Lessons From The Lives Of Kings
September 29, 1996
Scripture: 1Kings 11-15
Another lesson from the Peter Lowe Success 96 Seminar as per comedian, Larry King, “Got anybody you don’t like?” His story about his invitation to speak at a Mafia sponsored charity drive and the subsequent, “We owe you a favor.” Another one of those things that comes around and hits you later with a lesson of truth.
Today we have a number of other lessons we can learn from the lives of kings - other men who are also kings in name only. They are the kings in the Old Testament who either succeeded or failed depending on their faith in God. We will continue on from the life of Solomon, the king to whom God gave the immense gift of wisdom, but wrestled with the worldly wealth this gift gave him. Solomon was the wisest man in all the earth to whom all other kings came and marveled to hear the wisdom God put in his heart, and yet his heart was distracted from God because of his wisdom. He finally discovered the truth of all wisdom when he wrote, at the end of his life in Eccl. 12:13-14 that the purpose of man is to fear (love, honor, and obey) God and keep His commandments because God will judge every deed, even hidden thing, according to His standards of good and evil.
Here is Solomon who had an opportunity unparalleled as yet upon the earth to turn the hearts of other kings to God through what God had given him. And yet because of what God had given him, his own heart was divided and compromised, and so was his message. How much more so our own message in the richest country the earth has ever seen and among the richest churches the earth has ever seen. Might our own hearts be divided and compromised by the very blessings that God has poured out upon us? We have inherited these riches! What shall we do to honor God with all those that He has brought to America, even Chicago, even Mayfair, who have come to witness the wonder of God’s blessing upon us. Shall we spend our wealth to turn them to God, acknowledging that God is the source of our wealth, and seeking to honor Him with all He has given us? I am not saying we are not, but we must continually search our hearts to see if we are channeling all things back to God.
Since Solomon did not do this wholeheartedly (as his father, David), God brought judgment upon him and set adversaries in place to carry it out.
I. Solomon, King of all Israel (40 years).
A. God judges sin.
1Kings 11:9 ¶ The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.
10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD's command.
11 So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."
Sin has a trickle effect.
Unto the third and fourth generation (Ex. 20:5-6).
And yet each man is responsible for his own sin (Ez. 18).
People, especially leaders, do not sin in a vacuum.
God’s trickle effect is grace and mercy even in the face of sin.
B. God sets His plans in place to judge sin long before we even have a clue.
1Ki 11:14 ¶ Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.
1Ki 11:23 And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah.
1Ki 11:25 Rezon was Israel's adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.
1Ki 11:26 ¶ Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon's officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.
All God has to do is hold back His divine hand of providence.
God uses things already in place around us to either bless or chastise.
God’s discipline is always out of love and for our good.
These adversaries were from the north, the south, and from within.
The trickle effect usually fills the jar.
2Sam. 7:14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.
15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"
C. God can even choose to bless our enemies to humble us in the process of dealing with our sin.
1Kings 11:37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel.
38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.
39 I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever.'"
D. Our reaction to this reveals our heart toward God in proving His judgment righteous.
1Kings 11:40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon's death.
Instead of turning to God and repenting (God would have listened and responded in grace and mercy) Solomon tried to take the situation into his own hands against God’s judgment.
Ultimately, this probably led to the loss of all the riches Solomon had set aside for himself, and for God, because of the vulnerability of a divided kingdom.
1Kings 14:25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem.
26 He carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made.
II. Rehoboam, King of Judah (17 years).
A. God’s judgment is carried out.
1Kings 12:12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days."
13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders,
14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions."
15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
16 ¶ When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!" So the Israelites went home.
17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
Solomon’s attitude of excess had carried over to the son.
1Kings 12:20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.
The opposition is set in place. The die is cast for division.
1Kings 12:24 'This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.'" So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.
God has done it and His purpose will prevail.
B. God’s judgment is once again proved righteous.
1Kings 14:22 Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done.
23 They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.
24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
30 There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
31 And Rehoboam rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. His mother's name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam was the son of a pagan woman. He followed the ways of the Canaanites.
There can be no rest in the pursuit of sin.
III. Abijah, King of Judah (3 years).
The curse of sin continues.
1Kings 15:3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.
4 Nevertheless, for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong.
But so does the grace of God.
2Chron. 13:10 "As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them.
11 Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the LORD. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the LORD our God. But you have forsaken him.
12 God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed."
18 The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.
IV. Asa, King of Judah (41 years).
Now comes hope as another son of God is revealed.
1Kings 15:11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done.
12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made.
13 He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa cut the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley.
14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.
Asa trusted God to prevail in battle.
2Chron. 14:9 ¶ Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.
10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."
God takes whatever faith He finds among men and builds on it.
2Chron. 15:1 ¶ The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.
2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.
4 But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil.
6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.
7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
The seed of faith rewarded takes root.
2Chron. 15:8 ¶ When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD's temple.
Godly leadership attracts followers.
2Chron. 15:9 Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
Godly leadership channels worship back to God.
2Chron. 15:10 They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign.
11 At that time they sacrificed to the LORD seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back.
12 They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul.
Godly leadership produces rest.
2Chron. 15:15 All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side.
But it is now during his reign that the last of the riches that Solomon had set aside in the Lord’s temple and in the king’s palace disappear due to the division of the kingdom from sin.
2Chron. 16:1 ¶ In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.
1Kings 15:18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD's temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus.
19 "Let there be a treaty between me and you," he said, "as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me."
And Asa proves himself to be still just a man as God judges his failure of faith late in his career.
2Chron. 16:7 ¶ At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: "Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.
8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand.
9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war."
10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.
It is a sin not to trust in God, even if you have had a good record.
2Chron. 16:12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.
13 Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his fathers.
V. Jeroboam, King of Israel (22 years).
In disobedience to the charge that Ahijah the prophet had given him, he immediately set out to construct idols to maintain political power by religious means. He did not trust God to carry through His promise.
He had been in exile in Egypt and repeated the same sin as the Israelites at Mt. Sinai as they left Egypt.
Israel (the northern kingdom) never recovered from idolatry.
1Kings 12:26 Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.
27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam."
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.
31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.
God prophesied against this abomination of worship in 1Kings 13, where we see the true prophet from Judah come to denounce Jeroboam’s false altar. When Jeroboam tries to seize him, he finds his hand shriveled. The prophet restores it again at Jeroboam’s request. But a false prophet intercepts the true prophet on his way home and deceives him about his instructions from God. He was sent to warn them but God said he could not stay (symbolic of becoming tainted by their sin). However, he listened to the false prophet and went home with him. The word of the Lord then comes to the false prophet who pronounces death to the true prophet and that he would not be buried with his own people (symbolic of Judah following the same sin of Israel and being taken captive). He was killed by a lion (symbolic of Christ - the Lion of the tribe of Judah) on his way back home and was buried in Israel, not Judah. This becomes an object lesson in true and false prophecy in reference to true and false worship and the dangers and judgments involved when we don’t obey God.
1Kings 13:33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places.
34 This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.
Ahijah, the same prophet who told Jeroboam of his God-appointed kingship, now prophesies the complete destruction of Jeroboam’s line and the eventual demise of Israel.
1Kings 14:7 ¶ Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I raised you up from among the people and made you a leader over my people Israel.
8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.
9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.
10 "'Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel-- slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone.
11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!'
14 "The LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. This is the day! What? Yes, even now.
15 And the LORD will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their forefathers and scatter them beyond the River, because they provoked the LORD to anger by making Asherah poles.
16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit."
VI. Christ Jesus, King of Kings (eternal).
The difference between those who are called kings and the real King.
Some of these were “king for a day” but Christ is King for eternity.
We see the division that sin brings, but Christ will unite the entire world.
Hope is not in being a king but in serving the King.
What about the kings and leaders of this present world and even in our own country?
Benediction: 1Tim. 1:17