The King | Week 4: The Excellent King

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We’ve been in a character study on a king who lived 3,000 years ago named Solomon. If you want to read the accounts of Solomon take a look at 1 Kings chapters 1-11.

Our theme verse for this series of posts is 1 Kings 10:23-24.

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”  1 Kings 10:23-24

Let’s look at the verses leading up to this statement. The word has spread about this great king. He was excellent and wise, has the favor of God and built an amazing kingdom and neighboring nations have started to hear about it and begin to take notice and see for themselves.

One person in particular, the Queen of Sheba is one who wasn’t convinced and wanted to see for herself. She puts some questions together to ask the king to see if he’s that wise. He moves from untested and soft to wise and strong.

“When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.”  1 Kings 10:1-5

The word “overwhelmed” was translated from the Hebrew word Ruah, which means breath, wind or spirit. What that tells us about this moment as she has spent some time with him all these things have left her breathless. Breathtaking. She had trouble breathing because it was so overwhelming.

“She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.’”  1 Kings 10:6-9

She saw the excellence that surrounded King Solomon and therefore she saw God. What’s happening here is what Jesus challenges us to do.

Jesus: “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

If we live our lives a certain way, people will see God in our lives. Not that it’s about how great we are, but it wouldn’t happen without God in us. So what does this mean for us today?

We look at Solomon and think that’s great for Solomon, he had all those riches and a platform to do amazing things. Or we can look at him and think, “How could someone who saw God twice and had all this wisdom go and marry multiple women and dishonor God like that?” or “How could Solomon build the temple go and build temples to other gods?”


Today, as we leave this series, let’s look at some questions to reflect on and challenge us to see the Solomon in us. To see the platforms we have to point people to God and the sins in our life we need to uproot.

The Queen lists several different things she sees leading up to being overwhelmed. The first thing she points out is his wisdom.

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon…”

We can all agree that Solomon made the right choice when he asked for wisdom. We can have the wisdom of God, but never actually ask God for wisdom in the circumstances of our life.

1. Am I making wise choices?

We can ask God, what we should do with a relationship, how to parent our children or handle finances.

It’s easy for us to see the wisdom or foolishness in Solomon or in the people around us, but does that also cause us to ask for ourselves this question.

The next thing the Queen points out is:

“…the palace he had built, the food on his table…”

The palace she’s talking about here, this is not the temple, this is his dwelling place, his home. Solomon was managing all of what God had given him.

2. Am I managing what God has given me well?

Again, this is about pointing people to Christ, giving God glory. She saw these things in Solomon and it caused her to give glory to God. The better we steward our time, talents and treasure to glorify God, the more those things are used to bring people to him.

The next thing she notices:

“…the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers…”

These are the people he sees every day and is doing life with. He’s in relationship with these people. The officials are the cabinet that have a lot of responsibility and are making big decisions. Even the servants are well dressed and well taken care of.

3. Am I treating people well?

Do you trust those around you? Giving to them and being generous with your wisdom. Do you want what’s best for them?

The last thing she noticed was,

“…the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD…”

This is before Christ where they are making sacrifices to God for their sin and for worship to God. He was going the extra mile and doing it over the top. That’s great but the reflection question for us is,

4. Am I worshipping sacrificially?

When it talks about sacrifice in the Bible, it’s referring to something the person wanted or needed. A first fruit, a first crop or livestock that were needed.

These things were given to the Lord to put him first, to make a sacrifice and see how he would provide. It’s hard to submit that way.

In week one of this series we said: “Submission isn’t submission until you have to submit.” 

Sacrifice isn’t sacrifice until we sacrifice something we don’t want to sacrifice.

It’s easy to give income that doesn’t have a name on it already, give our spare time or spare gifts.

Giving our time and energy is big because there is a war going on for our worship. Do you realize that? Not to be over the top or embellish this to make a point, but there is.

There is spiritual warfare happening over your worship.

To understand this better, take a look at another person in scripture who lived years before Solomon, his name is Job.


The War For Your Worship

“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”  Job 1:1-3

If you keep reading Job chapter 1, you see the enemy challenges God by saying that the only reason Job worshiped God was because his life was great. That if it wasn’t great, Job would curse God. The enemy said the reason Job loved God was because he lived protected and in luxury.

God replied saying that Job really did love him and allowed the enemy to touch him but not kill him. So Job lost it all. His livestock were attacked and stolen, his servants killed, a house collapsed on his children. You can shuffle that theological deck however you want wondering why God would allow that, but He did.

God’s glory was on the line and there was a war going on over Job’s worship. Could you consider this possibility today?

It’s possible that when you are having a very bad week, that there’s a war going on.  It’s just possible that a challenge went up to God, “Oh, they’re a Christian? Really? As soon as that person has a tough moment they’re going to drop you like a lead weight!” And God responds, “Well, let’s just find out.”

And we don’t have to like it, but in the midst of it we remember that God has not forsaken us, and he’s exalted when we say, that He is God and we belong to Him.

Now Solomon wrote a book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes. In this book, we get a glimpse into what life is like for a person who has literally everything. If you think about it, Job and Solomon had the same thing happen to them but with different implications.

Job had everything taken away from him while he was the richest person in all the land. Children, land, livestock, servants, money, houses, it was all taken away. His loss was unimaginable.

Solomon had the opposite happen in that his gain was unimaginable. He started off with little and ended up with wisdom, property, parties, gardens, servants, money, sex. All to an extreme that is hard to even imagine.

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

Here’s what he did. He said, “Do you think possessions satisfy? Let’s find out. Do you think sex, a hobby or fun satisfies? Let’s find out.” He went out to settle this once and for all.

He did all of that and came back to say he was still not satisfied and nothing was really gained. At the end of the day, both Solomon with everything, and Job with nothing find themselves recognizing and worshiping the Most High God.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13

At the end of the day, sitting there with all his stuff, Solomon realizes it’s all meaningless except worshipping God and doing what he says.

The Bible says that when the messengers came to tell Job about all the losses in his life. Sitting there in the ashes,

“Job fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’”  Job 1:21

This is why Solomon says in Proverbs:

“Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ And if I am too poor, I may do something to insult God’s holy name.”  

At the core of every gain or loss in your life, you’ll find the war over your worship. Within every compliment and every criticism. Where respect is gained or respect is taken away. Within every pay cut and pay raise, in every subtraction and every addition, you’ll find the war over your worship. Every new life. Every death.

In every good thing, and every bad thing, at its core is the question, “Now what? Who’s God now? Who do you love now?”

And somewhere in Heaven there is an, “I told you. It’s not because of what they have or don’t have, it’s because of who I am. It’s because I am worthy.”

It makes you wonder if the war over your worship has ever been the centerpiece of a conversation in Heaven. Now don’t give the devil too much credit here. Many of us are just bending whichever way the world blows, we just respond to however we feel and whatever our flesh wants that the enemy doesn’t even have to bother with us.

The point is, that there are serious heaven-sized ramifications to your decision as to who or what you are going to worship. So guard your worship. Do not let anybody rob you of your worship. Don’t let any idol, guy, girl, job, sex, money, possession, sports team rob you of your worship.

Don’t let any failure or any accomplishment rob from you your opportunity to give God your worship.

Don’t let it rob you of the thing you were made to do! Don’t let it rob God of the praise that is His alone. If God is worthy and there was a revolt that happened in Heaven, and now for this short time on earth, we decide whether we worship the God who delivered us out of slavery and death, or we will worship the idols of this world…in that choosing moment what would primary objective of the enemy be but to strike blows at the worthiness of God and turn the whole world to an idol.

Do you really believe that it’s just coincidence that two thirds of the world are bowing down before bronze, concrete, and wood? No, it’s no coincidence that right now that people all over Asia are paying somebody a couple of bucks for some flower stems to lay in front of a golden idol.

It’s no coincidence that there are people kneeling on the streets of Bangkok right now saying their prayers to a big brass idol.

It’s no coincidence that people all over the India and the world make their pilgrimage to a river they think will save their soul.

It’s no coincidence that our nation, the richest people group the world has ever known still have to borrow to satisfy their materialism.

It’s no coincidence that we’ve decided that we’ll only believe what our human mind can understand and only what we see in our reality.

Satan is attacking the worth of God and directing the world to little idols so we’ll ignore the Creator of the world.

And into this scene, into this war steps Jesus Christ. When he hung on a cross, it was the first domino that fell in putting worship back in order. He paid a heavy blow to deliver us from meaningless lives into the family of God. He paid a price to offer us the love and grace of God and a future with God. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “The Relational King” Any more observations or thoughts on that message or your discussion?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

The Big Idea

Read: 1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba noticed a few things about Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon’s legacy gives us four questions we can ask ourselves to help determine if our lives are honoring God.

1. Am I making wise choices?

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon…”

2. Am I managing what God has given me well?

“…the palace he had built, the food on his table…”

3. Am I treating people well?

“…the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers…”

4. Am I worshipping sacrificially?

“…the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD…”

Discussion & Application

1. What stood out to you in this message or scripture reading?

2. Which of the four questions do you need to reflect on most? Why? If you don’t know, get wisdom from the group. Ask them which one on which you should reflect.

3. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. — Proverbs 30:8-9

Why do you think it is many turn from God in moments of abundance or loss?

4. Does your life look a little more like Job’s or Solomon’s right now? Are you seeking God in the midst of abundance or seeking God in a loss? Could it be both?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week.

Next Steps

What is a next step you can take from this series? Is there something from one of these messages that could stick with you months from now?

 

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