1 Kings 6:1-13 (Part 2) – Getting All Tied Up In Knots by Our Disobedience

Posted: November 10, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 6:1-13 (Part 2 of 2)
Solomon Builds the Temple

Be home by midnight. Act like you are a Bowling and not some redneck. Always defend your brother no matter what. Do your chores. Keep your room clean. You responsible for everything on your car except your insurance. If you want to date, get a job so you can afford it. If you make less than a B in school (which I know you are capable of), there will be restrictions. There were rules that my brother and I had to live by growing up in my dad’s house. There were not any dizzying array of rules to remember, but there were definitely a set of rules that my dad laid down for us, particularly in those all important pre-teen and teen years before we left home.

One of the most consistent violations of my dad’s rules was the keeping the room clean thing. As an adult living on my own, when I look back at how messy I was as a teenager it makes me laugh – the laugh of “oh my, what a dweeb I was!”. I may not be one that goes in with a white glove on things today but I am better organized and cleaner than I was as a teenager. My wife keeps our house squeaky clean so my view of my adult cleanliness may be tainted by that! LOL! However, regardless of the degree of my cleanliness now, I was definitely a slob as a teenager. My bedroom was always a mess. Dirty clothes strewn across the room rather than being deposited in the clothes hamper. Empty glasses from drinks sitting on the nightstand. Every few days, God bless her heart, my mom would attack my room while I was working evenings at the Furman University dining hall. And I would thank her. My dad would demand that I clean it up on weekends from top to bottom and yell at me about how I kept my room. But I guess there was a stretch there that even my loving mom got angry at me about me forcing her to clean my room. My dad told me that she was no longer going to be cleaning my room and it was up to me. Or there would be consequences. To me that meant restrictions, right?

Not getting to do something. I could live with that. By my junior year I was working practically full-time at the Furman campus police as a dispatcher. I was keeping up my grades with a lot of late nights studying after work. I had a 3.8 grade point average. I was handling everything on my plate pretty well, but there was not much time in my life that wasn’t spoken for. So, what could be so hard about restrictions other than restricting how much I could see my girlfriend, Lisa. Well, my dad had a different plan that restricting my use of my limited free time.

I was not home a lot during those days except to do homework and sleep. Otherwise, I was at school, or at work, or with Lisa. So, in those days, my room was just a place to throw my stuff down and do homework and to sleep. After being told that mom was not going to clean my room anymore, my room got progressively more “piled up” with stuff. On a Friday night, one of my few free nights each week, I was out on date with Lisa. Busting tail to get home by midnight, as was the rule, I made it just in time. My parents were already in bed, but I being the careless teenager surely made enough noise to wake them from what sleep they had achieved by midnight (they used to go to bed at 11:30 in those days, right after the late news on TV). So, they probably had not been asleep long if at all. As loudly walked down the hardwood floors in hallway down. My brother’s room the first door on the left. Bathroom first door to the right. My parent’s room at the end of the hall to the left. My room directly across from theirs to the right. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk down the hall. Last door to the right at the end of the hall. I try to open the door but it’s hard to budge. I put my should against the door to get the door open and what do I see?
I see all my dirty clothes, of which there were plenty in my room, tied from the bedposts to the window curtain rods, tied from the bedposts to the door handle, tied from the door to my little desk. It was really quite amazing to see as well as causing me to let go of some expletives of the four letter variety. Faintly, from my mom and dad’s bedroom across the hall I heard giggles. Dad got me. He got me good. He must have spent at least two hours in there criss-crossing the room with tied together clothing. He really must have had to climb out my bedroom window after he was finished so that all the streamers of clothing would stay tied together and taut. Message received, dad. Message received. He never said anything after that, loved me like I knew he did and he acted as if nothing had happened (other than loud laughter when the story got told and retold at family gatherings in later years). But after that, you know what, I kept my room clean. Not out of anger toward dad, but rather, just trying to please him and his unique way of demonstrating to me the price of disobedience.

Dad had his rules, yes, that he expected us to live by. But he wanted us to want to obey his rules rather than see them as limitations. That object lesson in cleanliness stuck with me because it had a very real answer about disobedience. In that case, he knew that restrictions were not going to be the answer because I had such limited free time anyway. He needed for the price of disobedience to be real and tangible. Me having to work my way into a room that had clothes tied together and tied to everything he could tie them to was the price. Even though I did not clean up his handiwork that night, I was just too tired. I did clean it up for a couple of hours the next morning. It took me a while to undo dad’s handiwork that is for sure. Nothing was said by dad. Nothing. He just let me deal with my disobedience and its consequences.
That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read 1 Kings 6:1-13. There is a conditional promise here. IF you keep my commands. Disobedience always comes with a price and we will see Israel in the coming chapters of 1 Kings and then in 2 Kings get all tied up in knots by their own disobedience. God did not come out of heaven and zap them. He left them to the consequences of their own disobedience. The no longer wanted to obey the Lord. It became a heart condition and God withdrew His presence and favor. Let’s read the passage now with an eye toward that conditional promise at the end of the passage:

Chapter 6
1 It was in midspring, in the month of Ziv,[a] during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, that he began to construct the Temple of the Lord. This was 480 years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in the land of Egypt.

2 The Temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[b] 3 The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet[c] wide, running across the entire width of the Temple. It projected outward 15 feet[d] from the front of the Temple. 4 Solomon also made narrow recessed windows throughout the Temple.

5 He built a complex of rooms against the outer walls of the Temple, all the way around the sides and rear of the building. 6 The complex was three stories high, the bottom floor being 7 1⁄2 feet wide, the second floor 9 feet wide, and the top floor 10 1⁄2 feet wide.[e] The rooms were connected to the walls of the Temple by beams resting on ledges built out from the wall. So the beams were not inserted into the walls themselves.

7 The stones used in the construction of the Temple were finished at the quarry, so there was no sound of hammer, ax, or any other iron tool at the building site.

8 The entrance to the bottom floor[f] was on the south side of the Temple. There were winding stairs going up to the second floor, and another flight of stairs between the second and third floors. 9 After completing the Temple structure, Solomon put in a ceiling made of cedar beams and planks. 10 As already stated, he built a complex of rooms along the sides of the building, attached to the Temple walls by cedar timbers. Each story of the complex was 7 1⁄2 feet[g] high.

11 Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon: 12 “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. 13 I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

In this passage, we see that God gives a conditional promise, “if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands…”. God promised His eternal presence would never leave the Temple as long as one condition was met. The Israelites had to obey God’s laws. Knowing how many laws they had to follow, we must be thinking that God was setting them up for failure. And if we think today that Christianity is about do’s and don’ts, we could think the same thing about ourselves – that God is waiting for us to fail so that He can crush us. The Israelites situation, we see then is much like ours today. What we must understand and what the Israelites had to understand is that we/they are not cut off from God for failing to live fully 100% according to those standards.

Forgiveness was amply provided for all their sins, no matter how large or small. As we progress through Israel’s history in both these books of the kings of Israel, you will see that breaking God’s laws was the result, not the cause, of the condition of the hearts of the Israelites. The kings and the people abandoned God in their hearts first and then failed to keep his laws. When we close our hearts to God, we lose our desire to please Him. It’s always been about the heart.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, the presence of the Holy Spirt comes to live within us and changes us from the inside out. We begin to desire to please God in everyway that we can. We begin to change our attitudes toward our favorite sins and we begin to turn away from them. If we are just trying to keep up a checklist and heart’s desire is not necessarily to please God, then, we are not seeking His presence but rather seeking to keep up appearances.

However, when we disobey God, it is not His desire to come out of heaven and crush us like a bug. He simply allows our disobedience to have its consequences in our lives. For those of us who desire to follow God, we understand that we are sinful creatures who cannot go a day without sinning. However, we know too that it is our desire to please the Lord our God. We rely on the Holy Spirit to convict us progressively over our lifetime of the sins that we commit and helps us to seek the Lord for forgiveness of those sins and turn away from them.

Some of our sins, we are more stubborn about and have a hard time letting go of. Often we are so blinded about our pet sins, we often see them not as sins at all or we rationalize them away as being OK (such as “God and I have a deal on this one” or “God just wants me to be happy so this one is OK”) in our stubborn clinging to that sin or sins. Some of these sins, it takes a lifetime of the Holy Spirit working on us to get rid of. We are a stubborn, stiff-necked people. We complain about sin’s consequences in our lives and get angry at God for withdrawing His favor from us. But yet we are stubborn to see that our own actions have caused the consequences of sin (and sin always has consequences).

Just as my stubbornness about the rule to keep my room clean led to the consequence of breaking it. Basically, it was a visual lesson in how disobedience ends up leaving us tied up in knots. But the real maturity came in my understanding of the visual lesson. It was not so much about dad having this weird rule. It was about being obedient (and later realizing that he was trying to teach me not to be a slob – yes, dad, Elena thanks you for that!). The thing that was masterful by my dad. There was no imposed punishment. There was just a lesson. He did still love me. He treated me the same after that. He just knew that I had learned a lesson from my disobedience and after that, I obeyed him. I learned. The difference is learning that our sins displease God and then go about leaving the sin and turning away from it.

My dad’s reaction after that incident might have been completely different if I continued in my defiance but thankfully his point was made. I dealt with the consequences of my disobedience and learned from it and turned away from the disobedience. Similarly, God certainly knows that we cannot keep up the perfection that he requires because we are sin-filled descendants of Adam. However, what He does expect from us is to recognize our sins, seek forgiveness through the perfection of Jesus Christ, and turn away from our sins each and every day as the Holy Spirit does His work in our souls to make us more and more like Jesus every day.

Are you tied up in knots by the choices you have made in life? Do you blame God for letting you get to this place? Do you try to rationalize away why your sin is not sin? Do you play theological gymnastics to justify your sins but wonder why your life is in the condition that it is in? It is time now to see the consequences of sin and where it has led us and then look to Jesus for forgiveness and come home to the Lord. The Lord will accept you when you realize that your sins are real and when you realize that it is our sins that have crushed us and not God. God will still love you and say nothing when you have humbly called to Jesus to take over your life and cleanse you from all your sins. When you say to the Lord that it is my disobedience that caused all this, God is amply ready to give and move on with you through the sinless perfection of His Son, Jesus. He will love you as if none of that matters (through Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins) and restore you to the high and dry place. He will restore you to His favor. He will change you from seeing obedience as a chore but rather as an opportunity to say thank you to God for saving you through Jesus Christ.

Amen and Amen.

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