Never Stop Learning
Downfall • Sermon • Submitted
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Maybe you have heard of this illustration before, but how many here know that if you were to take a frog and drop it into really hot water it would immediately jump out.
It is hot and it burns and it is unpleasant and so it wants out of that pot as fast as possible.
But did you know that if you drop a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and then little by little increase the temperature of that water, the frog will actually stay in that pot and cook itself to death.
Why? Because the shock of the hot water was enough to tell the frog this is bad and going to hurt.
But when the water seems okay at first, they don’t notice that as the water is getting hotter, they don’t realize the danger they are in until it is too late.
Welcome to part 4 of our current message series called Downfall: Lessons from the book of 1 Kings.
For the last several weeks we have been looking at King Solomon’s life and rule as the King of Israel and gleaning lessons from him on how to effectively lead our families.
And so far, King Solomon has gotten a lot of things right. He has lead well, but as we are going to see today, Though he started out well, he did not finish well and we want to examine why that is.
And this is valuable because, it isn’t just the good things that Solomon did that we can learn from. We can also learn from his mistakes so that we don’t repeat them.
Power in the Text
Power in the Text
We know a lot about Solomon at this point...
We know that he was the heir to the throne of his father King David.
We know that he was a wise king whom God had supernaturally imparted wisdom to.
We know that he was the one who built the temple of God in Jerusalem.
We know that God appeared to Solomon twice as King, once to grant his request for wisdom, and the other to confirm his kingship during the the temple dedication.
The Bible says that like his father he loved God… but it also says that Solomon had a real problem.
1 Kings 11:1-2 NLT 1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway.
You see Solomon though he did a lot of things right, he had a weakness, more than that, in the Hebrew when it says he “loved” many foreign women it can be described as breathing after, or an insatiable desire for, even an addiction if you will.
God had told the Israelites back when the law was first given through Moses that they were forbidden from marrying foreign women, not because God is against interracial marriages, but because he knew that when given the choice between allegiance to God, or to their wives, many would choose their wive’s gods.
It was forbidden because these women came from cultures that worshipped other gods and did detestably wicked things in his eyes. God knew that given enough time the men who married these women would have their hearts turned away from Him.
Not in an instant, but like the frog that was put in lukewarm water.
It was like the Garden of Eden being playing out all over again. Solomon could have married any woman he wanted as long as she belonged to his people, but those boundaries weren’t good enough and he went outside them because what he saw was like the fruit to Eve, appealing to the eyes.
Well, as you can imagine, anytime we go beyond the boundaries that God places around us, it never ends well. It might for a time seem fulfilling, but in the end it leaves us empty.
As the psalmist says there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end leads to death.
1 Kings 11:3 NLT 3 He (Solomon) had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the LORD.
The text goes on to describe in detail all of the ways Solomon began to worship and make sacrifices to these false gods. He goes as far as to erect shrines for many of them.
Eventually God’s patience wears thin and so Solomon is going to have to answer for his disobedience and sin.
1 Kings 11:9-11 NLT 9 The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command. 11 So now the LORD said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.
Solomon’s story is quite tragic and it serves as a reminder of the importance of guarding oneself from the influences in our lives that serve to distract us and pull us away from God’s expectations for our lives.
Solomon, like so many of us lost sight of God’s plan for his life and what he expected from him as the leader of his people.
For Solomon, foreign women were his problem; however, the problems faced by other leaders, including those of us leading our families could be a variety of things.
Solomon’s real struggle here had to do with an inability to say no to all the options. Solomon may have genuinely wanted to choose God and his ways, but he also wanted to hold onto the other options that seemed appealing as well.
When you go to a buffet, if you are like me, eating whatever I want and however much I want is appealing at first, the then the aftereffects take over and I have to be carted out.
Why? Because I love food, and my love for food is greater than the knowledge of how terrible I will feel afterward.
Solomon , like so many of us, failed to realize that as appealing as those other women may have been, they could never give him the fulfillment he was craving the way God’s plan for his life could.
For you and I to be able to lead our families well and prevent making the same mistakes we must realize and then decide that God’s way will satisfy our every need.
And it is the this decision portion that can be so hard. But if we are willing to look at the lives of people like Solomon and learn from his past, then we can potentially save our future.
Why it Matters
Why it Matters
When you read about King Solomon and you look at who he was early on in his time as King and who he ended up being I can’t help but think that this wasn’t likely what Solomon planned.
I don’t think when God appeared before as a young King and granted his request for wisdom that he ever thought that his unwise choices would have lead to the kingdom being taken away and split in two.
I also don’t think Solomon could have imagined how broad the impact of his failure would be.
You see the impact of Solomon’s failure is widespread. While his father David definitely had his share of failure and shortcoming in his lifetime, the author of 1 Kings indicates the Solomon failed in a greater way.
You see, though David sinned and broke God’s commands, he remained commited to God. He had a repentant heart and turned from his sin. In the Psalms we see a man who recognized his failure and a heart bent toward God and his ways.
Solomon on the other hand, sinned against God and broke his covenant with him and did not see it as a problem. His heart was not bent toward God anymore but towards the gods of his many wives.
Like the frog in the water, he failed to see the danger his actions had put him and his kingdom in until it was too late.
We sometimes fail to see how our choices impact the sum total of our lives. We don’t see how disobedience here will impact our entire family in the future. We think it doesn’t matter or it isn’t going to hurt anything.
But as the saying goes, a single small cut isn’t going to kill you. But if you receive say a thousand small cuts, you will eventually bleed to death. It is known as the death of a thousand cuts, and it actually used to be a form of execution in China until as late as the beginning of the 20th century.
Given enough time, failing to choose God’s expectations and looking to him and him alone to satisfy our every need will lead to the collapse of a family.
So here is a challenge if you will. Some time this week, if you are single you can do this alone, if you are married then do this with your spouse, but sit down and identify a list of things in your life that are cutting you.
Things that you know do not honor God, his word, or his expectations for you or your family. And you will know. If you are a believer the Holy Spirit will help you with this.
Don’t try to make excuses or justify anything. Like David choose to bare your heart and acknowledge things as they are, not how you want them to be.
Then, ask the question, what is the potential future for your family, especially your kids if you choose to keep those things in your life. If you are honest, you likely won’t like the outcome.
Then I want you to make another list, and on this one I want you to list things that you know God wants to be a part of you and your family’s life.
Not just things you know you shouldn’t be doing
How you deal with conflict
Decision making process
Dealing with money
And then I want you to ask the question, what is the potential future for your family under that set of expectations. I would imagine that the results will be more in line with your hopes for your family’s future.
Following Solomon’s death, and kingdom is split in two. Every king who came after, at the end of their rule was not weighed out by their achievements, military conquests, or even the way they governed.
These kings were judged based on their willingness to honor God by following the law and covenant.
This is a great reminder that as leaders of our families, the determining factor in pleasing God is not our accomplishments but our commitment to God’s expectations.
Our actions carry serious consequences, for good or bad, I pray your choose wisely.