20/3/2016 LESSON 3:
SOLOMON: THE KING WHO DID NOT WALK THE TALK
Quarter’s Theme: PORTRAITS OF JEWISH KINGS
Unit 1 – Portraits Of The King Of The United Kingdom (Lessons 1-3)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 83, 235
Devotional Reading: ECCL. 2:1-11
Topic For Adults
STRIVE TO END WELL
Topic For Youths
RUN FROM COMPROMISE
Topic For Intermediates
FOLLOWING GOD TO THE END
Scripture Lesson 1 KINGS 3:3-15; 11:1-14, 23-24
(SOUL WINNERS CROWN COMPETITION MONTHS)
For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David (1 Kgs. 11:4) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Consequences Of Forsaking God
1 Kgs. 11:9-14, 26-31
At the conclusion of Solomon’s reign as king, his relationship with God waxed cold and waned as he compromised with his wealth, his wives and his relationship with God. God told Solomon, “I will tear the kingdom away from you” (1 Kgs. 11:9-11). In consequence, the kingdom became divided into two kingdoms, with Solomon’s house retaining the smaller one. Thereafter, God raised many adversaries against him contrary to the peace he had enjoyed throughout the period he loved God. Most people do not see the future consequences of their choices—good or bad – because they do not want to see that far down the road. God’s warning and discipline apparently did Solomon good, for, near the end of his life, he seemed to have repented and it is believed it was then he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. God is warning everyone today that sin or evil has consequences both here and in the world to come. When we disobey God, we should expect trouble to come our way. It is, therefore, necessary for all to repent and avoid the judgment of God.
Point of Emphasis: Disobedience leads to loss of one’s intimate relationship with the Lord.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to repent of all sins and disobedience to avoid Your coming judgment.
Disobedience has many biting consequences. No one’s life gives us a clearer picture of
this principle than Solomon’s slippery decline. Perhaps the fall of Solomon is one of the most distressing stories in the history of mankind. He was a man who started out well but finished shamefully as recorded in 1 Kings 10 and 11.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: A BRIGHT BEGINNING (1 KGS. 3:3-5)
Solomon started off with everything going his way. He was “The King who had it all.” The nation was in great shape. God came to Solomon personally and told him to ask for anything he wanted. (v. 16ff) Solomon asked for wisdom. Not wisdom for his own sake, but wisdom so that he would know how to discern right from wrong and how to lead according to God’s way. And God was impressed with what Solomon asked for. So, God granted him wisdom and went a step further to give him wealth and honour in addition.
We could see Solomon’s wisdom at work when two women came to him both claiming a baby was theirs. Solomon, not only exercised wisdom, but he also wrote down the wisdom he had acquired and we still have many of them today in the book of Proverbs. In the book of Proverbs, he gave us short little statements filled with great wisdom.
In Solomon’s 4th year, he built the temple and did a great job of following God’s plan for the building of His temple. God’s presence resided in the Holy of Holies in that temple. God’s presence was with the Israelites under the leadership of Solomon.
Solomon’s popularity grew. People from everywhere came to visit him and learn from him. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. The Queen of Sheba came and brought gifts to him and was surprised by his wisdom. She confessed that what she heard was not up to half King Solomon’s glory and splendour.
Our starting the Christian journey well is not enough. We should desire to finish strong. We should maintain a strong relationship with the Lord and ask for wisdom. We need to apply that wisdom into our daily lives to ensure we remain steadfast in God.
PART 2: A STEADY DECLINE (1 KGS. 11:1-9)
Solomon started declining just like anyone else could. He was attracted to the world and the lusts thereof and with all of his wisdom. He may have thought to himself that he was too smart to allow this to get out of control. He was declining slowly as he grew older. It happened slowly, it didn’t happen overnight, slowly, without even noticing what was happening. Solomon didn’t recognise the dangers of the evil relationship of marrying foreign women and serving their idols. So by the time he got old and was weakened, it was too late. He had forsaken the Lord and no longer served God with his whole heart as his father David did.
Amid the glory and majesty of King Solomon, spirituality was notably absent. Although he had a great capacity for the spiritual as evident in his prayer during the dedication of the temple, his pursuit of pleasure dimmed his spiritual eyes. It is worthy to note that he spent seven years building the temple and devoted thirteen years to build his own house, this evidently showed a slipping scale of value. Every instruction God gave Israel kings in Deut. 17:14-20 were violated by King Solomon
No one will wake up one day with the thought of ruining his own life, but through carelessness like the company we keep and things we accept as not really important, ‘it doesn’t matter’. We may be declining until we finally fall. It is in our interest to avoid compromise and walk with God consistently with our whole heart.
PART 3: A TOTAL FALL (1 KGS. 11:10-11, 14, 23-24)
At the conclusion of Solomon’s reign as king, his relationship with God waxed and waned as he compromised with his wealth, his wives and his relationship with God. Regardless of how strong you think your walk with God might be, anyone, like Solomon, may let it slip by not paying sufficient attention to God’s word daily. A wholehearted devotion to God is necessary, and we cannot divide our loyalty between God and other things.
Solomon at first might have resisted the pressure of his 1000 female companions to worship idols but eventually moved to toleration, rationalisation, identification with sin and eventual compromise. Before we allow pressure to overwhelm us, we must counter-act it by overcoming evil with good and not simply co-existing with its influence, presence or philosophies in our mind.
Solomon overlooked the fact that disobedience to God brings terrible consequences. As a result of Solomon’s idolatrous ways, his kingdom was diminished and divided and his legacy ruined. The Lord sent more than twelve nations against Solomon and all of his successes crumbled under the weight of opposition and the terrible ravages of war. Unwillingness to be wholehearted in our obedience, trust and love for the Lord eventually leads to self-destructive practices. Many people feel they can be neutral toward God. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you. (1 Pet. 5:5, 6)
Solomon’s problem was not ignorance but downright rebellion. He knew better but did not do better. He knew that the only thing that mattered was not success and prosperity but God – Eccl. 12:13-14.
The wisdom that is from God is more valuable than the most precious substances on earth (Prov. 16:16). The life of Solomon was both of great accomplishment and great tragedy. Solomon’s life began with great purpose, but it was led astray and ultimately destroyed. This was by Jesus when He warned in Mk. 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
If we have started off strong, we should not finish poorly. Our prayer should be – “Help me Lord not only to start the race, but to finish it well. Help me not to compromise my faith and love for you. Instead, keep me close to the cross and Christ who died for me there” (Ron Hembree).
- What were the signs that Solomon started his journey with God well?
- Where and how did he miss the mark?
- What does it mean that he did not walk his talk?
- What lessons can we learn from King Solomon on how to end strong?