We Own Our Sins!

Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. 1 Kings 11:26

This is the third reference in this chapter to enemies that the Lord raised up against Solomon because of his sin. Solomon’s sin against the Lord was his own. His wives led him down the wrong path but it still was Solomon who was engaging in idol worship. He rebelled. You could probably make a case that this was all a result of David sinning against Bathsheba and then Uriah (ultimately sinning against God), but that’s not entirely fair.

Yes, David paid a high price for his sin. We see the dysfunction in his family. However, sin is a choice. It was a choice for Saul, for David, for Absalom, for Solomon. And it’s a choice for us. You can argue all day long about “the sins of the fathers visiting x number of generations down the line,” but the point remains, we choose to sin. The sin is on our shoulders, not our parents, not our grandparents or our great grandparents. We own our sins.

Now, having said that, Christ forgives when we ask Him. His blood and His alone can cleanse us from our sin.

We sin; Jesus forgives, our lives are changed. Hallelujah!

Meditate on that simple truth throughout the day.

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Mini-Rebellions

Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 1 Kings 11:14

In a previous verse, the LORD had specifically forbidden Solomon to follow after other Gods. Solomon made no mistake about what he was doing. He was explicitly rebelling against God. So God’s response was to rip the kingdom out of his hands and given over to one of Solomon’s underlings. Solomon’s actions are blatant rebellion. Evidently he was so enmeshed in worshipping other gods that pleasing God no longer mattered to him.

I think many of us can relate to Solomon to varying degrees. Normally we come to our senses but not always. We want our way and we want it now. But as in previous verses, the change away from God can be subtle and in increments. We’ve got to guard our hearts against mini-rebellions against God (Proverbs 4:23). What do I mean by mini-rebellions? It’s when we refuse to obey God’s word when we know what is right, when we dishonor him throughout the day, when we are more concerned about what others think than what God thinks. When we say in our hearts, “I want to control my life,” that’s a mini-rebellion (that can outright turn into a full rebellion).

As the Scripture says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

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Turn Back!

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. 1 Kings 11:9-10

God is a jealous God. I’m not sure that we can fully comprehend that statement. Not only had Solomon turned away from the LORD God Almighty, but he followed after other gods. Or perhaps because he followed other gods, he turned away from the LORD. Either way, the Lord was displeased with Solomon. He strayed. Solomon’s foreign wives turned his heart.

The point with the foreign wives is that they served other gods. They didn’t know the Lord Jehovah. It’s what the New Testament refers to as being “unequally yoked.”

We would do well to find out what makes our hearts stray from the Lord. Often it’s life situations that cause us to stray. We become discouraged, and neglect our time with the Lord. And before you know it, weeks and months have passed before we realize what has happened. No matter what you’re doing that is moving away from God, you can always always stop and turn towards Him. Always.

Even if you feel you’ve strayed to the point of no return, turn back.

Turn back. He’ll be there.

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Blessed to Bless

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.
How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.”
1 Kings 10:1, 8-9

One of the major patterns that we see throughout Scripture is the concept of “being blessed by God to be a blessing to others.” The phrase sounds like a sugary sweet twenty first century cliche, but Scripture teaches time and again the idea that God blesses a people so that they may bless others. In fact, you could rightly argue that it was why Jesus came to earth. He blessed his disciples and they in turn blessed others who blessed others, and so on. Of course the highest blessing is salvation but the principle of blessing still remains. The queen of Sheba seems to have understood this and praised Solomon’s God because of it!

We have been blessed with many material things, much like Solomon was. We have money, land, houses, gold, silver, bank accounts, savings, investments. We also have families, friends, Salvation, wisdom, talents, skills, and a God who loves us unconditionally. So the very same question I ask myself, I’ll ask you: what are you doing with your “blessings?” Are you hoarding them or are you richly blessing others? Take a look at both of those lists again. What one thing can you bless others with this week? Just one.

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Dissatisfaction

King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. And Hiram sent his men—sailors who knew the sea—to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon. 1 Kings 9:26-28
King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.1 Kings 10:23
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.
1 Kings 11:1

Without a doubt, King Solomon was an extremely wealthy man, perhaps the Bill Gates or Warren Buffett of his day. Verse 23 seems to indicate that he was the wealthiest. He was a builder. It took him 20 years to build his palace and the LORD’s temple, his surrounding terraces, and numerous cities. To say that he was an important man is an understatement. And he was wise.

In the end, though, he loved his women, and lots of them. On top of that they were foreign women at that. What’s the significance of foreign women? They worshipped other gods, and Solomon followed after them.

We see some of his yearnings and boredom in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He had everything but he wanted more. Think about that. He had everything the known world had to offer him, but he wasn’t satisfied with it, to the point that he turned away from God. I don’t think I can underscore this point enough, even in my own life.

Billy Graham once said, “if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul, was it worth it?”

We are bombarded with ads that tell us should be dissatisfied with our looks, our teeth, our weight, our hair color, our hair loss, our popularity, our old cars and old furniture, and even our boring monogamous family. Lies, all lies. None of those things draw us closer to God. None.

Today when you’re tempted to go after the “temporary,” remember Solomon’s demise: he was ultimately a dissatisfied man when he turned from God.

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