||Bible from 30,000 Feet - 2018, The
||1 Kings 1-22
1 Kings 1-22 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight 1KIN1
The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Would you agree that people today are pretty burned out on politics? We're kind of fed up with politics. I mean, we always are. I always am usually. There's sort of a side of me that likes to just sort of get interested in it, look at the news, flirt with it, see what they're doing. And then I see what they're doing, and I hear what they're doing, and I go, [GROANS] "I don't want to have anything to do with it." Then a few days later, it's like, "I wonder what they're doing," and start looking again.
But I just think people are tired of the divisiveness, and we're sort of sick of the rhetoric and all that that brings, which brings me to a story about three men who are friends, and they were arguing. They were having a conversation, but it sort of turned into a little disagreement. One was a surgeon, and then the second was a politician, and the third was an engineer. And they were arguing about whose profession among those three was the oldest profession historically.
And the surgeon says, "Well, gentlemen, you know, the Bible says that God formed woman by carving out a rib of man. That makes mine, the surgeon, the oldest profession in the world." The engineer said, "Not so fast. Before that, we are told that God created the earth out of chaos. Now, that's the job of an engineer." And the politician was over in the corner smiling wildly, and he said, "Ah, but who made the chaos?"
If you remember back in 1 Samuel chapter 8, there was a point in their history that brought chaos. And that's in 1 Samuel 8. I'm going back a couple books. You don't have to turn there. But they wanted a king. The people begged for a politician, a king, so that, in their words, "We can be like other nations." That's what they wanted. They wanted to be like everybody else. They wanted to be like other nations.
What they failed to remember is that the secret of their greatness was the fact that they were unlike other nations, that they had a very unique relationship, a covenant relationship with the living God. God wanted to be in charge. He would have loved it if it was a theocratic kingdom. One day, there will be on the earth. It'll be a while, but it will come.
And so they cried out for a king. They got one. He wasn't very good. His name was Saul. Saul was a man after his own heart, whereas the next guy, David, was a man after God's own heart. Saul gets replaced by David. David is the gold standard for rulers after that. He will always be compared to every other king. Did he have the same sort of heart? Not that David was perfect. He was far from it. In fact, we saw last time how imperfect David was. A man after God's own heart, yes, but a man who was a failure in his family nonetheless.
Now, from a worldly standpoint, David was a success. He was peerless. Monetarily, he brought economic prosperity to the nation. Militarily, he provided a strong army for the people. He was handsome. He was courageous. He was a visionary. But he couldn't control his family. And it brought pain to him, it brought trouble to him.
Now we have David 2, sort of. That is his son, Solomon, gets to be the next king. So we have Saul followed by David followed by Solomon, three kings that form the rulership of a united monarchy. Keep that little phrase in mind because it won't stay united. In this book, we see that it goes from united to divided.
Solomon sees outward growth. He also sees political strength. But he also sees chaos on a spiritual level. All comes from David. David had problems in his family. Solomon also has mega problems, like David on steroids. You know how many wives and concubines Solomon ends up with. Just these crazy amounts like you saw in that little spoof video. Thousands of women. David had a divided marriage, thus David had a divided heart, thus David left as a legacy a divided nation. He was a divided individual.
Now, speaking of dividing, let's divide the book. There are 22 chapters. You can cut it in half, and you have the outline. The first 11 chapters are about the united kingdom. And I'm not speaking about Great Britain. I'm speaking about the united of the north and the south, the 12 tribes of Israel under solid, unified leadership. Chapters 1 through 11 are about the united kingdom and the reign of Solomon. Then the next half, chapters 12 to 22 is the divided kingdom, and not the reign of Solomon, but the reign of several. Several kings come north and south as it gets to be very confusing.
We begin in chapter 1, verse 1. "Now, King David was old." I want you to mark that because I'm going to tell you how old in a minute, and you're going to go, "Wait a minute." It just says "David was old." He's advanced in years. And they put covers on him, but he could not get warm.
Now, a lot of times, there are old guys and gals in the Bible. They're like 100 years old, and you go, "That's pretty old. 120, that's really old." David died at age 70, yet it says he was old. All I can say is that David lived a hard life, and the years took their toll on David physically, spiritually, mentally. You know some of his background, so it's not hard to imagine what he was like at that age. He had lived a hard life, his body was pretty shot, and at age 70, he can't get warm.
So in his weakened condition, because this incredible leader, this successful leader is in a weakened condition-- whenever somebody who's a leader is weak, some others are looking for that time of weakness to use it as an opportune time. David had a fourth son who takes advantage of his weakness. His name is Adonijah. He takes advantage of the weakened condition. And in verse 5, we are told, "Then Adonijah, the son of Haggith, exalted himself saying, I will be King. And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen and 50 men to run before him."
This is David's fourth son. David's first son, Amnon, first born son, was killed by Absalom. Absalom, David's son, was killed by Joab, his commander in chief. His third son, Chileab, died at a young age. So this is number four. His fourth son is now the oldest.
He decides apart from the King's sanction to get a group of people, claim that he is king, stage an anointing down at a little spring outside of Jerusalem called En-rogel. Nathan the prophet hears about it, comes to the palace, tells Bathsheba. They both rush in to David, and they say, "You wouldn't believe what your fourth born son is doing. He has proclaimed himself king."
Now, evidently, Solomon had been promised the next kingship. David made a promise-- perhaps to David, perhaps to Bathsheba, perhaps to both-- that Adonijah, but Solomon would be the next king. So he is taken in haste, he is taken down to the Gihon spring, they pour oil on him, they say a prayer, and he is anointed the King of Israel.
That takes us to the death of David, which is seen in chapter 2, and his final instructions to his son, the next king Solomon, third king in the united kingdom. Chapter 2 verse 1, "Now, the days of David drew near that he should die. And he charged Solomon his son saying, I go the way of all the earth. Be strong therefore, and prove yourself a man." Now, stop right there.
There are some men when they hear that phrase "Show that you're a man," it means something different to them than what David means to Solomon. Some people hear that and they puff their chest up. "I'll prove that I'm a man. I'll be tough and rough. I'll blow your house down, man.
I'll fight whoever comes at me. I'll prove that I'm a man." He says, "Prove you're a man," but now he qualifies him. You want to see what a real man is? You want to see true masculinity? Verse 2-- or verse 3. He says, "Prove yourself a man," verse 2, verse 3, "and keep the charge of the Lord. Keep the charge of the Lord your God to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, His testimonies as it is written in the law of Moses. As it is written in the law of Moses that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn."
Do you remember that Kings we're told in the Torah-- so way back in the first five books of Moses, God anticipated Israel is going to have a King. So He said, "When you have a king, make sure that he gets a copy of the law, that he writes it himself, he copies it out and keeps it so he can read what the law is." So David said, "Show you're a man, prove yourself a man. Stay true to the covenant that God has given." Verse 4, "that the Lord may fulfill his word which He spoke concerning me saying, if your sons take heed to their way to walk before me in truth with all their heart and all their soul," he said, "you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel."
That's way back in 2 Samuel chapter 7. That's the covenant God made with David. He says that to Solomon, and then David dies. Verse 12, "Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his kingdom was firmly established." Now, this begins a new reign of a new king. As I said, the third in the line of kings that are unifying the nation for a while. They are kings of a united monarchy.
It's the beginning of a new reign. It sounds promising, it sounds good. And David-- you know, you listen and go, "Wow, that's good advice. That's godly advice." But then the text reveals something else, something weird. Before David dies, he conspires with his son Solomon to take care of political business. And that is to assassinate people who have hounded David that David didn't take care of. But David knew that Solomon would find them such formidable enemies that he in his novice condition would not be able to handle them. So David gives instruction for political housecleaning to strengthen his son's hold on the kingdom.
These were people David could handle, but David knew these probably weren't people Solomon could handle. So he gives instructions, first of all, concerning Joab, who was the commander of his army. But Joab had killed David's nephew Amasa, and he also killed Abner, the commander in chief of Saul's army. So David says, "Deal with him."
And another guy by the name Shimei is mentioned here. He was the guy who when Absalom kicked David out of Jerusalem, Shimei was by the side of the road on the Mount of Olives cursing David, yelling at him. "You creep! Who were you? You're nothing. You're trash." And David did nothing because he saw that as a judgment of God. And to his credit, he just passed it on. Years later, he remembers the guy, and he says, "Solomon, take care of Shimei for me, would you?"
So there's some political housecleaning. Chapter 3, verse 3 is a breath of fresh air, given that. We are told in that chapter and verse Solomon loved the Lord. Now, I don't know exactly what that means, given all that I know about Solomon and even what he's doing here. But it says Solomon loved the Lord. How much he loved the Lord, I don't know, you don't know. The Lord knew his heart. But it was revealed that he loved the Lord. And twice in this section of scripture of 1 Kings, God appears to Solomon and speaks to him verbally.
Chapter 3, verse 5, it's a remarkable promise God gives to him. At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. And God said, "Ask what shall I give you?" Now, how would you like God to do that for you?
He appears to you and he says, "Blank check, baby. You just won the lottery. You fill in the amount. Anything you want, I'll give to you." I am just going to tell you, I'm so glad God did not give me that choice.
That'd be way too much for the Lord himself to make that kind of a promise, "Ask anything you want. It's yours." Carte blanche. I think if the Lord did that to me, I would turn it back on him and say, "Lord, You know what I need better than I know what I need. You give me what You see fit." Like Solomon will even later pray, "Don't make me poor, don't make me rich. Feed me with the food that's enough for me lest I steal. But I don't want to be too rich that I turn my heart from You," which Solomon eventually will do. But that was his prayer at that time nonetheless.
Well, he's at a place called Gibeon not far from Jerusalem. The Lord reveals himself to Solomon. Solomon offers burnt offerings to the Lord. A lot. In fact, 1,000 burnt offerings. This guy was into doing it big. Verse 7, "Now Lord, my God," he prays, "Now, oh Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David. But I am a little child. I do not know how to go out or to come in." That's a Hebrew colloquialism for "I don't have my act together. I don't know how to do this king stuff. I'm not experienced, and I admit it. I lack what it takes."
"And Your servant--" continues in verse 8. "And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart." That's what he asked for. "This is what I want. This is what I want on the check. To Solomon, an understanding heart." An understanding heart. It literally means a hearing heart, a listening heart. And it probably refers to somebody who would listen to the voice of God as well as listen to the voice of the people and gauge what they need most and fulfill that in this covenant.
"Give me a hearing heart, 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?" Solomon is feeling the weight, the leadership weight of his dad's kingdom upon his shoulders. And he realizes, "Look, I need wisdom to know how to handle this and to handle these people and make decisions."
Years ago, there was a slogan "Life is short. Play hard." That was the slogan. "Life is short. Play hard." Solomon's slogan was "I'm in charge. Pray hard." That's how he started. "I'm in charge. Pray hard." And so he prays, and he prays fervently, and he prays with humility. He prayed smart.
Verse 10, "This speech--" that is, what he spoke in prayer to the Lord-- "pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him, because you have asked this thing and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have you asked for riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words. See I have given you a wise and understanding heart so that there has not been anyone like you, before you, nor shall any like you arise after you."
He continues on in verse 13, "But I'm going to give you what you didn't ask for as well. You asked for the right thing. I'm going to do that. Good on you. But I'm also going to give you what you didn't ask for, and that is both riches and honor."
Now, chapter 4, in verse 29, it says, "And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding--" now watch this-- "and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore." In other words, God gave him a vast breadth of understanding, an unusual amount of understanding and wisdom.
So Solomon ruled with both his head and his heart, largeness of heart. You know, if you just rule with your head, if you've got all brains but no heart-- the Bible says knowledge puffs up. Love builds up. It edifies. A balanced person has both brains and heart. Paul said, "If I have all knowledge, but I have not love, I am nothing."
I've always loved that phrase. It's not a theological story, but The Grinch That Stole Christmas. I know it's not in the Bible.
But I like that little phrase when it says, "And they say in Whoville that day that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day." I like the idea of somebody who has a small heart, his heart growing larger as he begins to love and care for people and have compassion on them. God answered his prayer in a beautiful way.
So Solomon begins by building the temple to God, restructuring the city of Jerusalem, building roadways and public buildings. And get this. Go down to verse 32 of chapter 4. It says, "He spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005." Now get this. As an artist in the studio, he was even more prolific than King David, his father. That's how creative he was. He becomes the author of the book of Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, the book of the Song of Solomon, several books.
Now chapters 5 through 10 explore Solomon's splendor as king. The building of the temple. You remember, David, his dad, drew up plans for the temple. God wouldn't let him do it because he was a man of blood, acquainted with the battlefield. God didn't want a man of war building his temple. God didn't even really want a temple. He said, "I'm happy in a tent, but you're not building me a temple. I'll let your son Solomon do that." So he does.
Solomon establishes a relationship with one of his dad's buddies up in Lebanon, guy by the name of Hiram, the king of Tyre. Lebanon is where the cedars of Lebanon grew. There is a few groves of them still in existence. But it was populated on the mountains of Lebanon. So he took the cedars of Lebanon and men from Lebanon as part of Solomon's workforce to bring them down to the port of Israel, ship them up to the temple area to be used in part of the temple structure.
So Solomon paid Hiram 130,000 bushels of wheat a year and 120 gallons of oil per year. How many workers? Well, look at chapter 5, verse 13. "Then King Solomon raised up a labor force out of all of Israel. And the labor force was 30,000 men." 30,000 men. We're not done yet. "And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in shifts." They were there one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the labor force.
"Solomon had 70,000 who carried burdens and 80,000 who quarried stone in the mountains." Not done yet. Verse 16, "besides 3,300 from the chiefs of Solomon's deputies who supervised the people who labored in the work." So 183,300 men were employed as the workforce by Solomon to build the temple in Jerusalem.
And what a great shift. You're on one month, you get two months off. You work one month, you get two months off. So that's the cycle. So it must've been hard work if you need two months off to recuperate.
So that's how he rolled. That's how he did it. Verse 17, "And the King commanded them to quality large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones to lay the foundation of the temple."
Now, let's remark on the temple for a moment. The temple represents the very pinnacle, the very zenith, the very top of Solomon's reign and Solomon's glory. And the temple is considered at the very heart of Judaism. Today, if you go to Israel, there is a little mountain Jerusalem that is called the Temple Mount. Traditionally, where the temple stood, where they believe the temple stood.
But there are sayings about Jerusalem, about Israel, and about the temple in the Jewish commentaries from the Old Testament times. For instance, in a commentary that is known as the Midrash, the Jewish Midrash, it says this. The land of Israel is at the center of the world, Jerusalem is at the center of the land of Israel, and the temple is at the center of Jerusalem. That's a poetic way of saying the navel of the earth, the center of the Earth, the center of the world is the temple in Jerusalem. That's why it's awfully exciting to be able to stand and look at and walk on the Temple Mount and think of all that happened on that mount throughout history.
Well, something about the temple, Solomon's temple. Solomon's temple follows the direction of a previous building that housed the Ark of the Covenant. What was it called? Anybody? Tabernacle. Tabernacle was not made out of stone, it was made out of what? Cloth. Cloth and skins, right? It was a temporary, portable structure.
The temple follows the dimensions of the tabernacle times two. So follow me here. There's an outer court, but once you get to the tabernacle proper, the tent proper, there's a tent in the middle of this court. The tent that comprises the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, if you remember, was 15 feet wide and 45 feet deep divided into two. Holy Place, Holy of Holies.
The temple is double that. It's 30 feet wide and 90 feet deep. The only variation is the height. The height of the tabernacle was 15 feet. The height of the temple was 45 feet, so times 3 in height only. Other than that, it was doubled from the tabernacle.
So you have a building that the temple-- 2,700 square feet. Not large. Later on, Herod's temple during New Testament, a much larger, humongous. Solomon's temple though was quite small. 2,000 or 2,700 square feet.
However, it was quite expensive. It has been estimated that if you add up the materials of hewn limestone, cedar from Lebanon, gold, silver, that that little 2,700 square foot structure is $11 million. $11 million. Now, some of your homes are 2,700 square feet. Some of your homes are bigger than that. But they're not worth $11 million. So this is a structure that has a price tag of $4,000 per square foot.
Now, it took Solomon 7 and 1/2 years to build God's temple. But get this. You couldn't hear the sound of a hammer or chisel at the temple site. Solomon gave instructions to bring hewn stones ready to be placed so that at the temple itself, you wouldn't hear the construction noises of hammering and banging.
Now, in the 1800s, there was a couple archaeologists poking around a place in Jerusalem known as the Damascus Gate. How many of you here have been to Israel? Raise your hand. So there's a lot of you. That's great. So you remember the Damascus Gate? Remember where that's at? Remember it's where all the-- like you're going to Golgotha, Calvary, and there's just lots of pilgrims. It's where the biggest police force is around today.
So the Damascus Gate. He was poking around there. And he found a tunnel that emptied into this large cavern. And they believe they found underneath that, Solomon's quarries, which several of our groups have visited. Solomon's quarries where they would take the limestone, cut it there, and then finish it and bring it to the temple. So when you go in there, you start seeing how they cut the stone.
Want to know how they cut the stone? They drilled holes in limestone by hand. They drilled holes, long deep holes. And then they put a hole every few inches along a line, and then more holes along another line, more holes along a parallel line. And then they would put wood in those holes, stuff it full of wood. Then they would pour water in intervals in a certain sequence in the holes filled with wood.
Now, what does would do when water gets to it? It expands. So they could crack the stones exactly how they wanted to, take the stone out, finish it off with a hammer and chisel in that little quarry, and then bring it up to the Temple, and in just slide it into place. So next time you're there, remind me, and I'll show you where that is.
Well, the temple is done by the time we get to chapter 7, verse 51. It says, "So all the work that King Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated. The silver, and the gold, and the furnishings. And he put them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord." And the next few chapters, it talks about bringing the Ark of the Covenant in. Talks about the cloud of the Lord or the Shekinah glory of God descending on the temple in that first day of worship. Solomon speaking to the people, Solomon praying to God.
Now, we're going to skip all the details, but I want to bring something else up since I mentioned the price of the temple a moment ago. That's just the 2,700 square foot room. If you were to take the temple courts along with that 2,700 square foot temple room, add up also the silver, the gold, the brass, the brass pillars that were in the courts, the silk vestments of the priests, the purple vestments that they wore, the vestments of the singers, the wage for the singers, the musical instruments for worship, all the materials and the labor would cost-- the project today would cost-- and I checked in on a couple of different sources who gave this estimate-- $140,381,000,000. An enormous price tag for a building.
When God said before, "I don't even care about a fancy building. I'm happy in a tent. You guys want the building," right? Fast forward to the New Testament when Stephen stands before a Jewish audience, and he says, "Let me just remind you, gentlemen, that the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands." God doesn't dwell in places, God dwells in people. It's about people more than places, especially in the New Testament because in the New Testament, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul said, "You are the building of God. You are God's workman." The emphasis shifts from the Old Testament focus of tabernacle and temple to the New Testament focus of people.
Chapter 9, God appears to Solomon a second time. And here the Lord says, "Hey, Saul, I heard your prayer. It was good. It's awesome. I agree with it. When you dedicated the temple, I was there, of course. I'm going to keep my end of the bargain. I want you to keep my statutes and my laws. And I want your sons to do the same."
Now, God appears to him and tells them that, but also gives him a warning. Now, why is this significant? God has never given him a warning until now. In verse 6, "But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me and do not keep My commandments and My statutes, which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them. And this house which I have consecrated for My people for My name, I will cast out of my sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all the people."
God gives Solomon a warning the second time He appears to him. Solomon is established, Solomon grows in strength, he grows in riches, he grows in kingdom, property. And that is when a person is most vulnerable. A person needs to be warned when they arise to the place where life is good, life is easy. The winds are on our side. This is favorable. This is nice. We're prosperous. We finally arrived at this plateau. That's when you need to watch it. That's when you need to be warned because you are most vulnerable.
I want to just have you glance at a phrase down in verse 10. It says, "Now, it happened at the end of 20 years--" this is Solomon's midlife. And from what we know about Solomon, he's going through-- or will go through a midlife crisis of identity. He's going to write a book, Ecclesiastes. "It's all vain. It's all vanity. I can't figure out the meaning and the purpose of life." And he goes from that to eventually forsaking the Lord.
So he goes up to this incredible pinnacle, and then life's good, it's stable. And after a period of time after that midlife wind at his back moment is the slide downward. Hence the warning from God. Now, just keep that in mind by the time we get to chapter 11, which we're soon to do.
Chapter 10, to sort of add to the flavor of Solomon's incredible reign, people hear about him. Rulers hear about him. Solomon's diplomacy, he's growing in that area, interacting with other world leaders. And one of them from down south in Arabia-- Sheba, to be exact-- a queen, the Queen of Sheba hears about Solomon. Chapter 10, verse 1, "When the Queen of Sheba heard the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions." The word means riddles, puzzles, conundrums. Hey, figure this one out. Wow, that was pretty good. Now what about this?
"So Solomon answered--" notice this-- "all her questions. There was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her." Solomon poured forth wisdom, just dripped off of his lips. I'd love to have a Solomon around. There's some questions I wish I could ask Solomon. Don't you? Do you ever have these questions about why is that? Why is it, for instance, that if 7-Eleven is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on their doors?
Solomon maybe could answer that question for me. I can't figure that one out. They're never closed. Why have a lock? Why do dogs hate it when you blow in their face, but when you put them in a car, they want to put their head out the window?
Solomon, please, give me some wisdom. This is one of life's riddles. So Solomon is growing, and his fame is spreading. Verse 6, "Then she said to the king, it was a true report which I heard from my own land about your words and your wisdom. However," she continues, "I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes. And indeed, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard."
So now at this point, Solomon's kingdom is vast. It stretches from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the Euphrates River on the east. His kingdom goes from Arabia down south to Lebanon up north. An enormous piece of real estate and the largest physical boundaries that Israel in history ever enjoyed was under the reign of David, but more so under the reign of Solomon.
Jesus refers to Solomon and refers to Solomon's glory. But interestingly, Jesus refers to Solomon in a negative way saying, "Even Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed like one of these flowers." Even all of that physical accomplishment of Solomon doesn't compare to a simple flower made by God. So He speaks of Solomon, but He speaks of him in a negative way.
Solomon has a problem. Let's just bring that out now. You'll see it. It'll get worse. He has a management problem. He is a tax and spend politician. He taxes the people immensely, and he spends their money profusely. And he is oppressive. And he is so bad that the people feel the weight, and they cry out, and they're complaining. You won't hear about it till we get to his son by the name of Rehoboam. Rehoboam makes Solomon even look tame because he turns up the taxation.
So before we get into that and we see the divided kingdom, which we're just going to touch for a few moments on, there's something that grabs our attention, a number that is mentioned. That is Solomon's wage. And I'm drawing your attention to it because it's the only time it's mentioned-- this number-- outside of the very famous passage that we all know of, the Book of Revelation chapter 13. I want you to see in our text chapter 10, verse 14. Still speaking of Solomon's splendor. And that is his wage, his annual wage. Chapter 10, verse 14, "The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was 666 talents of gold."
Now, if we did not have revelation 13 and the number 666, we probably would pay no attention. But the fact that this is the only other use of that number in scripture-- it's mentioned twice besides Revelation 13, and it's in conjunction with his wage in two different sources. This is one of them is with what Solomon got annually.
Now, why is that noteworthy? Because Solomon was the one responsible for plunging the nation into idolatry. His heart is divided because of his wives. He starts worshipping other gods. He starts building and institutionalizing idolatry in mass for the southern kingdom of Judah. So this king, the third king, introduces idolatry into the nation. And I don't think it's a stretch to say that if David is a type of Christ, which he is and talked about in scripture, that Solomon could be seen as a type of Antichrist. 666, the number of man, the perfect man, the ideal man, the successful man, Solomon.
Well, Solomon was told to keep by his bedside a copy of the law, right? Which he copied. One of those passages in the law, in the Torah, was Deuteronomy chapter 17, in which God said-- see if it can be any clearer than this-- when a king comes and sits on the throne of Israel, he is not to multiply horses to himself. We have Solomon's stables all over the land of Israel. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of horses he kept. So he's not to multiply horses unto himself. He's not to multiply wives to himself. Did Solomon break that one?
Like 1,000 times over. And he is not to greatly multiply silver and gold to himself. He gets 666 talents a year. Every law God put in the books for kings, Solomon broke. And he did so flagrantly. And it all goes back to David's home life. You can't erase that, you can't forget that. It all goes back to David and the house that Solomon grew up in.
Well, we come to chapter 11, and here's what you need to know about this chapter. It is the hinge, it's the door. The whole book is like a door that hangs on the hinges of chapter 11. The first 11 chapters last 40 years, the second 11 chapters last 80 years. In the first 11 chapters, the kingdom is united and strong, and the second 11 chapters, the kingdom is divided and weak. In the first 11 chapters, there is a single king, one man in the spotlight, Solomon. In the second or last 11 chapters, there's a lot of kings, several kings, and civil war. Chapter 11 is that hinge.
Chapter 11 verse 1, "But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites, termites, all of them.
"From the nation of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, you shall not intermarry with them, nor shall they with you. Surely, they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. It's not that he just had them. His heart was moved by them. And it's good to love your wife, but love 1,000 of them? Talk about a divided heart, especially when those wives are worshipping false gods, false goddesses, false religious system. And that begins to seep its way into the marriage relationship, into the home. Verse 3 tells you that story. "And he had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart." And David becomes consumed, consumed with himself.
Here's what's odd. God used him to write scripture. He's the wisest guy ever on earth. He takes enigmas and puzzles and answers them. He writes the book of Proverbs, which is a manual on raising children and living with integrity. And he wrote it, and it's scripture. But where he failed is to follow what he said he believed, follow what he actually wrote down. That's the irony of it. Dude, you wrote that stuff, and you're living that way?
Years ago in the Associated Press, I read an interesting story about a man named Luke Goodrich in San Jose, California, who was taking his trash to his backyard and just was burning his trash at home. Against the law in San Jose, California. But he did it, the fire got out of hand. He started burning more than the trash in the backyard, sort of burning the backyard. He was out toward the country. It burned 100 acres of land, this fire did that Luke Goodrich started. 100 acres of land. Took 16 or 17 helicopters, 400 firefighters to put out this fire. That's a massive fire, right? Here's the ironic thing. Luke Goodrich was the captain of the San Jose fire department.
Of all the people that live in San Jose, California, there's one dude who should not be guilty of that. And that is Luke Goodrich. In all of Israel, there's one dude who should not be guilty of this. And that is King Solomon. And he is the guy doing it. He is the man.
So chapter 12 through 22, the last 11 chapters is a cacophony of confusion. It's a divided kingdom. First 11, a united kingdom, reign of Solomon, this half, a divided kingdom, the reign of several. Chapter 12 tells you why. There are two men at odds with each other, and the two men take two parts of the kingdom.
Man number one, Solomon's son by the name of Rehoboam. Not related to guy number two called Jeroboam. They're not related. Their last name isn't Boam. It's not the Boam boys.
Unrelated. One is son of Solomon. The other is son of Nebat. He happened to work for Solomon, was on Solomon's staff for a while. While acting like his dad, Rehoboam-- boy number one-- is driven by greed, has a lust for power. He's now the King. Solomon is gone. He's in charge.
So to establish his reign, what does he do? What should he do? What's the first thing he should have done? He should've prayed. That's what Solomon did. At least he started well. He prayed. He didn't talk to God, he didn't seek God's wisdom.
He does seek the advice of two groups, the older group of guys who were Solomon's advisors. "What should I do?" They say, "I'll take what you do. Ease up on the taxation. You're killing these people. Your dad made life miserable. Be nice to these people. Be compassionate. Give them back some of their money. Don't tax them so much. Reduce the size of government."
He asked boys his own age "What should I do?" And they say, "Are you kidding? You're in charge. Get more money than your dad did." So who do you think he listened to? His buddies.
Chapter 12, verse 14, "And he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men saying--" this is what he's saying now to the people and to Jeroboam and all the others who want the taxation to end. He says, "My father made your yolk heavy. But I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips. I will chastise you with scourges."
"So the king did not listen to the people, for the turn of events was from the Lord that he might fulfill his word which the Lord had spoken by Ahija the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Now, when all Israel saw that the King did not listen to them, the people answered the King saying, what share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O, Israel. Now see to your own house, O, David. So Israel departed to their tents, but Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel, who dwelt in the cities of Judah."
Now the kingdom splits. The kingdom splits north and south. So here's the key to understanding this. The rest of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, there are two different groups. One is called Israel, and that refers to 10 northern tribes. The second is called Judah, and though they are Israelites, they're not called Israel. Judah is the two southern tribes, which is Judah and Benjamin. Just those two southern tribes that house the temple.
So now it's split north and south, Israel and Judah, 10 against two. The kingdom is not united anymore. Now it's split. Now you've got a separate king in the north, separate king in the south, and a lineage of those kings that the rest of 1 Kings and 2 Kings tells you about. A split has occurred, north and south.
Now, Jeroboam, head of the north, is smart enough to know that the emotional center of all Jews is the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon built it. It's a part of the worship system, goes back to the tabernacle. So what he does, ingeniously-- it's wrong, but he was ingenious-- is he sets up a calf and a temple of sorts in the center of the nation, which is the southern part of the northern kingdom, Samaria, and way, way up north in a place called Dan, D-A-N. So he sets up two worship centers, two temples for the people to gravitate toward and worship so they don't have to go down south.
Now, the rest of the book, chapter 13 to 22 shows parallel accounts, confusing parallel accounts of northern kings and southern kings. It is a chaotic period because you're following two sets of kings. Both of those sets of kings are evaluated. You want to know what the criterion of how God evaluates them? He evaluates them number one, do they worship the God of Israel alone, or do they worship God and bring other gods and goddesses into it? That's criteria number one.
Number two, do they get rid of idolatry in the nation, or do they tolerate it? Don't do anything, just let it go. And number three, are they faithful to the covenant like David was? And that's why David is this gold standard. Everybody will be compared to David. He followed God like David, his father. He didn't follow God like David, who was loyal to God. So he's compared to David and his loyalty to the covenant.
The king's up north that are mentioned-- I'm just going to mention them. There are eight of them in the rest of this book. About 20 altogether, but that'll be 2 Kings. So the eight kings mentioned here are Jeroboam up north, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah. Eight kings are listed. None of them, zero of them, not a stinking one is good. All of them are bad. All of them are condemned. All of them lowered the bar, bringing the nation of Israel and the north further and further into idolatry. All eight.
Judah's kings mentioned in the rest of the book are four of them. They are Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, and Jehoshaphat Four kings. Only two of the four do what it says here. They did right in the eyes of the Lord. And that is King Asa in chapter 15 and King Jehoshaphat the very last chapter of chapter 22.
Now, one of the worst kings of all is a northern king by the name of Ahab. You've heard his name, yes? Ahab married a girl by the name of-- anybody know? Jezebel. Wicked gal. Ahab and Jezebel, the terrible twins. They introduce Baal worship-- Canaanite worship, Babylonian worship into and institutionalize it in Israel.
So Ahab's a problem because he's the worst of all of them up to this point. So God raises up a special prophet for a special problem. I want to introduce you to him. Chapter 17, verse 1, "And Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead said to Ahab, as the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years except at my word."
So this prophet, crazy looking dude, like a John the Baptist, commands the rain to stop and a famine, a drought and a famine spread over the land. Now, chapter 18, it says, "It came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year saying, go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth." So chapter 17 now through 22 shows this relationship of conflict between the king Ahab and the prophet Elijah. So you have a man of the flesh and a man of the spirit. You have a man of the world, Ahab, and a man of God, Elijah. Let the games begin.
Chapter 18, verse 17, "Then it happened when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahah said to him, is that you, O, troubler of Israel?" You see, this worldly king saw God's prophet as a troublemaker, as his enemy, when in reality, he himself, the king Ahab, was his own worst enemy. And the cure was Elijah. "Is that you, O, troubler of Israel?" I love his response. "And he answered, I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baal's."
Now, who is Baal? Baal was a fertility god. He sent rain, he caused storms, he brought fertility to the land, he controlled the forces of nature. 3 and 1/2 years of famine-- remember he stopped the rain? 3 and 1/2 years of famine was an embarrassment to any worshipper of Baal because Baal controlled that. And they're praying to Baal and worshipping Baal and sacrificing to Baal for 3 and 1/2 years, nothing comes of it. So Baal is not answering their fertility prayers. There's a famine in the land. So it's a great embarrassment.
And so Elijah says, "Let's have a contest, a chance for you to vindicate your awesome God. So let's have a battle of the gods. It's like (SINGING) my God's better than your god. And so they have a contest.
Now, just a note about this. 1 Kings introduces this role, but 1 and 2 Kings develop a very special role now in ancient Israel, and that is the role of a prophet. A prophet is somebody who speaks on behalf of God and plays the role of a covenant watch dog. A covenant watch dog. A prophet comes along and calls people out on their idolatry and calls people out on injustice, speaking for God to the nation, in this case, to the leadership of the nation. So it's Elijah in 1 Kings, and it will be Elisha, the successor of Elijah, in 2 Kings.
If you'll go down to verse 25 of chapter 18-- we loved to read this when we stand on Mount Carmel where this took place our first day of touring in the land of Israel. "Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, choose one bull for yourself and prepare it first, for you are many, and call on the name of your God. But put no fire under it." Don't burn anything, don't light it up. Just put the wood-- put everything ready for the sacrifice. "So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and they called on Baal from morning till noon--" three to four hour prayer meeting-- "saying, oh, Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, no one answered. And so they leaped about the altar which they had made." Now they're getting all charismatic and crazy and bouncing around, "Woo! Hallelujah." But nothing's happening.
Verse 27, "So it was at noon that Elijah mocked them." I love Elijah. He's a man after my own scheming heart.
So at noon, Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry louder. Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is meditating, or he is busy." Now, that's a very polite translation. The New Living Translation comes close to what the original really is, and that is, "Either he is meditating, or he is relieving himself."
Now, that's a mockery. "Your god can't hear you because he's probably on the toilet."
I'm not making that up. He's relieving himself. Or maybe he's on a journey. You know, you got to really call out because he's walking somewhere far away. Or perhaps he's sleeping, and you got to wake him up. "So they cried aloud and cut themselves as was their custom with knives and lances until blood gushed out on them."
"Stand aside, boys," Elijah says. Walks up, utters two verses, 63 words, fire falls from heaven, consumes the sacrifice. All because they're praying to somebody who does not exist. There is no Baal. There is no such god. False gods are not gods. They don't exist. You can talk to them all day long, nothing happens. Elijah knew that. He talked to the right God. His prayer was heartfelt, fervent.
Contest is over. You think, "Great. Elijah is just so stoked. He's on cloud nine." Well, evidently, he's burned out. It's taken an enormous toll on him emotionally and physically. So chapter 19, Ahab dies. His wife Jezebel threatens Elijah. You would think Elijah after the prophets Baal thing, fire coming down from heaven, he says, "Woman, you want to fight me, really?
I'll have fire down come down from heaven and consume you if you'd like that."
But he doesn't do that. He runs away from her way down in the Sinai desert. And he goes under a tree and he goes, "God, kill me. Kill me." Really? One woman threatens you and you run away? But you can call fire down from heaven, boy! He's suicidal. He's seen victory, but he's at the end of his rope. He's drained. So he goes, "Lord, it's enough. Take my life." Basically God says, "Cheer up, boy. I got plenty where you came from. You're not the only true prophet. I've got a lot more prophets like you. Get going." And He encourages him, and He does.
But I just want to quickly, as I'm bringing this to a close, say that Elijah appears in the New Testament. He shows up in the New Testament. I believe twice. One I know about because we are told that Jesus was transfigured on a mountain in Galilee with two people. Who were they? Moses and Elijah. They were talking about things related to the kingdom. Moses represented the law, Elijah represented the prophets. And they're hanging out with Jesus talking to Him.
So Elijah shows up talking to Jesus. And I believe-- my personal opinion-- he shows up again with Moses in Revelation chapter 11 as one of the two witnesses in the last days. Because of the signs that chapter 11 describes that those two men produce, they sound so much like Moses and Elijah. My opinion.
Now, I want to close the book by showing you a contrast really quickly between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Solomon's prayer. Remember that? We mentioned that back in chapter 8. This is what he says. Listen to what he says. Solomon is praying to God. Temple is built. He's thinking of the future. And he says, "When anyone sins against his neighbor and is forced to take an oath and comes and takes an oath before your altar in this temple, then hear in heaven and act and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, and bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness." That's the prayer of Solomon. "Lord, condemn the wicked, and acquit or justify the righteous."
Fast forward, fast forward, fast forward. Jesus comes on the scene. It's a whole different way of dealing with people. Now suddenly, instead of God condemning the wicked and justifying the righteous, we discover "there is none righteous, no, not one." The only people God has left are wicked people. All of us are sinners. And we discover that God justifies the wicked.
Solomon says, "Condemn the wicked. Justify the righteous." Come to the New Testament. Ain't nobody righteous. There's just a lot of wicked people. But the gospel shows that God acquits those who are wicked. Roman chapter 4, verse 5, "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
So different, Old Testament, New Testament. Jesus comes and says, "You're wicked? I'll justify you. It'll be just as if you've never sinned if you just trust me. Just believe in me. Just put your faith in me."
So Solomon the politician. Politicians didn't create the chaos. Satan did. Politicians helped a bit, but Satan is the culprit. But Jesus came into the chaos of the cosmos with the cross. And the cross made it possible for God not just to justify the righteous, because there are none, and not to condemn the wicked, but to justify the wicked because of their faith in Jesus. That's good news.
Father, how thankful we are as we consider the Old Testament, the old covenant, the old standard, we compare it with the new. We are just so grateful that the old is gone, the new has come. That Jesus, the only perfect person who ever lived, came and took our punishment, dying for our sins. And when we say, "Lord, receive me, Lord forgive me," that you justify the wicked and the ungodly. And while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.
Thank you for the new. Thank you for the gospel. Thank you for the Savior.
Lord, last week, we saw so many people put their faith in Jesus at this Wednesday night service. Thank you for them. Strengthen them. Grow them up in the faith.
Father, as we close tonight, we're just wondering if perhaps there aren't more that since their life isn't what it ought to be, they've turned from you. Some know they have. Some have just sort of slipped away over time. They're not following you. Their life isn't pleasing to you. They know that. They're aware of it. They just don't want to keep it that way. They want things to change. They wonder could it ever really change?
And as we peer at the Old Testament, but we think of the New, the answer is of course, there is. Jesus could do for you what you could never do for yourself. "There is none righteous, no, not one." No matter how good you might think you are, or life you have lived according to a church's standard, or a society's standard, or a family's standard, we all fall short of the glory of God. The only hope for any of us, king or pauper, is the cross.
And if you have not committed yourself to Christ, now's the chance and the time to do that as we close this service. Or if you've wandered away, walked away from Him, you need to come back to Him. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. If you want to do that tonight, right now, if you want to give your life to Jesus, know that you're forgiven. Know what it's like to be a child of God made just by an act of your faith in what He has done for you, not what you could ever do for Him. You just come as you are. You just come as you are, admit that you need Him, and He will save you if you allow Him to do that.
If you want that, then I want you to raise your hand up in the air. God bless you. Anybody else? Raise your hand up so I can see it. I'll acknowledge you, we'll pray for you as we close this service. I want to know who I'm praying for. Raise your-- God bless you in the back. Anybody else? Raise that hand up?
Right where you're seated, just say this to the Lord, those of you did that. "Lord, I give you my life. I know I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I trust Jesus. I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as Savior. I want to follow him as Lord. Help me. I believe Jesus came and He died on a cross. I believe He rose from the dead. And I believe He did it for me. And I personally receive him as Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, amen."
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Keitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible from 30,000 Feet.