1 Kings 3:1-15
1 John 2:15-17
When we fail to do as God desires, we can get into a whole lot of trouble.
We may think we can get away with something, and even if we don't, that God will still forgive us.
And we may also think that our actions only affect us, individually.
But this isn't true.
As we look at part of the life of Solomon, this morning, we're going to see a man who, in the beginning, really wanted to serve God, but failed because his heart was not fully set upon the Lord.
And by his own personal sin, he affected the lives of members of his own family for many future generations, and he affected the entire nation of Israel, and perhaps even the entire world.
Yes, one person's sin can do this much damage.
Now, we may not be a king of any nation, but the trap that Solomon fell into is common to all of us; and together we need to help each other not to fall into these traps.
Let's begin by looking at what Moses told the people about their future kings (Deuteronomy 17:14-l 7). And remember that Moses was speaking for God.
14. "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,'
Note the forecasting of the sin of the people.
God was giving them the Promised Land, and He was to be their only King.
The Lord had set Israel apart to be different from all other nations; they were to live according to God's commandments, as an example to all other nations.
Israel was not to conform to the ways of other nations; these nations were to conform to Israel.
But here we can plainly see that Moses is predicting their sin of wanting a king like all the nations around them.
He is predicting they will want a king, not like God, but like the kings of the nations who are sinning before Him.
And knowing of their sinful nature, he tells them,
15. you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.
16. "Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.'
17. "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
Even in the people's sinful nature of rejecting the Lord as their King, Moses tells them of what their human king should be like, if things are to go well with them.
One of the first things Solomon did when he became king was to form a marriage alliance with Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
And even though we are told that Solomon loved the Lord, he had still set himself up for a fall.
And as we read this morning, the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and even in his dream he still expressed his desire to serve the Lord, and because of this, the Lord blessed him.
Now some people might consider the wealth that God bestowed upon Solomon to be part of that blessing, but I believe it was part of God's testing, to see if his heart was wholly devoted to the Lord God, for He added a condition to the blessing by saying, "If you walk in my ways...", which makes the blessing conditional.
Additionally, we are told that Solomon awoke and realized it was a dream, indicating that he may not have fully believed it (1 Kings 3:1-15).
And as we turn to 1 Kings 10:14, we see what caused Solomon's downfall.
14. Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold,
15. besides that from the traders and the wares of the merchants and all the kings of the Arabs and the governors of the country.
16. And King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold, using 600 shekels of gold on each large shield.
17. And he made 300 shields of beaten gold, using three minas of gold on each shield, and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
[Note: This is Solomonís own house.]
18. Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold.
19. There were six steps to the throne and a round top to the throne at its rear, and arms on each side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms.
20. And twelve lions were standing there on the six steps on the one side and on the other; nothing like it was made for any other kingdom.
21. And all King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None was of silver; it was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon.
22. For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.
The Lord warned Israel not to have a king who multiplied wealth for himself, and that's exactly what Solomon did.
And in the process he caused a great deal of suffering and death, to the animals he had killed and captured, and among the people who went on these dangerous journeys to collect this wealth.
He used the wealth to glorify himself, and not to help the people of his country.
23. So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
Now if we do just a little logical thinking--wouldn't these other kings begin to become very jealous?
And international jealousies lead to wars.
24. And all the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.
25. And they brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
When people came before the king, they brought a gift; thus we can assume that the greater the gift, the easier the access to the king.
Now, such a thing would never happen in the United States, would it?
Oh yes it can; and it does every day.
The majority of our governmental policies arise from the gifts of a few wealthy individuals and corporations, and from special interest groups, who have the money.
So what else did Solomon do?
26. Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.
27. And the king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland.
28. Also Solomon's import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king's merchants procured them from Kue for a price.
29. And a chariot was imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150; and by the same means they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of the Arameans.
All of these things the Lord warned Israel and her kings not to do, and yet Solomon did them anyway.
And aren't we also arms merchants to the world?
But he didn't stop here.
1. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,
Note carefully the omission of Israelite women.
And the women that Solomon went after were...
2. from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love.
3. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
Can you imagine the jealousy and pain that this caused among these women.
Solomon could not really have loved them, as God loves us.
His love was based on lust, as his father Davidís was for his mother, when he first encountered her.
And such relationships are not healthy, or productive, or Godly.
4. For it came about 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.
5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.
6. And Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.
7. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.
8. Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
Again, notice all the energy and wealth that is being wasted; none of it is being used for good; none of it is being used in love, or with any compassion for the people, for he is leading them into destruction.
9. Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10. and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded.
11. So the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.
12. "Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13. "However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen. "
Even though God continues to show compassion, Solomon doesn't.
Solomon suffered from a combination of every type of sin that exists, or has ever existed, as we are told in 1 John 2:15-17.
15. Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
And this brings us back to ourselves.
Is our heart and soul set upon the things of this world, or upon the things of God?
Do we lust after wealth, and what others have?
Do we lust after other people, and ruin our families, and bring children into being whom we cannot properly care for in a loving and healthful environment?
Do we try to make ourselves more important than we really are in the eyes of each other and before God?
And, are we doing all that we can to make this world a more heavenly place?
Let us examine ourselves as we come before the Lord and celebrate His great gift for us; for the Lord really does love us, and wants us to be with Him forever and ever.
The choice is ours.
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