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Not Traditional, Original

The Lesson of the Downfall of Solomon

We will take a hard look at Solomon.  But before we do that, I want to first look at the life of Timothy and how he developed into such a strong believer.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve as my forefathers did, with a pure conscience. How unceasing is my memory of you in my petitions, night and day longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy; having been reminded of the sincere faith that is in you; which lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, in you also. (2Ti 1:1-5 WEB)

Paul praises the faith that is in Timothy and tells here how it first lived in his grandmother Lois, and then his mother Eunice.  Wow, what a statement of the power of dedicated, faithful women.  Paul calls Timothy his beloved child and speaks of how he longed to see him, night and day longing to see him, remembering his tears.

That speaks loudly of the impact women can have on people and did have on this wonderful man, Timothy as Timothy’s faith that he got from these women had such an impact on him and the people around him.

But there is a different side to this coin that we will look at here and this is a hard lesson.  We will look at the life of Solomon.  First, we will see Solomon described as a man of incredible wisdom, the wisest man ever!

Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into David’s city, until he had finished building his own house, Yahweh’s house, and the wall around Jerusalem. However the people sacrificed in the high places, because there was not yet a house built for Yahweh’s name. Solomon loved Yahweh, walking in the statutes of David his father; except that he sacrificed and burned incense in the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. In Gibeon, Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask for what I should give you.” Solomon said, “You have shown to your servant David my father great loving kindness, because he walked before you in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with you. You have kept for him this great loving kindness, that you have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. Now, Yahweh my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father. I am just a little child. I don’t know how to go out or come in. Your servant is among your people which you have chosen, a great people, that can’t be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this great people of yours?” This request pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have you asked for riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice; behold, I have done according to your word. Behold, I have given you a wise and understanding heart; so that there has been no one like you before you, and after you none will arise like you. I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you for all your days. If you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” Solomon awoke; and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of Yahweh’s covenant, and offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants. (1Ki 3:1-15 WEB)

There is the story of the beginnings of Solomon and how he became so wise. Notice that it says that Solomon loved Yahweh and walked in the statutes of David, his father.   But, there was as yet no Temple so like the rest of Israel he sacrificed and burned incense in high places.  At this point, Israel still had shrines, places where there were idols, and people burnt offerings there.  Solomon did this practice also.  Still. Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream.  He asked Solomon what he wanted. This is what he said.

Now, Yahweh my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father. I am just a little child. I don’t know how to go out or come in. Your servant is among your people which you have chosen, a great people, that can’t be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this great people of yours?” (1Ki 3:7-9 WEB)

Now, let’s look at these verses in that section as to what Yahweh said:

God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have you asked for riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice; behold, I have done according to your word. Behold, I have given you a wise and understanding heart; so that there has been no one like you before you, and after you none will arise like you. (1Ki 3:11-12 WEB)

There is the promise of God to Solomon alone. “a wise and understanding heart; so that there has been no one like you before you, and after you none will arise like you.”  Amazing!

An example of that wisdom follows in the text.

Then two women who were prostitutes came to the king, and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house. I delivered a child with her in the house. The third day after I delivered, this woman delivered also. We were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, just us two in the house. This woman’s child died in the night, because she lay on it. She arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I had looked at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, whom I bore.” The other woman said, “No; but the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.” The first one said, “No; but the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king. Then the king said, “One says, ‘This is my son who lives, and your son is the dead;’ and the other says, ‘No; but your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’” The king said, “Get me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.” Then the woman whose the living child was spoke to the king, for her heart yearned over her son, and she said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and in no way kill him!” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide him.” Then the king answered, “Give her the living child, and definitely do not kill him. She is his mother.” All Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do justice. (1Ki 3:16-28 WEB)

This is the famous record of the two women who both claimed the same baby. Two women both had a baby within days of each other. Sadly, one woman laid on the baby in her sleep and it died. Instead of just morning her loss, however, she placed her dead baby in the bed with the other mother and took the other mother’s baby to be her own.

There was no evidence that could prove one person’s claim over the other. Solomon had nothing in terms of evidence to prove anything, one way or another. Yet he had been given this incredible wisdom. In what might appear to some as lunacy he orders that a sword be brought so that the baby can be split in half so that each mother can have part of the baby as they appear to have the same claim. But it never comes to that. The real mother says to let the other one have the baby as she would not harm her baby. It’s an incredible display.

Also, in the prophecy that is given to Solomon, it is told that he will get great riches.

I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you for all your days. (1Ki 3:13 WEB)

Later, in first Kings chapter 10, we read that the prophecy of both Solomon’s wisdom and wealth are fulfilled.

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold, in addition to that which the traders brought, and the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mixed people, and of the governors of the country. … So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. (1Ki 10:14, 23 WEB)

So, we see that it looks like Solomon is set up to live just an incredibly fantastic life. So, what could go wrong? We are going to start reading in first Kings chapter 11.

Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which Yahweh said to the children of Israel, “You shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon joined to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father was. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and didn’t go fully after Yahweh, as David his father did. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the mountain that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. So he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. (1Ki 11:1-8 WEB)

Here is the sad lesson. The section above is packed with truths about God, men, and women.  Solomon had been busy politically, marrying royal wives from different kingdoms. This was a very strategic move that built up political alliances that helped strengthen his kingdom. But what good is a strong kingdom if what you’re doing to build it up destroys your alliance with the one true God which is the most important thing in anyone’s life.

We read in the above section the reference to “You shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” This is seen in other places.

When Yahweh your God brings you into the land where you go to possess it, and casts out many nations before you, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than you; and when Yahweh your God delivers them up before you, and you strike them; then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them. You shall not make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to his son, nor shall you take his daughter for your son. For he will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods. So Yahweh’s anger would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. (Deu 7:1-4 WEB)

There it is again. Marrying someone of a different faith causes a problem. “For he will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods”.  Here we have a couple of places that say that is inherent in marriage with someone who believes differently than you do that it will affect you.

Wow, what a change in the life of this man Solomon!

And in the very next section, we read that Solomon made God angry because he sought to accommodate his wives’ religious desires.

Yahweh was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he didn’t keep that which Yahweh commanded. Therefore, Yahweh said to Solomon, “Because this is done by you, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. (1Ki 11:9-11 WEB)

Yahweh was angry! The end result was that Solomon would lose the kingdom.

The key that I want to focus on here is how it is written that marrying people of a different faith is a mistake.  Deuteronomy 7 says,

You shall not make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to his son, nor shall you take his daughter for your son. For he will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods. (Deu 7:3-4a WEB)

Now, I have heard different people talk about how they approach marrying someone of a different faith. And by faith, I don’t just mean Christianity versus Judaism versus Hinduism and so forth.  The apostles were very concerned that we followed what they taught exactly so in that sense all the different denominations of Christianity are different faiths because they all follow different traditions.

I’ve heard people say it doesn’t matter what faiths the people in a couple have. I’ve heard Christian people say that they will be a witness to their new spouses and work on getting them to convert. Notice that neither of these options is in these verses. The verses just say not to marry someone of a different faith. And, this same concept is in the epistles.

Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2Co 6:14 WEB)

Now, this verse does compare Christian believers with unbelievers. What does “being yoked” together with someone mean?  It means being bound together in some kind of relationship. It could be marriage, or it could be a business partnership or something like that.

Now there are verses that talk about people being married to unbelievers. But if you read them, you’ll see that they’re talking to believers about what to do if their unbelieving spouse chooses not to believe. The context therefore at least suggests that the case here is that someone was not an unbeliever, became a believer, and then needed to know what to do with their unbelieving spouse. The context does not suggest that it is okay to marry unbelievers.

So, what we have been talking about so far is people not marrying people who follow other gods, gods other than Yahweh. Furthermore, the verse in the New Testament means to not be unequally yoked together with someone who isn’t a Christian.

And, next, we need to look at the fine print. We have been looking at many articles that talk about the charge to follow the apostles’ traditions.

So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter. (2Th 2:15 WEB)

Furthermore, in the faith, we are told to avoid those that don’t hold to the apostles’ traditions.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us. (2Th 3:6 WEB)

Now, that really throws a wrinkle into it, doesn’t it? We have been reading how were not supposed to marry unbelievers. And now we have just read that we’re supposed to avoid even Christians who don’t follow the apostles’ traditions. That really refines the number of people that true believers can marry. If you’re supposed to avoid those that don’t follow the apostles’ traditions then you can’t marry them according to that verse.

Next, I want to talk about some very controversial verses of Scripture.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect. (Eph 5:22-27 WEB)

Now, I have seen this verse used in stories in different media like TV and books to display examples of all kinds of terribly abusive husbands controlling women and basically ruining those women’s lives. Now there are certainly examples where this and every other verse of Scripture has been misused. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is Scripture, and if it is Scripture that it must be part of God’s plan.

What is the message here? The verses talk about the husband being the head as Christ is the head of the assembly, the church. And then it reiterates the concept and, that wives are to be subject to their husbands as the church is subject to Christ. That looks pretty plain and simple. It’s talking about spiritual leadership and service.

Husbands are charged with the task of making sure the household follows God. In the case of believers, as we’ve seen throughout many of these articles. That means that the church follows the apostles’ traditions, and in the house, the house follows the apostles’ traditions.

That is not to say that there is any prescription for demanding or enforcing this charge. It’s a pretty simple paradigm. Men are supposed to lead to keep the household following the apostles’ traditions. Women are supposed to follow.

I’ve seen women basically say that they don’t agree with the man’s leadership.  They think that the man is wrong in some way.  Maybe they think it is the wrong church, it doesn’t have the right programs, or the teacher isn’t very inspiring.  Or maybe they just want to go to some other church because they know people there.

There is no capital punishment, there’s no prison sentence or even community service prescribed for households that don’t follow the husband’s lead.  It’s not grounds for divorce.  In other words, if the wife chooses not to follow the apostles’ traditions it doesn’t prescribe any punishment of any sort. Rather, it charges the husband to be like Christ in continuing to offer leadership to get the house lined up with the apostles’ traditions.

Now here is where some of the rubber meets the road.  It’s the husband’s charge to make the decision.  Of course, if he agrees with the wife then there is no problem, right. Everyone is happy then.  There are times, of course, when the wife will be right. And we are all charged to submit to each other, meaning that sometimes the man needs to submit to the wife’s wisdom as being of God.

subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. (Eph 5:21 WEB)

But what if he doesn’t agree, moreover, he sees the wife’s wisdom as not following the tradition of the apostles?  It is still the husband’s responsibility to make the right choice. There is a piece of worldly wisdom that I hear quoted, “happy wife, happy life!” Unfortunately, that is not biblical guidance.  Making your wife happy by going along with the wrong spiritual program is the downfall of Solomon.

If the wife decides not to follow the husband’s direction, that is her choice.  It is the husband’s job to lead and to endeavor to keep leading.

And the worst thing is to capitulate and just give in to the wife’s desires like Solomon. So, let’s get back to Solomon, and look again at the result of Solomon’s not leading as a man of God in his own house.

Yahweh was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he didn’t keep that which Yahweh commanded. Therefore, Yahweh said to Solomon, “Because this is done by you, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. (1Ki 11:9-11 WEB)

Again, we see that Yahweh was angry! And the end result was that Solomon would lose the kingdom. It wasn’t as complete a loss as Saul but it still was a major consequence.

Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days, for David your father’s sake; but I will tear it out of your son’s hand. However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son, for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.” (1Ki 11:12-13 WEB)

In our day and time, it’s not as much about worshiping the gods of these ancient civilizations as it is about following the tradition of the apostles or not.

Let us all realize the lesson of the downfall of Solomon. Solomon allowed himself to be persuaded to follow the spiritual desires of the spouse(s) rather than what Yahweh desired for him to follow.

When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father was. (1Ki 11:4 WEB)

As Christians, we are charged not only to follow Christ but to only follow the apostle’s traditions, the teachings of the original apostles on what it means to follow Christ.

Husbands, lead your wives and families to follow the apostles’ traditions. Wives, and families, follow that lead. That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  Marriage is hard work.

In the church in our day and time, our commandment is to follow the tradition of the apostles. Let us do that in this situation also. Husbands, lead your wives and households to follow the apostles’ traditions.

So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter. (2Th 2:15 WEB)

Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. (1Co 11:2 WEB)

 

April 24th, 2022 Posted by | Sermons | no comments

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