Lead Yourself Well.
Leading others is challenging, but you cannot forget to lead yourself well. Solomon was the wisest guy in the land in his day, and yet he let go of wisdom when he disobeyed God’s commandments. There is a lot we can learn from Solomon still, though, as we discuss 1 Kings 11-15 today.
Scripture of the Day: 1 Kings 11:1-6 (NLT)
“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. 3 He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. 4 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.”
Turn Your Hearts Toward God, Not Evil.
Ok, yes, the women turned his heart away from God, but there was a turn that happened before they turned his heart. Or several turns.
Solomon turned his heart away first. He chose women who did not know God. And he chose many women. Solomon made an idol out of women. And Solomon worshiped other gods.
What is scary to me about this is Solomon had wisdom – to lead God’s people, yet he did not lead himself well. When godly leaders fall, it is disillusioning to followers of God. They knew better. But satan has everyone’s number.
Lead Yourself Through Stumbling Blocks.
What is it that causes you to stumble? Get some accountability and fight, friends. Otherwise, we will fail and not be faithful.
Let’s look at what Solomon ended up worshiping:
In v. 5 it says Solomon followed Ashtoreth – the goddess of the Sidonians
In v. 7 we see that he worshiped Chemosh, the idol of Moab.
Also in v. 5 and 7 the Bible says that Solomon worshiped Milcom (Molech – demanded human sacrifices), the Abhorrent idol of the Ammonites.
This is from the Easy English Bible Commentary:
“These marriages often took place for political purposes. He wanted to make friends with these countries. But such marriages were against God’s law (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). And God told the kings of Israel not to marry many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17). Such wives would make the Israelites turn away from God.
Solomon built places for the wives to worship their own gods and he often joined in with them. And Solomon was worshipping very wicked gods. God was angry because Solomon had not obeyed him. As a result, God said that Solomon’s family would lose control of the kingdom. But because of God’s promise to David, it would not happen while Solomon was alive. Even then, there would be one tribe, Judah, which Solomon’s son would still control.
Lead Yourself Like You Lead Others.
Solomon had warned people about what can tempt them in Proverbs 5:1-14, 22-23. That can happen to people who feel very comfortable. It also attacks people when they are Christian leaders. ‘A person may think that he is standing firm. However, he must be careful. Otherwise, he may fall’ (1 Corinthians 10:12). We must depend on God’s grace right until the end.”
In 1 Kings 11:9-13 we see the consequences
“9 The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had commanded him about this so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the Lord had commanded. 11 Then the Lord said to Solomon, “Since you have done this and did not keep my covenant and my statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it during your lifetime for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of your son’s hand. 13 Yet I will not tear the entire kingdom away from him. I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem that I chose.”
How Much Will It Cost You?
There is a question I have asked my kids when I can see that they are struggling with sin: is it worth it to you? How much will it cost you?
You see we don’t often think the consequences all the way through. Think it all the way through, friends. Will the brief pleasure you acquire be worth being in the fire? The company we keep can turn our hearts toward or away from God.
One good turn leads to another. Repenting and turning from behavior toward God helps us to continue in that momentum of godliness.
So what are you doing to safeguard yourself from your weakness? Or to keep yourself from falling? If the wisest guy in town can be deceived, so can we.
Start godly accountable habits while they are young.
It is harder to do when we are older. My youngest son knows to place his laptop on the counter before bedtime. He also knows I have software installed on his computer. These are habits I started when he was young in the hopes that he would continue to be accountable as he becomes an adult. Ruling ourselves is one of the biggest challenges we will face in this life.
In 1 Kings 11, we see that God raises up enemies against Solomon as discipline or his betrayal of God with all of his wives and worshiping their gods. Then God used Jeroboam to rebel against Solomon and we see how Solomon’s sins did not just affect him – but also God’s people.
None of our sins are in a vacuum. And God punishes us to turn our hearts back to Him.
Picking it up in 1 Kings 11:29-33
“29 During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the road as Jeroboam came out of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself with a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the open field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he had on, tore it into twelve pieces, 31 and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten tribes, 32 but one tribe will remain his for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I chose out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 For they have abandoned me; they have bowed down to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in my ways to do what is right in my sight and to carry out my statutes and my judgments as his father David did.”
Sin is a Slippery Slope that Causes Others to Slide
Did you catch the word, “they”? Solomon’s sins became the sins of God’s people. The very people Solomon asked God to help him lead. Solomon, who taught many to walk in wisdom did not do so himself. Lead Yourself well, friends.
Faith is belief in action.
We have to live out what we believe, or we don’t truly believe it. So how is it that Christians today can fall away? Friends, we have to be in God’s word for the devil is crafty. Jesus quoted God’s word. He did not even lean on his own understanding. We don’t have to learn by making mistakes. We can learn from those who did.
Sin is a Slippery Slope—impacting our whole life.
Solomon’s idolatry was not where his sin stopped. We must deal ruthlessly with sin or it will define us and take us to places we do not want to go. This is from the Easy English commentary: “Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. This shows us how wicked Solomon had become. He even tried to murder Jeroboam because he (Solomon) did not want to lose his kingdom. But nobody can successfully oppose God’s plans. So Jeroboam went into Egypt.”
In 1 Kings 12, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam was seeking to become king of Judah but God had ordained that it would be Jeroboam. It’s interesting to me that Rehoboam was going to fight Jeroboam, but it says that Rehoboam and the Israelites actually listened to the LORD in 12:24: “This is what the Lord says: ‘You are not to march up and fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you return home, for this situation is from me.’ So they listened to the word of the Lord and went back according to the word of the Lord.”
But Jeroboam, on the other hand, caved to fear over Rehoboam and made two gold calves for God’s people to worship. Does this remind you of someone? Remember Arron saying that a golden calf popped out of the fire?
“26 Jeroboam said to himself, “The kingdom might now return to the house of David. 27 If these people regularly go to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will return to their lord, King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and go back to the king of Judah.” 28 So the king sought advice” (1 Kings 12:26-28)
Idols Aren’t So Obvious
“Then he made two golden calves, and he said to the people, “Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 He set up one in Bethel, and put the other in Dan. 30 This led to sin; the people walked in procession before one of the calves all the way to Dan” (1 Kings 12:28-30).
Ok, hopefully, we would recognize golden calves are not God, but we might not recognize false gods all around us today. Idols are less obvious in a society that has idolatry interwoven in its culture.
God Holds Us Accountable.
In 1 Kings 13, we see the story of a man of God who came and prophesied judgment on Jeroboam.
“A man of God came, however, from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense. 2 The man of God cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: “Altar, altar, this is what the Lord says, ‘A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” 3 He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.’”
4 When the king heard the message that the man of God had cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Arrest him!” But the hand he stretched out against him withered, and he could not pull it back to himself. 5 The altar was ripped apart, and the ashes poured from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. 6 Then the king responded to the man of God, “Plead for the favor of the Lord your God and pray for me so that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God pleaded for the favor of the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it had been at first.”
Follow God’s Instructions, Not Man’s.
God confirmed the prophesy right away. And yet this same prophet did not follow God’s instructions explicitly on his way home and another prophet deceived him. We have to guard against man’s instructions and stick with God’s.
In chapter 14, we see disaster prescribed for the house of Jeroboam:
“6 When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you disguised? I have bad news for you. 7 Go tell Jeroboam, ‘This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I raised you up from among the people, appointed you ruler over my people Israel, 8 tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you. But you were not like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what is right in my sight. 9 You behaved more wickedly than all who were before you. In order to anger me, you have proceeded to make for yourself other gods and cast images, but you have flung me behind your back. 10 Because of all this, I am about to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam.”
In Chapter 15, Abijam became king over Judah. He also walked in the sins of his father Jeroboam. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to God. Many of the kings did what was evil in the eyes of the LORD but King Asa did what was right in the LORD’s sight and was wholeheartedly devoted to God his whole life.
The sins of the father are passed down to the next generation.
The righteous behavior can be passed down, too, but each person needs to choose who they will serve and this choice is not a one-time decision.
Sin is a slippery slope, friends. One decision to walk with God is not enough. We must choose him every day. Solomon had wisdom – to lead God’s people, yet he did not lead himself well.
- We have to guard against man’s instructions and stick with God’s.
- Idols are less obvious in a society that has idolatry interwoven in its culture.
- Will the brief pleasure you acquire be worth being in the fire?
- The company we keep can turn our hearts toward or away from God.
- Choose God.
- One good turn leads to another. Repenting and turning from behavior toward God helps us to continue in that momentum of godliness.
- So what are you doing to safeguard yourself from your weakness?
- Or to keep yourself from falling?
- If the wisest guy in town can be deceived, so can we.
- Start godly accountable habits while they are young.
- Solomon, who taught many to walk in wisdom did not do so himself.
- We have to live out what we believe, or we don’t truly believe it.
- Faith is belief in action.
- So how is it that Christians today can fall away?
- Friends, we have to be in God’s word for the devil is crafty.
- Jesus quoted God’s word. He did not even lean on his own understanding.
- We don’t have to learn by making mistakes. We can learn from those who did.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #170: 1 Kings 11-15
Scripture of the Day: 1 Kings 11:2-4
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