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Archive for the ‘Lessons from the Book of 1 Kings’ Category

The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD , the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command.

So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. He gathered men around him and became the leader of a band of rebels when David destroyed the forces of Zobah ; the rebels went to Damascus, where they settled and took control.

Rezon was Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.       1 Kings 11:9-14; 23-25

God was heartbroken. As much as He loved Solomon, the king could not go unpunished. Therefore, God slowly began to remove His divine protection from the nation He loved. After years of peace, Israel now found itself in a series of minor skirmishes and small wars.

Whether it was Hadad the Edomite or Rezon, son of Eliada, the tranquility of Solomon’s kingdom was beginning to be threatened. Tragically, despite these divine chastenings, Solomon continued in his sin.

The king, because of God’s love for his father David, would be spared from the full consequences of his sin. His son Rehoboan would not be so fortunate, for he would lose all but one of Israel’s tribes.

Although there are many lessons that can be learned from Solomon’s stubborn refusal to repent of his sins, we will only concentrate on two of them.

First, like Solomon, the consequences of your sin may well affect the lives of the people you love the most. Even as Solomon’s sin affected the kingdom of his son, so the sinful patterns in your life have the ability to mar the marriages, friendships, and careers of your children.

In some cases, these destructive effects are simply passed on to our children through their emulation of our bad example. In other cases, our sinful patterns can create a generational stronghold that will affect our families for decades unless it is broken.

In either case, it is critical that you deal with the sinful habits that are threatening both your life and the lives of those you love.

Second, when we refuse to repent, God in His mercy will chasten us. Even as He raised up adversaries to discipline Solomon, so He will use our circumstances and even the attack of the enemy to bring us to repentance.

Tragically, when we do not respond to God’s loving chastening, He has no choice but to let us face the full consequences of our sin. Even when God comes to this point, however, His heart is filled with mercy.

As our loving Father, He will always forgive us if we simply repent.

© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon

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King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.”

Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.

So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.       1 Kings 11:1-6

Solomon was the wisest man in the world; yet, because of his pride and the deceitfulness of sin, he chose to live above the very laws which could have saved him.

In Deuteronomy 17:17, Moses had clearly instructed the kings of Israel not to take too many wives, lest their hearts be led astray from the Lord. As Solomon’s power and splendor grew, however, he felt that he had the right to live like any other king. Therefore, he chose to seal his alliances with other nations by marrying into their royal families. By the end of his life, he had taken seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.

Tragically, even as Moses predicted, as Solomon grew older, his wives led him into the worship of their gods. From the immorality of Ashtoreth worship to the human sacrifices associated with Molech, Solomon defiled the nation of Israel through the worship of these false gods.

How could the wisest man in the history of our planet fall into such horrible sin and deception?

First of all, as Solomon’s power and wealth grew, he felt that he was exempt from the very words of wisdom that he preached to others. Surely, he thought, a man of his wisdom and nobility would never be enticed by the false gods of the women he had married.

Tragically, this self-deception opened his life to the very sins which would eventually destroy his kingdom.

It is no different for you today; no matter how successful you have become, if you live outside of the parameters of God’s Word, sooner or later you will reap the grim consequences of your disobedience.

Second, when Solomon was a young man, he had the strength to resist the religious seduction of his wives’ gods. As he grew older, however, he slowly but surely succumbed to their false religions.

I have seen this same pattern repeated in the lives of Christians today; like Solomon, they have underestimated the power of sin to deceive them. Although they believe they are in control of their sinful habits, in reality they have already been enslaved by the power of these sins.

Third, Solomon refused to repent of his sins. Even when God rebuked him, he continued to worship the false gods of his wives. Although God would show the king mercy because of his love for David, Solomon’s son would lose all but one of Israel’s tribes.

Remember, the consequences of your sin will only grow larger if you do not repent now.

May God give you the grace to resist the deceitfulness of sin as you ponder the tragic story of Solomon’s fall today.

© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon

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The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”…

“Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for–both riches and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”       1 Kings 3:4-5; 7-13

Although David had chosen Solomon to follow him as king, not everyone in the nation had accepted his choice. Even some of David’s best friends had resisted Solomon’s ascension to the throne.

Now, as young Solomon looked out on his kingdom, his heart was heavy. Where would he ever get the wisdom he needed to unify his divided kingdom? If this was not enough, how would he ever build the incredible temple his father had commanded him to construct for the Almighty God?

Finally, in desperation, Solomon went to the tabernacle of Moses at Gibon. After offering a thousand sacrifices to the Lord, Solomon simply quieted his soul and waited.

When the Lord still had not spoken to him after hours of waiting, Solomon decided to spend the night in Gibon. After he had finally fallen into a restless sleep, the Lord appeared to him; it was as if his whole being was immersed in the presence of God.

Much to Solomon’s amazement, the Lord promised to give him whatever he asked. Although he was stunned by the Lord’s promise, there was no hesitancy in his reply: “Lord, I am like a little child. Without your help, I will never be able to rule this great people. Please give me the discernment and wisdom I need to govern them, for without your wisdom, I am doomed to failure.”

The Lord paused; this young king was becoming more like his father David every day. “Solomon,” the Lord whispered, “because you have not asked for the death of your enemies or for wealth, I will give you all of these things, as well as the wisdom and discernment you require. In your lifetime, there will be no king greater than you.”

As the presence of the Lord gradually receded, Solomon woke up and realized the Lord had met him in a dream. With praise on his lips and new faith burning in his heart, he returned to Jerusalem and his throne.

In the years to come, the gift of wisdom given by God that night would make Solomon the world’s most famous man.

What lessons can we learn from Solomon’s amazing encounter with God?

First, at the foundation of Solomon’s prayer was the revelation of his own need for God. Unlike many young people who are blinded by pride and youthful zeal, Solomon realized his desperate need for the help of God.

Second, Solomon’s deep sense of desperation for God was the very thing which fueled the passion he displayed when he offered a thousand sacrifices. To Solomon, no cost was too great to gain the wisdom he desired from God.

It is no different for you and me today; whether it is the revelation of our intrinsic need for God or the crushing reality of the circumstances we are facing, God desires to fill our heart with a fresh sense of desperation for His presence and power.

Third, by asking God for wisdom, Solomon was acknowledging that God knew his needs far better than he himself did. Furthermore, Solomon wanted more from God than an answer to his current requests; he wanted the supernatural wisdom and knowledge which would give him the ongoing answers to the needs and problems he would be facing for the rest of his life.

Do you see it yet? Like Solomon, God wants to give you a wisdom which will take you far beyond the solving of your immediate desires.

As you humble yourself before Him, He will give you the knowledge and direction you need to walk with him all the days of your life.

© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon

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