1 Kings 11:1-13 (Part 2) – It’s Not About Me – A Daily Reminder

Posted: December 29, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 11:1-13 (Part 2 of 2)

Solomon’s Many Wives

Each morning as Elena and I descend the stairs from our bedroom down to our kitchen. We have a vision statement of sorts painted on the wall of the staircase. It says “It’s not about me!” It is a daily reminder that we are here to serve the Lord. This being our first full-time ministry position, we need the reminder because your first full-time ministry position is a huge learning experience always. “It’s not about me” is our mantra as we grow and learn. This vision statement helps remind us of why we are here. It’s about Him and following Him and obeying Him and being made more useful in His kingdom. This vision statement keeps us focused.

Vision statements. They are everywhere in the corporate world. They are everywhere in growing churches nowadays. Whether it is in the secular world or in Christian organizations, vision statements are meaningless unless they become part of the culture of the organization. Vision statements are only effective if they are lived out. It was author, Lynn Anderson, who once said,

“About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?”

Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.  

The Apostle Paul had a clear vision of what his business was to be about. It was the laser focus of his life. Just as the Pilgrims initially had a clear vision of coming to America to establish a world where they could worship freely, Paul had a vision that led his life. Unlike the Pilgrims who lost their vision due to becoming comfortable, Paul’s vision led him to discomfort and death. However, nothing was more pleasing to Paul than living the vision given him by our Lord and Savior.

On this occasion, recorded in Acts 26, the new Roman governor Festus, invited Agrippa to Caesarea to hear Paul’s case. So Paul stood before Agrippa and again recited the story of the great events which occurred on the road to Damascus. The voice of the Lord directed Paul to rise to his feet and to bear witness to Christ among all people. He was to carry the life-giving Word throughout his world.

In Acts 26:19, Paul gave this testimony to King Agrippa: ” So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.” Ya know…If Paul was a corporation, his vision statement would have been on his desk. It would have been in every conference room. It would have been brought up in every meeting. Paul, Inc. was all about this heavenly mission statement. In today’s church, we need to remind ourselves daily of Paul’s heavenly vision statement so that it defines us, sets the agenda for what we do and to keep our passion alive. Otherwise, we lose our way. We forget what we are here for. We are not here for what’s in here. We’re here for what’s out there.

Where I serve as a staff pastor, our vision is “loving people to life” in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, He is blessing us with new people being drawn unto Christ. There is not one person on our staff that thinks we have arrived at some destination where we can relax. We, collectively, have an earnest desire to assist the Lord in what He is doing in our church. We may not always do it right. We make mistakes. None on our staff has got this thing fully figured out. But the passion is there in all of us. God has a purpose for our church in our city at this time in history and we take that pretty darn seriously. Even though our church is growing and people are becoming more and more mature in their walk with Christ, the work will never be done. We keep pushing and striving until the Lord says we are done when He returns.

That’s what I thought about today as I read 1 Kings 11:1-13 – how we as Christians and how we as groups of believers called the local church can lose our way because we begin focusing inwardly rather than outwardly. That is what happened to Solomon. He lost focus on God and began pleasing himself rather than pleasing God. Let’s read about it now:

Chapter 11

1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 3 He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.

4 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech,[a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.

7 On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem,[b] he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.

9 The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 11 So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”

In this passage, we see that Solomon’s powerful and glorious kingdom could have been blessed for all time. Instead, it was approaching its end. Solomon had God’s promises, guidance, and answers to prayer, yet he allowed sin to remain all around him. Eventually, it corrupted him so much that he was no longer interested in pursuing God. Psalm 127:1, which was written by Solomon, says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.” Solomon had begun by laying the foundation with God, but he did not follow through in his later years. As a result, he lost everything. It is not enough to get off to a right start in our walk with Jesus Christ, we must remain faithful to the end. God must be in control of our lives from start to finish.

We must continue to be humble before the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to chisel us daily more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Salvation is just the beginning. Sanctification is a daily journey that does not end until we are taken from this world to meet Jesus in heaven. It is only then that we can rest. On this side of heaven, we must allow the Holy Spirit to teach us daily where we need to submit our will to the Lord and submit the desires of the flesh to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The same is true for us as local collections of believers that we call the local church. We must never feel as though our job is finished as a local church. We must never think that we have arrived. You read about churches closing their doors daily. There are scores of churches closing their doors each year. Why? Because they once had a great love of connecting with the world around them and sharing the gospel in real life, in real time, with real people with real hurts and needs and somewhere along the way these closing churches lost that vision and began focusing on themselves and taking on an “us in here” vs. “them out there” mentality.

In Acts 26:12-20, Paul is given his vison by which he lived by for the remainder of his life:

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

Without vision, Paul focused on inwardly on achieving his checklist of ever increasing religiousness…that is until He met Christ…

(Philippians 3:4-8) though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Without vision, we focus inwardly. Them out there vs. Us in here. We focus on entertaining ourselves. Jesus was out there not in here:

(Matthew 9:11-13) And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

We must capture Paul’s vision that Jesus gave him

  • To open eyes
  • To turn them from darkness to light
  • To turn them from the power of Satan
  • To tell them of forgiveness in Christ

To open, to turn, to tell – these are all verbs. To open, to turn, to tell. Verbs indicate action. The indicate action of performed by a subject. Plain and simple, we must go. It started with Jesus (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. At His command, it is to continue through us – (Matthew 28:19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Notice there is a command to take action. We must go. We must go into the world. They will not come to us. It was Solomon himself who said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

Paul had a vision. Vision gives purpose. The vision given Paul. The vision given us should guide us. What kind Christ follower do you and I want to be? What kind of local church do we want to be? Christ gave Paul a vision and it is one that Paul passes on to us:

  • To open eyes,
  • To turn them from darkness to light
  • To turn them from the power of Satan
  • To tell them of forgiveness in Christ

That is what we are here for. That’s the vision. For it is the desire to continue running the race and it is time for us to be called home to be with Christ. The race is never finished until that time. We must continue to be humble before the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to mature us so that we can be more effectively used for His work. We have a job to do here. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. It’s about the vision:

  • To open eyes,
  • To turn them from darkness to light
  • To turn them from the power of Satan
  • To tell them of forgiveness in Christ

Amen and Amen.

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