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How the Mighty Have Fallen - Part Two

What will happen to a rebel? Not a juvenile delinquent, not a child who threatens to run away from home... but a stubborn king, a rebellious monarch who knows better but refuses to obey His God?

Solomon was such a man; he defiantly ignored the explicit instruction of the scripture and failed to pay attention to very wise council—his own. What Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1 is a very clear picture of the outcome of defiance. Listen to what this great king left for us, but failed to heed himself: These words of wisdom are spoken in Proverbs 1:23-33:

 

23) "If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. 24) But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, 25) since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, 26) I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27) when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28) "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29) Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, 30) since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31) they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32) For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33) but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

Solomon received the tragic fulfillment of his own words. How sad and unnecessary! In order to avoid the same experience in our lives, it will be very helpful to continue to look at the tragic lessons we can learn from the life of King Solomon. As we discovered in Part One, his life can be a mirror to us. It can reveal the eroding areas of our lives; or if we are not going against God's plan, the lessons may help us to resist future temptation to deliberately and defiantly go our own way. The tragic outcome of defiance can be avoided if we heed the lessons we will learn today.

Where did Solomon's defiance come from? As we saw previously, he had an exciting beginning—so much going for him. His defiance didn't grow in adversity.It grew in prosperity. He had:

  • the blessing of God—1 Kings 3:13

  • a variety of interests—1 Kings 4:29-34

  • a record of achievements—1 Kings 6:1,38; 7:1; Eccl. 2:4-6

  • unparalleled wisdom—I Kings 10:24

But something happened to him.

The Conditions of Defiance

Last time we reflected on the four specific areas of erosion in Solomon's life: preoccupation with his riches and building projects (Eccl. 2:4-6); unwise alliances with unbelievers (1 Kings 3:1); unrestrained preoccupation with sex (1 Kings 11:1-3); and an unholy involvement with idolatry (1 Kings 11:4-8). These all contributed to the tragic erosion of Solomon's life. Now what was it that weakened the edges of Solomon's commitment, integrity and wisdom? What brought about these eroding elements? Certainly Solomon is responsible for his own actions—especially in light of all the benefits and privileges he had: "To whom much is given, much will be required..." But beyond that, it is instructive to point out that Solomon grew up in certain environmental conditions which I believe may have contributed to his defiance.

The Four Environmental Conditions in Solomon's life

He was overprotected—spiritually and relationally sheltered.

Solomon was brought up the son of King David. Think of what kind of home life he had and its privileges. Was his childhood normal? No; it was certainly different from his father's. No sheep herding for Solomon. He received the best of training from his father (Prov. 4:1-27). There was nothing wrong with his spiritual input, but did Solomon have the opportunity to test it in the real world? His father's character and insight had been honed and developed in adversity. Solomon only knew prosperity.

He may also have been sheltered from real relationships: people who might challenge his character; who could question his actions; who might add to his perspective. All of us need arenas of application to test our beliefs, and overprotection might keep that from happening.

He was overindulged.

He was given so much for nothing, and that may have led to irresponsibility. His father did the fighting, and Solomon received the benefits. When do you develop an appreciation for what you have if you don't work for it? Having the responsibility to care for a few resources, to manage them and give account for them, is great training for great wealth. Luke 19:17 —"Well done, my good servant!...Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities."

He was overpromoted.

If a person is pushed too far too fast, he has little appreciation for—or understanding of—others who don't have the same privileges. Solomon missed many of the growing pains and pleasures of the upward climb on the ladder. Smart parents don't eliminate pain or reward from a child's chores or work. Adults who try to climb too fast don't develop the character and integrity that will keep them in a position of authority and success.

Service is God's way of developing us. Matt. 20:26 —"...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." Solomon missed the education that only service can bring.

He was overinfluenced by family weaknesses.

Everyone knows that David was a man after God's own heart. He was the writer of most of the Psalms, a great king loved by God. Everyone also knows this great man had great weaknesses. He committed murder; he acquired many wives; he committed adultery; and he gathered a lot of silver and gold for himself. Solomon followed in his father's sinful ways and then completed the list. He took David's sins and expanded on them.

What's the lesson? It's obvious. You can be a person after God's own heart—one who experiences God's blessing and favor—and still plant negative seeds of weakness in a child's life. Just because we love God and are blessed of God, doesn't mean we are perfect parents. Even if our parents were good parents who lived good lives and provided a good home for us, they probably planted some negative seeds in our lives. Everyone should personally, or with the help of others, ask:

  1. Am I today a reflection of what Jesus wants me to be?

  2. Am I acting in my life the way God desires for me to act?

  3. Is there anything about my behavior that is a family trait or sin that needs to be acknowledged or repented of?

Each of us needs to recognize we have been overly influenced by our parents' sins and dysfunctional traits. Let's acknowledge this, repent of our sins and seek help from our Lord and His church in overcoming these influences.

Where sin exists, follow explicity the instructions of the great "put off and on" of Ephesians 4:20-5:8.

  1. Falsehood

  2. Uncontrolled anger

  3. Stealing

  4. Unwholesome talk

  5. Bitterness

  6. Rage

  7. Brawling

  8. Slander

  9. Malice—even a hint of it

  10. Impurity

  11. Greed

  12. Obscenity

  13. Foolish talk

  14. Coarse joking

  15. Partners with the disobedient

Where dysfunctional traits exist; apply prayer, counsel, accountability, study, and support groups.

Dysfunctional Traits 1. Verbal & emotional abuse- screaming and disparaging remarks, ignoring a child, constant projection of blame, etc. 2. Perfectionism—unrealisti- cally high demands for themselves or others. 3. Rigidity—unbending rules, a super-strict family lifestyle and/or a legalistic belief system. 4. Silence—don't share struggles among them- selves or others 5. Repression—over-control- ling and repressing of emotions 6. Triangulation—parents use child as a go-between 7. Lack of fun—they don't know how to loosen up, play, have fun 8. Martyrdom—a distorted sense of self-denial 9. Entanglement—so entangled in each other's lives that individual identi- ties are blurred or diminished

I believe these four elements—overpromotion, overindulgence, over-protection and overinfluence; when matched with the four sources of erosion—material attraction, relational distraction, sexual addiction and biblical infraction; may have contributed to his susceptibility to defiance.

The Consequences of Defiance—1 Kings 11:9-40

Divine Anger—vv. 9-13

v. 9—"The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away..." In the Hebrew, anger is most frequently associated with the word "kindled." In other words, God's anger was aroused, stirred up, heated to the point of vexation. Although God is long-suffering and slow to anger, He is not tolerant of sin. His holy wrath is kindled against those who purposefully, knowingly turn from Him and ignore His correction. Because God is slow to anger and infinitely compassionate (Ps. 103:8), we could be lulled into thinking He's soft and tolerant of sin. The logical consequences, however, are felt eventually as a fire (Psalm 90:7).

Human Adversaries—vv. 14-25.

Note these phrases: v. 14— "Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary," and "God raised up against Solomon another adversary..."—v. 23. Two are mentioned: Hadad of Edom (vv. 14-22) and Rezon the son of Eliada, from Damascus (vv. 23-25)—different men, but with similar strategies. These outsiders brought an end to the peace and freedom Solomon had known.

God never runs out of ways to bring men and women to their senses. Unintimidated by our defiance, He stays at it constantly...day after day, making us miserable. "For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer: (Psalm 32:4). If we respond, however, God will take His heavy hand off us. "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'—and you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6] Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. 7] You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:5-7). Because Solomon didn't repent, however, another consequence of his defiance was

Internal Rebellion—vv. 26-39.

A man whom Solomon trusted, a valiant warrior, an industrious, responsible man from inside his operation— Jeroboam—rebelled against the king. "...Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king..." Solomon's life became miserable.

The Correction of our Defiance... Warning.

Defiance begins with carnal attitudes.

There are "five downward steps of defiance."

  1. Selfishness: "I want my own way."

  2. Stubbornness: "I won't quit until I get it."

  3. Indifference: "I don't care who it hurts."

  4. Resistance: "I refuse to listen to counsel."

  5. Contempt: "I am not concerned about the consequences."

Defiance leads to personal misery.

"Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard" (Prov. 13:15).

Defiance results in inescapable bondage.

Prov. 5:21-23—22] "The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast."

Conclusion/Application

There is always a reason for the way we act—for the way we conduct our lives.

The important thing for us to do is to discover those sins and dysfunctional traits and put them off, for our own sake and health as well as the sake of those who we may influence.

  • Is there a Solomon-like person you are influencing for good or bad?

  • Is there a David-like person you are influencing for good or bad?

  • Is there a person you are influencing who will never achieve greatness in the world's eyes, but be great in God's eyes?

For the kingdom's sake, let's stop the chain of negative influence and begin a spiritual family tree that will honor and glorify our God, or we will eventually face the anger of God.