- Sermon Notes
Love is a Transforming Power
1 Kings 11:1-13
October 30-31, 2021
A.W. Tozer, famous pastor and author, wrote a message on the transforming power of love. It has everything to do with the life lessons that come to us out of the story of King Solomon.
“We are all in process of becoming,” Tozer wrote. “We have moved from what we were to what we now are and are moving toward what we shall be. Not only are we in process of becoming; we are becoming what we love. We are to a large degree the sum of our lives and we will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most. Our loves change, mold, and transforms us.
“What we love, therefore, is no small matter. Rather, it is of present, critical, and everlasting importance. It is prophetic of our future. It tells us what we shall be, and so predicts accurately our eternal destiny.
“Think of the power that turned a pink cheeked little boy into a Nero or a Himmler. Was Jezebel always the accursed woman of evil? No, when she was little, she dreamed with girlish delights, but at some point, she became interested in evil and worldly things, then admired them, and then went on to love them. Thus Jezebel, like clay in the potter’s hand, was slowly turned into what she became.”
What we love therefore is of everlasting importance. Love is a transforming power. This truth has everything to do with the life lessons from Solomon’s story.
Solomon was quite young when he became king. He started well. We read in chapter 3 that Solomon loved the Lord, though not as much as David his father did. We also read that God appeared to Solomon in a dream and allowed Solomon to ask for whatever he wished.
Solomon asked God to give him an understanding heart. He asked for wisdom to be able to judge the people of Israel, to be able to discern right from wrong; good from evil, because he knew that he was insufficient, that he was inadequate for what he was called to do.
God was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom and promised to give Solomon what he had not asked for; that Solomon would have riches and honor greater than all the kings in his day.
Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”
The honor God gave Solomon, and the greatness of his kingdom became famous throughout the known world. People came from many nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon and were amazed at all he had built. The Queen of Sheba is one of those who came and was amazed at what she saw and heard.
There was so much gold in the kingdom of Solomon that silver was considered commonplace. He had a throne made of ivory, overlaid with gold, with two great lions standing on each side. There were six steps leading up to his throne with a lion on each side of each step, 12 lions in all. He had 500 shields of gold hanging in his throne room, the hall of judgment.
One thing God did not promise to give Solomon, however, was many wives; he collected foreign women like some collect foreign cars. That was the compromise that led to the great tragedy that became Solomon’s life. There are many life lessons from the story.
I. What You Love is Prophetic
- Verse 1-2 – King Solomon loved many foreign women from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.
- Despite all the wisdom Solomon was given, he didn’t always live by that wisdom. Having wisdom and using wisdom may be very different things.
- For what Solomon did not see or understand is that what you love is prophetic of your future. Solomon held fast to these in love.
A. Beware of that which can master you
- This whole thing began with one seemingly small compromise. Yes, God’s word said not to associate and intermarry with the people of these nations, but it was politically savvy. Surely one small compromise wouldn’t matter.
- Not all compromise is wrong. Compromise can be good when it promotes cooperation or peace without sacrificing godly principles or truth. In other words, good can always compromise with good and right. But when good compromises with evil, only evil wins.
- Verse 2 – “Do not associate and intermarry with the people of these other nations, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.”
- But Solomon held fast to these in love.
1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world nor the things in the world… For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
- Verse 3 – Solomon had more than 700 wives and 300 concubines and “his wives turned his heart away.”
- This happened as Solomon got older. In other words, slowly, one step at a time, he compromised; they kept asking and asking and he began to build altars for the gods of his wives.
Illus – Wouldn’t this be one of the problems with having so many wives? “You built an altar to her god! I want an altar for my god, too!”
Illus – Sin is like having a tiger kitten as a pet. It’s so cute and cuddly at first, but then, as it grows up, bit by bit, it becomes the master.
- God did not intend for men to be swimming in sexuality. But that was what happened to Solomon. He had 1,000 wives, and then began to build altars to the foreign gods of sexuality.
- From the beginning, God’s intent for marriage was good.
Genesis 2:24, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
B. Loving God guards your heart
- When Solomon dedicated the temple that glorious day, he reminded the people of all the great things God had done for them. He then called them to be wholly devoted.
- If they would be wholly devoted, if they would love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, it would guard their hearts.
- There is an interesting transition in 1 Kings 11…
- Verse 4 – Solomon’s heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
- Verse 6 – Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not follow the Lord fully.
- This is a life lesson. Solomon loved the Lord, but not as much of David. Then in chapter 11– Solomon’s heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord, and then finally, he did what was evil in God’s eyes.
- Solomon’s heart didn’t turn all at once, it happened by degrees.
Illus – No doubt you’ve heard the illustration ‘how to boil a frog.’ No animal wants to dive into boiling water. We tried it with a crab once and learned that they don’t like it.
- The answer is found in God’s Word.
Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence, for everything you do flows from it.
Ephesians 3:19, I pray that you would know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
- Love God with all your heart and it will keep you where you are most blessed, because if you love God with all your heart, then you do not love other things.
II. Your Heart Directs Your Steps
- After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam his son was made king. Shortly after, Jeroboam, son of Nebat came with all the assembly of Israel with a request for Rehoboam.
- They wanted Rehoboam to lighten the heavy yoke which Solomon had put on them, and if he would lighten their load, they would be willing to serve King Rehoboam.
- Rehoboam asked for three days to consider this request. What follows is a life lesson; your heart directs your steps.
A. Wise is the one who hears and takes to heart
- If your heart directs your steps, then what you receive in your heart is of greatest importance to the condition of your heart.
- Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon and they gave him good and godly counsel that he should grant them their petition and serve them.
1 Kings 12:7, The elders spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today and will serve them, and grant their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
- Rehoboam also consulted with the young men who grew up with him and they gave counsel that he should make their yoke even heavier.
1 Kings 12:10-11, And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”
- Rehoboam would not listen to godly counsel. In other words, he heard what he wanted to hear. And that’s a problem for a lot of people.
- When people only hear what they want to hear, they will miss out on the wisdom of God.
- Rehoboam saw the power and prestige and the fame of Solomon and wanted it for himself. He even compared himself with King Solomon when he said, “my little finger is thicker than my father’s loins!”
Illus – You can almost hear the elders of Israel react when he compared himself to Solomon, “I served with King Solomon, I knew King Solomon, King Solomon was a friend of mine… Rehoboam, you’re no King Solomon.”
- Too many people insist on hearing only what they want to hear. But wise is the one who hears the truth, who hears wisdom… But then takes it into his heart… Because your heart directs your steps.
Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
- This was Solomon’s error. He had the word of God, but he stopped receiving from it. Instead, his heart was drawn away because he held fast to the influence of his many foreign wives.
2 Peter 3:17, Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness.
B. Out of a good heart – serve and love
- Consider the wisdom of the counsel Rehoboam received from the elders who had served with Solomon.
- “If you will be a servant to this people today, if you will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them…”
Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall your slaves; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
- The heart that loves is the heart that serves.
- The elders of Solomon were trying to convince Rehoboam that serving the people would be more effective than exerting power and a heavy hand over the people.
- Isn’t this true with how God relates to us as well?
Romans 2:4, Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
- When someone comes to faith in Jesus Christ, is it not because they have discovered how much God loves them?
- Love changes people: and God’s love changes us most of all. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and it will determine the course of your life.
1 Kings 11:1-13 NASB
1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations of which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not [a]associate with them, nor shall they [b]associate with you; they will certainly turn your heart away [c]to follow their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives, who were [d]princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned his heart away. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away [e]to follow other gods; and his heart was not [f]wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of his father David had been. 5 For Solomon became a follower of Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and of [g]Milcom the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as his father David had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abhorrent idol of Moab, on the mountain that is [h]east of Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abhorrent idol of the sons of Ammon. 8 He also did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him regarding this thing, that he was not to follow other gods; but he did not comply with what the Lord had commanded. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since [i]you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it in your days, only for the sake of your father David; but I will tear it away from the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”