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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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #2: Trust

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Who are you going to trust?

According to Forbes & Gallup, what is the most trusted profession? The answer…nurses, doctors, pharmacists then teachers. Then, Readers Digest set out to name the 100 most trusted people in America based on integrity, character, exceptional talent, drive to personal excellence, internal moral compass, message, honesty and leadership.

Who did America say was the most trustworthy person in America? Tom Hanks

Even the most trustworthy man in American is going to let you down. You can’t always trust people. People are people and they will let you down.

Who are you going to trust?

When God created you, He wired you in such a way that you have the capacity and the desire to trust in something greater than yourself because He wanted you to have a relationship with Him. 

If you never learn to trust God, you will create something to trust in. You will find something to give you security. It may be money in the bank, a beautiful spouse, a career or a goal. But you will create something to worship and value. You will idolize something.

Anything I trust or value more than God is an idol.

“For your own good…do not sin by making for yourselves an idol in any form.” Deuteronomy 4:15-16 GNT

Why does God want us to trust him? For our own good. He wants us to have a correct understanding of what He’s like in our minds.

In this post, we’re going to answer three questions about trust.

  • What happens when you trust something other than God?
  • Why don’t you trust God?
  • Why should you trust God completely?

What Happens When You Trust Something Other Than God?

There are two negative effects of trusting something other than God.

1.  You are disappointed

Any time you expect other people to meet a need in your life that only God can meet, you are going to be disappointed. Any time you take anything and base your fulfillment on that thing, you’ve idolized it. You’ve given it a place in your life it can’t hold up to.

“…those who make idols are disillusioned…” Jeremiah 10:14 GNT

“Of what value is an idol… For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation…” Habakkuk 2:18 NIV

We look at a person in the jungle who carves out a little god and then bows down and worships it and we say, “That’s dumb! You made it!” But we do that all the time with our careers. We get a job that’s fulfilling and then say, this job is my purpose for living. This job is why God created me. We act as if that is what gives us meaning in life and significance.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 NLT

When we trust in anything besides God to take care of us, ultimately we’re going to be disappointed.

2. You are controlled

What you put your trust in and what you value is going to lead and influence you. You are controlled.

You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 1 Corinthians 12:2 NIV

If you made a list of the top ten most important things to you, and put them in order, whatever is in first place is your god. If it is not The God, you have just built an idol.  Whatever is in first place in your life, whatever you value most, eventually controls you.

This is how addictions start. Something becomes so important and pretty soon you think you’re controlling it, but it’s actually controlling you. 

Those who make idols end up like them. So does everyone who trusts them. Psalm 115:8 GW

Whatever you value the most in life, you’re going to become like. If you value money most important in life, you will be a materialist. If you value pleasure most important in life, you’ll become a hedonist. If you value what works most important in life, you become a pragmatist. If you value Jesus Christ most important in life, you become a Christian. You become like Christ.

Whatever you put in top value in your life is going to shape you. If it’s not the one true God it’s going to warp and distort you.

Why do we start trusting in all these other things to give our life meaning and significance? The reason we create idols is we want a god we can control. We want to shrink God down so we can manage Him. We want to reduce Him to our size so we can put Him in a little box. We want to assign Him to a location,

Some want to assign God to a big box called a “church building.” But God is everywhere whether you want him there or not. Answer this question for yourself –

Do I exist for God or does God exist for me?

Who made who? God made you. So you exist for God. If you think God exists for you, you don’t have a God  – you have a box. You have imagined Him. You have created an idol who serves you.

At creation, God decided to make man in His own image. Today, we do the opposite. We think we can make God into our image We think our god will act and think just like us. That’s called making an idol and God tells us no to do that. 

Don’t misrepresent God. He wants everybody to know the truth about Him. He takes it very, very seriously. For our own good.


Why Don’t I Trust God More?

Why do we end up trusting all these other things instead of trusting God? 

Because we don’t really know God

If you don’t know God and you don’t know what He’s really like, or you’ve got some of these phony ideas about Him, you’re not going to trust Him.

When God says things like, “I thought up sex and it’s to be reserved only for marriage.” If you don’t really know God, you’re going respond by saying, “Who are You to tell me what I’m to do with my sexuality?  Who set You up as judge?” You’re not going to trust Him. 

If you don’t know God, you tend to question all the things He says to do.

On the other hand, if you really know God and you really know how much He matters to you and how much you matter to Him. If you know what He’s got in store for your life that He has your best interest at heart, then you don’t have trouble at all following what He says. 

You will always do the right thing when you follow God. 

“Those who know the Lord trust him…”  Psalm 9:10 NCV

There are so many images of God we make up. People say, “I like to think of God…” and they fill in the blank. That’s just their guess. We’re supposed to stake our eternity on someone else’s guess? Just because “you like to think of God…” doesn’t mean that’s the way He is. 

What matters is not what you think God is like. What matters is what’s true. What matters is what God says He is like and He’s very clear about it.


Why Should I Trust God Completely?

The alternative to trusting God is worry, conflict, and feeling like you’ve got to control it all.  It’s a very stressful, miserable way to live. God has a better idea. Trust Him!

1. Because God always tells the truth.

God is truth incarnate. Truth is defined by God. He is the essence of truth. The nature of God are those things that are right. The things that are not right are those things that are anti-God, anti-His nature. They are opposite.

It is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18 NIV

Is there anything God can’t do? He cannot lie. Why? Because God cannot deny His own nature. God cannot contradict Himself because He is the essence of truth. There is no way God could be untruthful. Is there anything God can’t do? Yes. He cannot lie, because He is absolute truth. 

“God will continue to be true even when every person is false.”  Romans 3:4 NCV

2. Because God loves you

He says it over and over in the Bible in many places. He demonstrates love in your life every day. You were created as an act of God’s love. The greatest expression of that is Jesus Christ Himself. If you ever want to know what God is really like get a good, long look at Jesus Christ.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:8-9 NLT

The picture God gave us is Jesus. Sometimes people wonder how we can say that Jesus is the only way. Because Jesus said that. He said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.No one comes unto the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

If you have a problem with that, you don’t have a problem with te church. You have a problem with Jesus. If you check out Jesus’ story in the New Testament He’s either a liar or He’s telling the truth and you’re betting your eternity on it.

What keeps us from trusting God is fear. We’re afraid to trust God completely. The three greatest fears people have if htey really gave their life to God are:

  1. I’ll lose my freedom
  2. I’ll lose my fun
  3. I’ll become a fanatic

The more you know about God, the more you trust Him. The less you know, the more you’re afraid of Him.

We know the love that God has for us… Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:16,18 NCV

3. Because God is in control

He created the whole universe. He could snap it out of existence if He wanted to. God is working His purpose and plan in history and He is moving history to a historical climax, a destiny. One day Jesus Christ is going to come back to earth. Nothing is going to stop that. He will work in your life for a purpose if you will allow Him to.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

It doesn’t say everything is good or that God causes everything. God does not cause evil.  God doesn’t cause war or cancer. He does not cause rape or abortion. God has given us the freedom to choose and sometimes we make evil choices and innocent people get hurt. 

The Bible says God causes everything to work together for good. This is not a promise for everybody. All things don’t work together for good for everybody, because next the Bible says “for those who love God”,

He causes all things to work together for good for those who trust Him. The more you trust God, the less you will worry when you see the headlines and the news, because God’s in control.

You’re free to make choices in your life, but you are not free of the consequences of your choices. Once you make a choice you’re no longer free. God causes the consequences to happen. There’s certain laws in this universe. 

If you get drunk, you will have a hangover whether I want it or not. Every time, God says, “Here’s a line. Don’t step over it.” You are free to step over it but, not free from the consequences of stepping across that line. God is in control, and that’s good news if we trust Him.

4. Because God will help me

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

How do you know if you’re really trusting God? You’ll know by observing how quickly you obey when He tells you to do something. Is it immediate or delayed?

When you do the hard things that take courage, regardless of the consequences, you will see that you really trust God.

Maybe you’ve been burned in the past with some phony image of God or a religious system that taught you a warped view of God and you don’t really want to love and trust Him. You’re afraid of Him.

He’s worthy of your trust.

This post isn’t just for those of you who are seekers, but for those of you who have been Christians 20, 30, 40 years. You’ve never really given everything in your life to God. You’ve held back your finances, your career and your time. Today you can make a choice to trust that God is for your good and give it all to Him.

But my trust is in you, O Lord; You are my God”  Psalm 31:14 GNT


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on responsibility? Have you had any opportunities to control your reactions, guard your mind or accept mistakes?

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

Hear the Word

The values you build your life directly depend on who you put your trust in. And trust is only as strong as the truth it’s based on. Where is your trust? Have you ever noticed there’s only one letter difference between truth and trust? You trust people who tell you the truth. You don’t trust people if you don’t think they’re telling you the truth.

When God created you, he wired you with the capacity and desire to trust in something greater than yourself because he wanted you to have a relationship with him. But because we have the capacity, if we don’t learn to trust God, we end up creating something to trust in. However, any time we trust anyone or anything more than God, the Bible says we’re creating an idol.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”  Isaiah 44:20 NLT

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message? What do you remember?
  2. When we trust or value anything more than God we end up disappointed or controlled. How have you experienced these two negative things in your life?
  3. In what situations or relationships do you have the hardest time trusting God?
  4. Can you identify what is holding you back from trusting God? Could you relate to the three fears listed in the message?
  5. God always tells the truth, loves you, is in control and will absolutely help you. Are you ready to trust him fully? What’s holding you back?

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? You could send them a link to the message at RockBrook.org or share the podcast with them, or you could share with them a truth from this message yourself. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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