February 4, 2018
The Divided Kingdom – Week 1 – How the Mighty Have Fallen
The Divided Kingdom – Week 1 – How the Mighty Have Fallen
So what are we going to be covering?
About 400 years are covered. From the time of the Solomon’s reign to the nation of Israel being split in two, to the Assyrian capture, to the Babylonian capture and exile, to the return of the Jews to the land, and the restoration of the temple and city of Jerusalem
Kings – Written most likely by Jeremiah in captivity.
Chronicles – Written by Ezra post exile. Practical lessons Ezra 9:1- Teaches them how to live thier lives in a way that gains God’s blessing. 58% of the book is original.
Prophets – We will look at how each of the prophets of the Old Testament fit into the Big picture of God’s Story with His people.
Today we are going to begin with what led up to this shattering of the nation of Israel. The first thing we must realize is that there is a lot of baggage and History here. We can point to one big event that caused the division in the nation but that really isn’t the whole story. Just like in our lives we can point to one event and say there it is that is when it all went wrong but truly there is always more background and issues that contributed to the mess we find ourselves in. The same is true here.
We could talk about the divisive nature of the Jewish tribes, or the failed parenting strategies of His father. The lack of a heathy family structure, we could point to any of these things as excuses for what happened but the truth is Solomon made a choice and that was the problem.
The choices we make matter. There is actually very little in life that we can control, but the one thing we can control are the choices we make. I get frustrated when I hear people so well I could help it I had not choice. That is wrong. We ALWAYS have a choice.
Andy Stanley wrote an amazing book that someday we will go through as a church called, THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PATH. In that book he explains that the choices we make lead to the destination of our lives. There is a classic question He alludes to in the book. Question: How did I end up here? How many of you have asked that question before, if not audible at least in your mind.
The truth is you ended up where you were at because of the choices your made.
Why are we talking about this right now because it is central to this whole series. You see Solomon was King. Solomon was (out side of Jesus) the wisest man ever to live. Becuase of God’s blessing in his life He was given by God, emmense wisdom, riches and power. 1 Kings 3.
Solomon had everything a king, or anyone for that matter could ever want. Wisdom, Money, influence and the favor of God. But as we will see none of those things are enough to keep Solomon from making poor choices and going away from God’s plan for him and his family.
Let’s look at the turning point in his life.
2 Chronicles 7
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the Lord and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, “His love endures forever.” Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing. Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions. So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel. When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night
STOP RIGHT THERE. Do you see that? God appeared to Him. This is actually the second time God appears to Solomon. We will come back to that in a minute.
and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’ ””
1 Kings 11:1-13
“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 Molek 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. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. 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.””
1. We can never underestimate our desires of the flesh. Our desires may manifest themselves in different ways, but we all are prone to struggle with them mightily. This is why we need to go to war with our flesh and ask the Holy Spirit to go to work in our minds and hearts each and every day.
2. Having an encounter with God is not enough. Solomon had two different times that God appeared to Him. Most of the people in the Old Testement never saw God even once. Knowing God’s word is not the same as obeying God’s will. God spoke directly to Solomon. He was clear about what Solomon was to do. God speaks clearly to us through is word, He is clear at what we are to do. There is no excuse for much of our sin. We make excuses and say things like, well that was a different time. Or well we live in a different culture. We need to stop making excuses for our sin! The amount of your spiritual experience does not determine your level of spirituality. Obedience is the indicator of maturity. You could go to church all your life, have an amazing experience of God moving in your life, and still be a baby spiritually or even not be a believer at all.
3. The giftings of God do not do not trump our submission to God. Wisdom never trumps obedience.
4. God does not expect perfection, He expects humble submission.
5. God will not wink at our sin. – God is full of grace, but He also disciplines those whom He loves. Here we see that God disciplines Solomon for his sin. God would take the kingdom and split it because of Solomon’s sin. We often mistake God’s patience (grace) for his impotence.
1. Our sin never effects only us. It has residual effects on all those around us. The higher the profile the more destructive the consequences.
Now, we may be tempted to see this as God being unfair by punishing Solomon’s son and even Israel instead of Solomon. That’s understandable. But Solomon’s son was far from innocent in how he tried to lead Israel. It was not like he was an innocent bystander when the kingdom actually split in two. That is next week. And as for the people, we know that they struggled with idolatry all along. So they weren’t innocent either.
1. Let’s not look past the biggest takeaway—the gospel.
Jesus is the greater Solomon.
King Solomon was tempted in the flesh and gave in to temptation, sinned, led his people into idolatry and tore God’s people apart.
King Jesus was tempted in the flesh, but He didn’t give in to temptation. Jesus never sinned, and led His people to the Father and brought God’s people together as part of the church.
Jesus succeeded where Solomon failed. Solomon is not the hero of the story. Jesus IS.
And in Jesus, we (if we make the choice to accept what he has done for us on the cross, AND have submitted our lives to Him) have been credited with His righteousness so that we too are seen by God as fully obedient to the Father.
Let’s get serious about the choices we make and the life we live.
For more from this series you can CLICK HERE.