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The Story, Chapter 13: “The King Who Had It All”

April 23, 2017

The Story, Chapter 13: “The King Who Had It All”

 

AS PEOPLE ARRIVE HAND THEM AN EGG. (The eggs have a proverb written inside. Later in the service, folks took turns reading the proverbs.)

 

Children’s Sermon:  I am in some need of good advice.  I’m thinking about trying out for a softball team, but I can’t remember what’s important for me to do.  Can any of you give me any advise on how to hit, catch or throw?

Now that Easter’s over, I’d like to do a bit more reading.  Can any of you advise me on a book to read?

 

Giving advise is like dispensing wisdom.  You share with others the smart thing to do.  If you can do that, it means you know the best thing to do, but does that always mean that you do the best thing? I was practicing a sport this weekend and even though I knew where to put my fingers to get things just right, I often had to be told, “move your finger”.  Guess what I said, “I know, I know!” 

 

Knowing what is right does not mean we always do what is right. Today we are talking about King Solomon.  He knew what was right, but he got distracted and did what was wrong - even though he knew the right thing. 

 

What are some things we can do to get better at doing what we know is right?  Can it work for sports? Can it work in our relationship with God?  Let’s make that our aim this week.

 

Introduction:    On Easter Sunday, Joe took his girls and their cousins frog hunting.  I’ve never been frog hunting although I remember growing up that our neighbor and his boys used to go.  I was semi-intrigued but never understood why you want to go catch frogs in the dark!  Frogs are useful creatures: they have been used for science experiments -  I remember the wonderful occasion of frog dissection in junior high; and I hear that frog legs make for good eatin’!; and those first peepers we hear are a sure sign that spring is upon us. 

 

As I was preparing for this week’s sermon, I looked at someone else’s introduction for this 13th chapter of The Story and it spoke of another frog experiment that has served as a great analogy for a great many things and serves us now. You have most likely heard it before:  

Research shows that if you put a frog into boiling water it will jump out. If you put a frog in room temperature water, lukewarm water, and turn the burner up, you can literally cook the frog to death (and have delicious frog legs for dinner.). The frog story is a metaphor for the person we meet this week in The Story - Solomon, David’s son by Bathsheba. Solomon was a frog who could jump over any lily pad; who had the blue-blood of royalty; who was a frog any princess would kiss and 700 of them actually do. But Solomon although he got off to a strong start, he stepped into lukewarm water and by the end, his life was cooked. 

 

Before we dive deep into Solomon’s life, let’s take a moment to review what God has been doing since the beginning of time. 

  • At creation God has intimacy with humankind and wants to keep it that way.
  • After the fall, after Adam and Eve choose to listen to someone other than God, God still seeks them out and tells them again that he wants to live in a right relationship with them.
  • God called Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel. The mission of Israel was to point other nations, all peoples, to God. God wants all people to come back to him. 
  • God gave Israel a land and God allowed them to have kings. 
  • The first king was Saul who failed to represent God. 
  • God then chose David as king. David did represent God well, and even though he sinned grievously, he repented and captured the heart of a gracious God who is available to everyone. 

 

In 1 Kings 1 David is old and dying and passes the leadership baton to Solomon.

 

Solomon’s Good Beginning

Solomon was a very wise man.  At the beginning of his reign God speaks to him in a dream.  Let’s check in at 1 Kings 3:5-14

 

Solomon asks for wisdom rather than riches and gets both. And then right in the next verses we see Solomon’s wisdom tested. 1 Kings 3:16-28

    

 

Solomon shares his wisdom with the masses.  Like his father, David, Solomon too was a prolific writer but with a different style.  Solomon wrote wisdom literature often as proverbs.  Let’s hear a few!  (Pass these out prior to worship in Easter eggs??)

 

Solomon isn’t stingy with his wisdom, he wants the people to be wise as well, and especially his own sons.  There are some folks I have known who made it a practice to read one proverb a day (as there are 31 and that fills out a month!).  I’m not sure if that made them wiser, but it could not have hurt! In The Story you will read some of these proverbs on pages 146-150 and of course you can find them all in your Bible!

 

Some people enjoy reading Ecclesiastes as a very philosophical work and they ponder the great thoughts there.  One of the most used wedding passages is found there Ec. 4:9-12

Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down,

    one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

    and has no one to help them up. 

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

    But how can one keep warm alone? 

Though one may be overpowered,

    two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

And a few folks are brave enough to wade into the Song of songs - which is focused on the love between a man and a woman. Not frequently preached through but there is a passage I use from there with folks who are transitioning from this life to the next.

 

Solomon’s writings, though poetic and philosophical are still part of God’s word that is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

Solomon is the one who builds the temple for God 

You can read all the details in 1 Kings 6-10.  One of the cool pieces of information that always wows me is that all of the hammering and chiseling to make the stones, was done at the quarry and at the temple construction site it was silent.  Can you imagine?  That in itself would be awe inspiring. When it was done there was a celebration and dedication and then God spoke with Solomon again as he had before.  In 1 Kings 9:3-5

we read of God’s blessing (read)

In the following verses 6-9, God gives a sobering warning.  Listen. 

    

Solomon Steps Into The Pot 

Let’s look at Solomon’s slow boil in 1 Kings 11:1-13

I don’t know about you, but the 700 wives and 300 concubines, 1,000 women! - calls Solomon’s wisdom into judgement.

 

Have you ever thought, “If God would just come tell me what to do face to face, I would do it faithfully!”  Guess what. I don’t think we can bank on that.  God has made it clear what we are to do to live in obedience to him. Those who had a direct conversation were just as likely to step into a pot of water and allow the heat to rise as you or I might be.  We must be mindful of where we put our feet; where we put our hands; where we put our ears and eyes; where we put our mind.  

 

The wisest man to ever live got stupid at the end of his life.  My disregard for God’s will is bound to get me in trouble just as yours will.  Can we take this a little more seriously as brothers and sisters in Christ?  Can we be more attentive to the care and nurture of our own souls as well as the encouragement of others to keep eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith? Let’s live as those who are avoiding stepping into the pot on the stove.  

 

Let’s pray to remain faithful to God - for ourselves and one another.  

Let’s commit to being held accountable and make sure we have intentional relationships with people who will tell us the truth and continually encourage us to seek God.  

And let us be about the business of seeking God at all times in all situations.  

Amen.

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