Love is a Transforming Power
1 Kings 11:1-13
October 30-31, 2021
AW Tozer, some of you might know, is one of the great and famous pastors and writers, and teachers. He wrote a wonderful message on that very point, love is a transforming power, and it has everything to do with the story that we see in Solomon's life. I just want to quote a little bit from what AW Tozer wrote in this regard. Let me just quote from him. "We are all in the 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 loves, and we will, of moral necessity, grow into the image of what we love most. Our loves, change and mold, and transform 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 what we shall be, and so it 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 she admired them, and then she went on to love them. Thus Jezebel, like clay in the potter's hand, was slowly turned into what she became. All right, I love that quote, it is just such a powerful application and right understanding that love is a transforming power. What we love therefore is of everlasting importance, and it has everything to do with the lessons from Solomon story.
As we were reading before, Solomon was quite young when he became king of Israel, maybe 25 years old or so. We read in chapter three that Solomon loved the Lord, but it says but not as much as David, his father, did. Then we also read that God appeared to Solomon in a dream, and said to Solomon, "Ask what you will. What would you like for Me to do for you?" This was a tremendous opportunity. This is a vision dream that God gave Solomon. What Solomon asked for was, that God would give him an understanding heart. He asked for wisdom to be able to judge the people of Israel, to discern right from wrong, good from evil, because he knew he was insufficient. He knew he was inadequate for what God called him to do. God was pleased with this answer, that what Solomon had asked for, that he had asked for wisdom and discernment. God in response, promised to give Solomon what he did not ask for, which reminds me, if you like Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly far beyond all that we ask or think." That is exactly the heart of God, even today.
I love your heart, I want to bless you, I will do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that you ask or even think. God said, "You have asked for wisdom and discernment, I will give you what you did not ask for. I will give you riches and honor greater than all kings of your own day." That honor that God gave Solomon and the greatness of his kingdom became famous. Throughout the known world, people came from nations far and wide to come to hear, to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and were amazed at all that he had built, the grandeur of the house, the compound, the throne, the hall of judgment, the temple. It was just spectacular.
In fact, it says, there was so much gold in the kingdom of Solomon that silver was considered commonplace. He had this amazing throne made out of ivory, covered with gold. Then he had two great lions on either side of his throne. Then he had six great steps leading up to the throne, this is in the judgment hall. On each of the six steps were two great lions. Can you just imagine the message of course, of the lions. The lion from the tribe of Judah. Says the the king of Israel will be called the lion from the tribe of Judah.
In fact, when Jesus the Messiah, who comes as king of Israel in the latter days will be called the lion from the tribe of Judah. It's a great picture. Also we know Him as the Lamb. It's an amazing picture of God's blessing in amazing ways, King Solomon. One thing that God did not promise to give Solomon was many wives. He did that all on his own. He collected foreign women like some collect foreign cars. This was his great undoing.
That great compromise led to tragedy. In fact, Solomon's life story is a tragedy. There's great life lessons that come to us out of the story. He started so well, but he finished so poorly. I tell you, right there's a great lesson. I want to finish well in this life. I don't know how many years I got left, but I want to finish well. Anybody else? Let's read this story. Great lessons for us to take hold of and capture for our lives. First Kings 11, we begin reading in verse one. "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh." Remember that, when he first became king, that one of the first things he did was to marry the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. It was a politically savvy thing to do.
It was considered wise at the time to form alliances with other great kingdoms by marrying the king's daughter. Problem was it may have been politically savvy, but it was spiritual disaster, because it began then with one compromise, but continued, and it says he loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh. Moabite women, Ammonite, Edamite Sidonian, Hittite women. From those nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, "You will not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you." Then He explains why, "For they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love. Great lessons, for love is a transforming power. He had 700 wives and princesses and 300 concubines, more than 1,000 all tolled, which goes to show you that you can have great wisdom and not live by that wisdom, because that was not wise.
"For it came about," verse four, "that when Solomon was old, that his wives had turned his heart away after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. "For Solomon," and now he understand some of the details of this, "Solomon went after Astaroth, the goddess of the Sidonians. This was a god of fertility. He went after Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Then Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, did not follow the Lord as David his father had done. For then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem." This is the Mount of Olives. From Jerusalem you can see clearly the Mount of Olives. It's like, "Go down the valley, it's right there." You built an high place to Chemosh? This is the same mountain that Jesus descended from when he entered Jerusalem. Not only that, he built for Molech, the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon, a high place there. "Thus also he did, for all his foreign wives," that's a lot of alters the foreign gods, "who would then burn incense and sacrifice to their gods."
Verse nine, "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." In fact, verse 10 had commanded him concerning this thing. God saw what was happening, and gave him a warning, this will turn your heart away, Solomon you must not do this. That he should not go after other gods, but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. He did not give weight to the Word of God. That right there is an important insight. To give weight to the word of God is to recognize that it has authority, that it is the word of God's heart speaking. He did not receive it. He did not hold on to it.
I. What You Love is Prophetic
Verse 11, "So the Lord said to Solomon, 'Because you've done this thing, and you've not kept My commandments and My statutes which I commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servants." His name is Jeroboam, we know this. "Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son Rehoboam," we know his name. "However, I will not tear away all the kingdom. I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant, David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I had chosen." Of all the cities on the earth, God has placed his name as His own possession on the city of Jerusalem. I will save it for the sake of My name. These are the verses I want us to look at. Of course, during the Wednesday service, we'll look at the verses around this. There's so much to take hold of and apply to our lives, starting with this, that what you love is prophetic.
A. Beware of that which can master you
God said in verses one and two, Solomon loved many foreign women, of which the Lord has said, "You must not associate with them or they with you, for," and this is the prophecy, He foretold what would happen should they do this, "it will turn your heart. It will move your heart in a wrongful direction." This is a right word. This is such an important understanding. Despite all the wisdom that Solomon was given, he did not see, he did not understand or perceive that love is a transforming power. For in fact, it mastered him. In fact, this is a great life lesson. Beware of that which can master you. It is a life lesson. The whole thing began with one compromise. Whole thing began with one politically savvy compromise, but it brought spiritual disaster. Started with just marrying the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. One small compromise, surely can't matter. We should also understand that not all compromise is wrong. Sometimes compromise can be good if it promotes peace or cooperation, but without sacrificing truth, or without sacrificing godly principles.
In other words, good can always compromise with good, but when good compromises with evil, evil always wins. This is a very important principle. Good can always compromise with good and right, but when good compromises with evil, evil always wins. Do not associate with them, it will surely turn your heart away, but Solomon held fast to these in love, for love is a transforming power. What's interesting is that there is a New Testament principle very much like it. If there are many principles of the New Testament that give great color to what we see in the old. Notice 1 John 2:15-17, where he writes it this way, "Do not love the world," for love is the transforming power. "Do not love the world, do not love the things of the world. For all that's in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life," which pretty much summarizes the problem of Solomon's life. "This is not from the Father," it says, that this is from the world. I tell you, this is a wonderful, powerful insight for us today, for it has everything to do with what you love. Love is the transforming power. It will transform your life.
What you love, what you seek, what you'll hold on to, do not love the world nor the things of the world. This is not from the Father, this is from the world. The world's passing away, and also is lost. The one who does the will of God lives forever. You know this happened, it says as Solomon got older. In other words, slowly. One compromised at a time, one step at a time. The wives, these foreign women kept pressuring him, kept asking, asking, and asking, wearing him down. Wouldn't this be one of the problems of having so many wives? You build her an altar, why wouldn't you build me one?
You love her more than me, don't you? You do. You love her more than me. I know you do. You won't build me one, you built her one. He had to do for 1,000. One of the analogies I like to use is this sin is like having a pet kitten that's a tiger. Sin is like having a pet kitten that's a tiger kitten, for it starts out so cute and cuddly, so wonderful, so warm, so pleasant, but it grows. One day at a time, little by little, stronger and stronger, and stronger, until one day that little tiger kitten grows up to be a great powerful tiger that is now the master of you. It's a life lesson. It is a life lesson, that which you love is a transforming power, for it will grow, it will move in your life. Here's an important thing, God never intended for men to be swimming in sexuality. Let me just be straightforwardly here, and it's true for women. God never meant for men to be swimming in sexuality. For this is what happened to Solomon. He had 1,000 wives, and then began to build altars to the foreign gods of sexuality, for that's what they were.
In fact, as we were reading through them, if you were to do a study on these various gods, the Ammon and Moabite, and Chemosh, and all these, you'd be quite amazed at how sexual in nature many of these were. You say, "Why, what was the point of that?" Of course, we understand the nature of the flesh, but there was also another reason, which was these gods were gods of fertility. They were trying to appease the god of fertility so that they would have great abundance of crops and the fertile soil, and such. Many sons and daughters to work the farm. It was considered a great thing to have many children. They're trying to appease the god of sexuality. The problem was, it appealed to the flesh.
Anything that builds and appeals to the flesh is going to do war on the soul. For the soul is the most important part of a man or a woman, is this not true? The soul is the most important part, but these things do war on the soul. They wear the soul down. What you love is prophetic. From the beginning, God's design, God's intent when it comes to marriage, is good. What God designed, what God intended was good. It was a great blessing. What God intended for good, the world has distorted for evil. Is this not true? Genesis 2:24, "For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one, one flesh." Beautiful, what God intended was good. Be very careful, for these things will turn your heart away from what God desires, and from God Himself. That's why Jesus said, the foremost of all that God has ever said is to love the Lord your God, for loving God will guard your heart. This is the point. Loving God guards your heart.
B. Loving God guards your heart
Remember, we looked at this last week. When Solomon dedicated that temple, that glorious temple, he reminded the people as he gave that speech to the people, he reminded them of all the great things that God had done. Not one word of all the good words that God has ever spoken has failed. He reminded them, not one word of all the good words has failed. Therefore, when you see it, when you step back, and you, and look and you see all that God has done in your life, then He says then you respond to that by being wholly devoted to the Lord your God. Whole devotion. Whole devotion, see, is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, for then it will guard your heart. Notice in 1 Kings 11, this transition that happens in Solomon's life. Verse four, Solomon's heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord as the heart of David, his father, had been. Then verse six. You see, David did then what was evil. It started with one compromise. Then it moved. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord.
Life lesson. Starts out he didn't love the Lord fully. Then before you get to the end of it, he did what was evil. In other words, it didn't turn all at once, it turned by degrees. No doubt you've heard the illustration, how do you boil a frog? You boil the frog one small degree at a time. That's how it is accomplished, for no animal wants to dive into boiling water. We tried it with a crab one time, and it does not like it. Actually, side story. What happened is we were down to the coast where we ended in a boat, and we went crabbing. We had some nice big crab. I said, "We're going to cook these ourselves." We got a nice big pot of boiling water, and poured salt in it, and everything. I grabbed one of the crab, nice big one. I thought, "We'll put him in the boiling water." Only thing is he didn't seem to want to go in the boiling water, and he grabbed hold of the pot. He's a nice big crab. He's like, "No." He's fighting me. He's like, "You get in there." Finally, I had to boom, put the lid on like this, and then I can hear him.
Preacher: I know.
This can't be right, this cannot be right. In fact, he didn't even come out looking right. He came out looking like this.
No, that's not right. That's not right. I was telling a friend of mine. He said, "Yes, that's not right." You put him in upside down, and then they die instantly. It's much better. Then they come out looking like this.
Back to our regularly scheduled message. Proverbs 4:23 says a really amazing word. Listen to this from Proverbs 4, "Above all else, guard your heart." This is a great word. Above all else. First, foremost, most important, most important thing. Above all other things, guard your heart with all diligence, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. This is a great word. Everything you do in your life, flows from it. Guard it well. Ephesians 3:19. Paul, in this his very famous prayer, he says, "I pray that you would know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge." In fact, earlier, he says, "If you could only comprehend the height, the depth, the breadth, the width, the vastness of the great love of God, if you could only comprehend it."
I'm convinced this is a right word, if we could only see it. If we can only comprehend the greatness of God's love. I'll tell you, it is a transforming revelation. It is a transforming, life-changing thing to see it, to understand the vastness of God's great love. He prays this, "That you would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." How amazing is that? How right is that? To be filled up with all the fullness of God in your life. I'll tell you, that's a beautiful way to live. That's a beautiful way to live your life, with all the fullness of God. "Love God with all your heart," he says, "because if you love God with all your heart, then you will not love other things." The condition of your heart will determine the course. Here's my point, your heart directs your steps, your heart directs your life, the life is lived from that condition of the heart.
II. Your Heart Directs Your Steps
What follows is interesting. This is at the end of Solomon's life, he passes and goes to his fathers and says, "And then Rehoboam, his son, is made king of Israel in his place." Now shortly after that, an event takes place that changes the entire course of the history of Israel. The entire history of Israel changes on the course of what happens next. What happened was this, Jeroboam, who had formerly been serving Solomon, had come as a representative of the people of Israel, to Rehoboam with a request. Their request was this, "Solomon's hand has been heavy, and has caused great hard work in our lives. If you would lighten this load, make our yoke lighter, then we would willingly serve you, King Rehoboam." King Rehoboam asked for three days to consider this request. What follows is epic in consequence. Great lesson comes to us out of that particular part of the story. That's this, why is His the one who hears and takes to heart? One who hears and takes to His heart. Why is His the one?
If God directs your steps by filling your heart with Himself, with His love. In other words, if your heart directs your steps, then what you receive into the heart is of greatest importance on the condition of your life. For out of the life, out of the heart, the life is lived. Out of the heart, the life is lived. What you put into your heart has everything to do with how you will live. I'll tell you what, would you not agree with me, there are so many things today that you can put into your heart that are quite poisonous to the soul. Anybody agree with this? There are many things today, I'll tell you, never before in the history of the world have there been so many things that you can take into your heart that will poison your soul.
A. Wise is the one who hears and takes to heart
Rehoboam, then hearing this request, consulted with the elders who had served his father, Solomon. They gave him good counsel, good, wise counsel. He should grant their petition. Notice how they say it, because it's really insightful. 1 Kings 12:7, "The others spoke to him and said, 'If you will be a servant to these people.'" In other words, if you would have the heart of a servant, and if you would serve them, if you would grant their petition, if you would speak good words. Out of a good heart, good words are spoken. "If you would grant their petition, if you would speak good words, they will be your servants forever." This is just wisdom. This is tremendous wisdom, but Rehoboam then also consulted the young men who grew up with him. See, the elders, they were with Solomon. They had seen the discernment and judgment. Certainly, Solomon's judgments were wise in that sense, but these young men, he took their counsel.
1 Kings 12 tells us, verses 10 to 11, "The young men who grew up with him spoke to him and said this, "This is what you should say to the people of Israel. Thus shall say, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins.'" The loins are the thigh. The greatest muscle of a man's physical being is his thigh. "'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? Yes, well, I will discipline you with scorpions." You say that to them. You can't let them do this to you, you got to be heavy-handed. You got to bring some way down there. You got to be heavy-handed. That's what you do. Rehoboam would not listen to Godly counsel. He heard what he wanted to hear. Rehoboam saw that power, prestige, and fame of Solomon, and he wanted that and more. He heard what he wanted to hear.
This is the problem of many people today. They hear what they want to hear, they are hard of heart, they cannot receive. Then he compares himself to Solomon. You can almost hear the elders when he makes this comparison to Solomon. I served with King Solomon, I knew King Solomon, King Solomon was a friend of mine, you are no King Solomon, Rehoboam. Too many people insist on hearing what they want to hear. Why is His the one who will receive the truth? For when you receive the truth, whatever you receive in your heart will determine the condition of your heart. For a great truth was given to us by our Lord in Luke 6:45. I love quoting this verse because it speaks to the condition of life, it speaks to the condition of how you live your life.
Notice Luke 6:45, "The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, will bring forth that which is good." The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, will bring forth that's good. What a better way to live, with a good heart. It's just a way better way to live your life. A good man with a good heart, who has treasure, good treasure in his heart, will bring forth that's good. Now he gives the opposite. "An evil man, out of the evil treasure will bring forth what's evil. For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart." The life is lived from that which fills the heart. How do you get good treasure? How do you get a good heart with good treasure in your heart? Has everything to do with what you put in it, what you receive into your heart. Receive the love of God. Receive the love of God ,and it will transform your heart. Receive the Word of God, receive the wisdom of God, receive the truth of God, and it will transform your very heart.
For the good man, out of the good treasure, will bring forth what's good in his life. For the mouth speaks, the life is lived from that which fills the heart. This was Solomon's error. He had the word of God, but he stopped receiving from it. Instead his heart was drawn away, drawn away, drawn away by these influences of these foreign wives, these foreign women that influenced him, wearing him, wearing him down, and he has stopped hearing the word. He was hearing the word of the wives, the foreign wives who wanted their own idols. 2 Peter 3:17, "Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of undisciplined men, and fall from your own steadfastness." That is a really good word, isn't it? What a verse is that. Why is His the one who will take hold of that great truth? Be on your guard, watch over. Above all things, guard your heart so that you're not carried away by error, the error of unprincipled men, and fall from steadfastness.
B. Out of a good heart – serve and love
In other words, out of a good heart, serve in love. What a great way to live your life, with a good heart, by putting treasure in it. It's just a way better way to live, to love God with all your heart, to have a good heart. Then that which you speak, that which you do is lived from it. Love, serve, consider the wisdom of these elders, if you would serve these people, if you would speak a good word to them. It's very similar, by the way, to what Jesus said. A very similar thing in Matthew 20:25-28, where Jesus said, now, you know how it is out there. You know the world. You know that the rulers of the Gentiles, they lord it over them, which is to say what? Heavy hand, very heavy hand, bossy. Making sure that they know who's the boss, they're very bossy. Heavy hand. You know how they are. Those great men exercise authority. It is not this way among you. You're in the kingdom of heaven now, you're in the kingdom of God now. A whole different set of principles apply.
The kingdom of God is very different than the kingdom of world. You're in the kingdom of God now. "Not so among you," He says "Whoever wishes to be great." You want to be great? You want to be great in the kingdom? It's a wonderful thing to desire, Jesus never corrected anyone for such a desire. It's right. You want to be great in the kingdom? Then He says, "Whoever wishes to become great shall be your servant." That's the key. Have that in your heart. "Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the slave. As the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom." Out of a good heart, live your life. Out of a good heart, love. Out of a good heart, serve. Out of a good heart, bless. It's just such a way better way to live. The heart that loves is the heart that serves. They were trying to show him a great truth. Isn't this the same of how God relates to us?
Notice Romans 2:4, "Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and His tolerance, and patience, not knowing that it is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance?" When someone comes to faith in Christ, is it not because they've discovered how much God loves them? It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. To see that love that God has for you. He loved you so much that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in His son will not perish, but have everlasting life, which is to suggest what? God wants you to have life, and life to the full. God wants you to have everlasting life. God wants you to be His son, God wants you to be His daughter. God loves you. If you would open your heart to receive that love, it'll transform your life. For out of a good heart, that good treasure brings forth what's good. It's beautiful. It's a beautiful way to live your life. Each one has to choose.
What is it that you love? For whatever you love is that what you will pursue, and it is the transforming power. See it, how much He's loved you. See again how much He's loved you, and respond with your heart. Good man, a good woman, because God's put something there. It's God's work. God does this. God will put something there. God will put something wonderful in your life. It's just a way better way to live your life. Father, thank you so much for revealing to us such a powerful truth, showing us again how right, how good to take hold of all that You pour into our lives, how You love us, how You've demonstrated that love over and over, how You've proven yourself, how You've demonstrated that not one word of all the good words has failed. Our response to You is to open our heart to receive it.
How many would say today, "I want to have that good treasure. I want to have that in my life. I want to have a good heart like that. I want to love. I want to serve. I want to have a good heart, but I know that nothing good lives in me, it's You. It's You and me, it's Your heart in me, it's Your love in me, it's Your Spirit moving in power in me. That's what I want, that's what I need because I want to love you with all my heart. Soul, mind, and strength. I want my life to matter. I want to have that good treasure in my heart to be that good man, that good woman that you say comes as a result of it. I want that. I want that. I'm asking for that. God do that in me"? Church, is that your heart, is that your desire? Would you say that to the Lord?
If you would, would you just raise your hand to the Lord and just say it by raising your hand to Him? God, I want this in my life. I want Your name to be known in my life. I want to love You, I want to honor You. I want to have a good heart because You put a good treasure there. Father, thank you for everyone who's moved of the Spirit, desiring that which You desire in us. We honor You now for it in Jesus' name. Everyone said?