Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
How much do you know? (answers at the end of the lesson)
Doesn’t everyone desire to be wise? Mankind’s desire for wisdom began in the Garden and resulted in the fall of man. Eve wanted to know what was right and what was wrong. She wanted to be wise! But, Eve allowed herself to be convinced by Lucifer that she could gain that wisdom from the forbidden fruit. “When the woman saw… that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate...” (Gen. 3:6). She did not ask God for that wisdom, but tried to gain it for herself by her own hand. And then, so does her husband…. After Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, their descendants do not fare much better. Flawed human wisdom led men such as Lamech (not Noah’s father, Gen 4:23) to explain his logic in killing another man. It appears Lamech had convinced himself that he was justified in what he did and we see he was concerned about the reputation of his own name as he speaks of himself in the third person in verse 24. Eventually this flawed human wisdom of what was right and what was wrong, caused the whole human race to be wiped out except for eight people living in a boat!
But after the flood, men once again reject the Lord as King and rely on their own wisdom as they build a tower to reach the heavens and make a place... not for God’s name to dwell, but a place for their name to dwell! “They said, ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth’” (Gen. 11:4). That was the problem! Man always wants to make a name for himself! Man desires a place for his own name to dwell. A place that others will come to and stand in awe at his accomplishments. It is the original sin once again. The sin of pride! That’s not hard to understand or believe because it is still common today for so many of us to allow pride to enter in and lift us up in our own eyes just like Lamech and those who built the tower so long ago. And we will often do anything it takes to make others see it!
David also had a problem with pride while he was king. In 2 Sam. 5:9 after David had conquered Zion (Jerusalem), we are told that David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. It was not God who named it after David! It was David! It looks like David, in his own prideful, human wisdom may have been making a place for his own name to dwell? Then later, when things are going so well (2 Sam. 24:1), he gives orders for all of his army to be numbered and he did it in his own wisdom. Again the sin of pride (2 Sam. 24: 1-15). Numbers often do matter, but the motivations for those numbers matter even more. As a result of David’s pride, 70,000 people in Israel die! The Lord stops the plague at the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite, where David sees the angel who is killing the people. It is there at the threshing floor of Araunah that God gives grace and stops the angel bringing death (2 Sam. 24:16-17).
You may ask, why is that important to this lesson? Because, after this David is humbled, turns his whole heart back to God and develops a desire to see a permanent place for God’s Name to dwell. He then buys contrary! Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings to the Lord at Gibeon, which was a high place of worship, and as a result, that night, God offers Solomon anything he desires. So how do we explain that?
Since the time of the Judges, Israel had been worshipping on the high places (Jud. 6:25; 13:16, 1 Sam. 7:10; 13:9; 14:35; 16:5, 1 Chron. 21:26). They should not have been doing that according to the Scriptures. (See: Deut. 12:1-6.) He told them that the high places were not to be used like the former inhabitants had used them! He told them, “You shall not act like this toward the Lord your God” (v.4).
I am not absolutely sure, but it looks like God seems to overlook the uses of the high places in Samuel’s, David’s and Solomon’s day? Maybe he saw it as ignorance? I am not sure about this and I do not know a better explanation. Maybe you do? What I know is, they were worshipping God, but they were doing it in a place that their ancestors had been commanded to destroy (Deut. 12:2). In Lev. 17:3, the Lord commanded that no one should make a sacrifice in any place other than in front of the Tabernacle. This would clearly indicate that Israel should not be worshiping on the high places, yet, even David (1 Chronicles 16) and Samuel (1 Samuel 9) had conducted worship on high places and God blessed them. I know no other way to interpret this than, “God is patient”! He had not yet named the place where His name would dwell (Deut. 12:11,14) and was very patient with the people and with Solomon as they worshipped on these high places but exactly what God had said would happen, did! (“...this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land…” Deut. 31:16) They would stop following God and the high places that should have been destroyed were a major part of Israel’s downfall. But the question still is: Was Solomon’s heart divided from the beginning? I do not believe so… Solomon worshiped in the way he had been taught by his father and God accepted that worship. I think it was a long slow process of a shift in priorities that slowly fractured Solomon’s heart and it culminated with his many foreign wives in his old age. (1 Kings 11:4)
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 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. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord” (1 Kings 11:1-3 NLT). The Scriptures tell us that it was his wives that turned his heart away from the Lord. There is much debate about why Pharaoh's daughter was singled out as an individual and the other women are just listed as nationalities. Jewish writers, writing a few hundred years before Christ believed that Pharaoh's daughter had turned to Judaism and that Solomon was not in sin for marrying her. But would that still be okay if you consider that Israel was never supposed to return to Egypt?
SOME EXTRA THOUGHTS>>>>>>>> Either way, when Solomon took another wife after his first one he is led away from the Lord and commits adultery. Some would argue that he committed adultery against his first wife by marrying the others. I don't know about that for sure since so many of the Patriarchs had multiple wives, But I do know that Solomon did commit adultery against the Lord God. Like father like son I guess? David's desires caused him to commit adultery and murder and Solomon's desires caused him to ultimately turn this adultery against God into idolatry?
Solomon refuses to give up his love for his wives. The Scripture says, “Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway” (11:2 NLT). I believe that Solomon held his wives in such a high esteem that his relationship to them became idol worship. Solomon's heart turns so far from God that he even builds places of worship for his wives foreign gods. Did Solomon worship those gods? The Scriptures do say he did! “Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5 NLT). The Lord became angry with him because “...his heart was turned away from the Lord” (1 Kings 11:9). We know that he built places of worship on the high places for his wives to worship what God calls “detestable” gods including Molech. The worship of Molech will be the straw that breaks the camel's back for the Israelites when God finally takes them into captivity. (More on that in future lessons). The god Molech required infant sacrifice often by burning the child on the altar. And the truth is that Solomon bears a great deal of responsibility for Israel's worship of these foreign gods that eventually lead them into captivity and the removal of a king from the throne in Jerusalem. Solomon's divided heart causes the divided Kingdom of Israel and he is still largely responsible for the state of divided Israel scattered over the globe today.
But here is the good news for Solomon! The Spirit of God never departed from Solomon all the days of his life. The Lord kept the promise He had made to Solomon’s father, David. Speaking of Solomon, the Lord said, “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever”’”(2 Sam. 7:13-16). The Hebrew word for lovingkindness is usually translated - mercy! (See 1 Sam. 16:14.) I believe I will see Solomon in heaven! The Lord promised David he would not leave Solomon as he did Saul. That is a lesson for us in the security of the believer! But that is another lesson for later...
Application: Finding Jesus on Every Page
Solomon thrived because of his wisdom and the Lord’s blessings, but he goes too far! I think he believed that he was so wise that he could handle the temptations of the very things that the Lord had forbidden in Deuteronomy. I think he thought he was wise enough to do those things and place himself in those situations and resist letting them become sin! Maybe he thought like so many of us… “I am mature enough to handle it!” I have never heard this preached or taught from the viewpoint of this passage of Scripture in 1 Kings, but it is so true! I know this because we all want to do the same things! We can spend a lot of our time with those lost friends and we can lead them to Christ because they will never pull us away from Christ! But the opposite usually happens. We can have that job or material belongings that could pull us away from the Lord. “I can handle it!” So many Christians believe they can date that lost person and they will be saved. Or marry a lost person without damaging their own spiritual walk? Of course the truth is we are not strong enough or wise enough to resist these types of temptations or so many more. The best way to resist temptation is to obey the Scriptures. If we're doing that, we would not get into many of the situations we find ourselves in so often that result into our giving into sins that we plainly know that God has forbidden.
Even though we know right from wrong so often this statement is true: “Knowing what is right doesn't equal doing what is right”. Solomon knew what was right and he was much wiser than you or I, but he ended up doing what was wrong. Why? Because he turned his heart away from God. My guess would be that he was also breaking the rest of the commands in that chapter in Deuteronomy. I doubt very seriously he was writing Scriptures everyday and studying the Word of God during those times when he turned his heart away from God. The beautiful things, the valuable things and the shiny things all became more important day by day in his life until finally his wisdom was of no value to him in his walk with the Lord. So, how do we gain wisdom? There are a couple of things you can do. First of all, read God's word daily and absorb it into your life. Become Bible literate! God's Word is wisdom. Secondly, you can ask God for it. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” What more could you ask for than that?
Answers to: How much do you know? - 1. At The High place at Gibeon. 2. 40 years 3. He married many foreign women for political alliances, he allowed his wives to worship foreign gods, he built temples to foreign gods, he acquired many horses and a large army instead of trusting in God. He built his army with Egyptian horses and chariots against God's command, He worshipped idols and pagan gods, he killed his half-brother Adonnaija, he gave some of the land of Israel to the King of Tyre to pay off his debts, he imposed heavy taxation on his people, he disobeyed his father by not keeping his heart fully for God. 4. Cause - His love for his foreign wives. Consequences - the Lord divided the Kingdom!
Here's the list of Bible readings that you (or your students) can read before you teach this lesson:
Monday, 1 KINGS 10:14-29, 2 CHRONICLES 9:13-28, 2 CHRONICLES 1:14-17, 1 KINGS 4:1-19
Tuesday, 1 KINGS 4:20-34, PSALM 72
Wednesday, PSALM 127, PROVERBS 1:1-33
Thursday, PROVERBS 2:1-3:35
Friday PROVERBS 4:1-5:23
Saturday, PROVERBS 6:1-7:27
Sunday, PROVERBS 8:1-9:12
Here’s the list of Bible readings that your students will be reading the week after you teach this lesson:
Monday, PROVERBS 9:13-10:32
Tuesday, PROVERBS 11:1-13:25
Wednesday, PROVERBS 14:1-16:33
Thursday, PROVERBS 17:1-19:29
Friday, PROVERBS 20:1-22:16
Saturday, PROVERBS 22:17-24:22
Sunday, PROVERBS 24:23-34, SONG 1:1-17
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