Christ on Every Page

A kingdom divided

1 Kings 9, 10, 11, 12

"If"

Monday: 1 Kings 9


What a golden age Solomon enjoyed. His completion of the temple and the pious dedication of it directed the hearts of the people toward the temple for every remedy.  What follows is a second encounter with the Lord. God had previously appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask!” 


Now He appears to Solomon and says, “If”

 

If you walk before me…then I will establish…” 

 

If you or your sons turn from me…I will cut off…” 

 

At this midpoint in Solomon’s ministry, there is a “Check Point Charlie”.  This a stopping moment to gravely consider the blessing of yesterday and unfinished tomorrow. 

 

When a great task has been completed, there is still something greater at stake: continuance!   


We all must finish well. It was Solomon’s smallness that had cast him so needfully upon the Lord to plead for wisdom. Now, with God-aided success under his belt, how easy it would be to lose the desperate humility of his starting place.  Neither Solomon, nor you, nor I should ever think we “have arrived”.

 

Paul out-paced us all.  Yet, after leaving church upon church in city after city in the known world, he still considered himself as a man with a destination still well before him.


“Not that I have already obtained this…but I press on to know Christ…”  


Paul stayed hungry for Christ to the moment of his departure.   The place called False Arrival was not found on his life map.  He yearned to go on with the Lord—and he did. 

 

See Christ here:  Jesus spoke of the blessedness of abject spiritual poverty.  


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3, NKJV)  


It is only the poor soul that sees his need of God.  Solomon begged for wisdom when he was given a blank check in prayer. He knew he didn’t have the substance to lead God’s ancient people.  


“We are weaker than we can comprehend.” Thomas A. Kempis  


Indeed, and spiritually poorer than we know. 


Think of all who came to Christ in the Gospels. Each and everyone had a soul more empty than a beggar’s tin cup.   Yet each one left with more than they needed. How blessed are the poor in spirit!  If we would go on with the Lord, let us never forget: we need God all the time. 

A Seeking Queen

Tuesday: 1 Kings 10


The Queen of the South has heard of Solomon’s remarkable testimony in the Name of the Lord.  She had to see with her own eyes what her royal ears had heard. In his presence she was not disappointed. 


 “The half has not been told to me.” 


A greater realization overwhelmed her most hopeful imagination.  See the spirit of hunger in the heart of this queen.  Hear Christ here: 


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NKJV) 

 

When she spoke to him “with all that was in her heart”,  Solomon answered all of her questions. 

 

See Christ here: He answers every question of the human soul: “Who am I?”  “Where did I come from?”  “Where am I going?”   And the most important question of all, “How can I be saved?”  All of these questions are answered in Christ who is the “wisdom of God” in person. 

 

but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24, NKJV) 

 

Jesus met with many who did not have the spirit of hunger that the Queen of Sheba had.  They asked for miracles and signs but they had already made up their own mind hold him in contempt.  


Jesus responded to the sign seekers: 

 

But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:39–42, NKJV) 

 

Friends, we must recognize the time of the Lord’s visitation with us. Those before Christ, came to Christ, as the Queen of Sheba did, though he was veiled in Solomon’s robe.  Some saw Christ, face to face, in the day of his visitation and respected him not, though he was perfectly unveiled.  In our generation, we have seen Him with something greater than our two eyes.  We have seen him fully revealed and explained with all the force and illumination of the entire scripture, yet by so many in this generation, He is esteemed not. 

Solomon's Deterioration

Wednesday: 1 Kings 11

 

“But Solomon loved many foreign women…”  

 

The conjunction “but”is a small word but it foreshadows a great undoing and contrast to what Solomon’s soul once was.    Solomon was once unmatched in wisdom but now he turns to foolishness.  He once had a fiery heart of devotion but now there are only ashes. He once had the luster of blessing that drew a Queen. But now he has  only shame that the most common men shake their heads at. 

 

Solomon had accomplished much when he was small and needy in his own eyes. The Lord gives grace to the humble.  He found generous aid and the Lord’s delight when he was low. Now high on the updraft of success, he is brought low.  We remember God’s good checkpoint with him at the middle point: 

 

“If…”   

 

We must beware of the danger of prosperity.  When things are going well, we face greater spiritual danger than when our lives seem upset and blown apart.  Comfort can blunt your spiritual edge and complacency might be more dangerous than the devil's arrows.

 

Many, under the blessing of God, have forgotten the God who blessed them.  Solomon forgot where he came from. He forgot who answered him in his greatest need. He forgot who saved him.  No doubt, it happened slowly and over time.  Small turns and tiny compromises led to bigger ones. 

 

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings,  without milestones, without signposts.” 

C.S. Lewis

 

See Christ here:  He wonderfully healed a desperate man who had been lame for thirty-eight years.  What a difference in this man’s life to be able to stand upright. Isn’t this rehabilitated man now able to have access to more gainful employment and prosperity?  Did these improvements establish him in repentance and gratitude? The short answer is “no”.   


Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”” (John 5:14, NKJV)

 

Ten lepers were healed and only one returned to give thanks.  Christ extols the gratitude of this singular man.  Friends, gratitude will put pride to flight while prosperity may put us to sleep.  Remember to give thanks to Christ and keep love for Him alive in your heart.   

Solomon's Disloyalty

Thursday: Re-read 1 Kings 11:1-13


For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lordhis God, as was the heart of his father David.” (1 Kings 11:4, NKJV) 

 

The Bible shows us that Solomon’s undoing happened slowly and over time. The Lord had warned him about intermarrying with foreign women. As he went down this road, it is most likely that there were no great alarms going off or unfavorable consequences.  One woman, led to another and still another, and then another. Sin is never satisfied. No doubt a little pagan shrine was allowed here and there. Soon Solomon is building them for his wives.  The devil is patient.  Small turns and tiny compromises always lead to bigger ones. 

 

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” 

C.S. Lewis

 

Samson lost it all by degrees too.  He played with a devil and lost. First it was a game with Delilah about the secret of his strength and what would make him weak.  Next it is bowstrings, then new ropes, after that, hair in a loom and then he gives up the truth.  He loses all by losing a little at a time. 

 

Solomon, riding high with wisdom, once wrote: 

 

A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;” (Ecclesiastes 7:1, NKJV) 

 

There is more to be learned from our death date than our birthday.  In the end, our life is an open book for all to read.  Solomon’s father David ended well with full devotion to the Lord.   

 

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lordhis God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:4, ESV) 

 

It isn’t your beginning that defines you but rather your ending.  Sadly, Solomon’s ending defines him as disloyal.

 

See Christ here:  Jesus loved the father until his last breath.  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” There was no trifle the world could offer, no royal position man could promise and no wilderness temptation the devil could give.  Love of his own life would not shrink him back from death.  Jesus loved His father to the end.  What hope do we have to stay true? A hope in Christ’s keeping power sustains us.  

 

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24–25, NKJV) 

The Kingdom is divided

Friday: 1 Kings 11:14-23


When Solomon stayed close to the Lord there was no enemy that could undo him.  There would be nothing that could upset his kingdom or be an annoyance. But Solomon was now on the wrong side of the Lord.  Two adversaries appear on the scene; both from back in David’s day.  They come back to the land to annoy him. When you are on God’s side, Goliath isn’t big enough to hurt you. When you aren’t on God’s side, even little gnats will be your biggest trouble.  

 

Jeroboam won favor with Solomon because of his work ethic.  Solomon promotes him but Jeroboam will turn out to be snake in the wall. “He rebelled against the king.” 

This is the Lord’s doing. Jeroboam wasn’t a better man. He was ambitious to be sure. But as the Lord used lesser, even wicked, nations to discipline his people, so He did with Solomon. The prophet tears a new garment into twelve pieces, each representing a tribe in Israel. Jeroboam will take ten. Solomon, for David’s sake, will retain two: Judah and Benjamin.      

 

See Christ here: The house of David must, in spite of everything be kept intact, because out of it was to come the Messiah.  (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),” (1 Kings 11:32, NKJV)  As it was spared on account of the promise to David, so all God’s favors shown to us are for Christ’s sake and the covenant made with Him.