that horrendous child sacrifice was employed (Lev. 18:21, Deut. 12:31, 2 Kings 3:27). Often the child would ‘pass through the fire’ as food for the voracious god (Ezekiel 23:37). Throughout the Middle East, archeologists have found numerous funerary urns containing charred bones of animals and children.”
It's hard to fathom that Solomon was led astray by his numerous wives to worship these detestable gods, including the sacrificing of some of his own children in the fire.
Back in 1 Kings, chapter eleven, after revealing the heart-breaking story of Solomon’s apostasy from the Lord in his old age, we read the following;
“Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh [kem-oshe'; “subduer”] the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem [the Mount of Olives], and for Molech [“king”] the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”
(1 Kings 11:7-8/NASU)
Back in the story of David’s exile from Jerusalem because of Absalom’s coup against him, the Bible says that as he was coming to the top of the Mount of Olives, “where God was worshipped,” that a certain man met him (2 Samuel 15:32). We just saw that this was the very place that Solomon, in rebellion against the Lord, “built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab.”
From this a battle tactic of the devil is exposed. In the place where God is worshipped, the devil will attempt to set himself up to be worshipped. He attempts this strategy in the hearts of God’s people. His intent is to turn our hearts away from devotion to God, as he did with Solomon. Today, this very thing is happening within the body of Christ. We now find ourselves living in the great apostasy (i.e., “defection from the truth”) that was prophesied in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. Paul said this was a sign that would precede “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1) This is why the Lord is warning us today to prepare our hearts for His coming again by making sure that He is truly our Lord (i.e. lordship), because without this He cannot be our Savior.