Old Testament: 1 Kings 11:1-43
1 Kings 11:1-43 A Palestinian Playboy
Solomon was always one of my heroes. Until today. Here is what J. Vernon McGee has to say about him: “Solomon is the most colossal failure in the pages of Scripture.” Ouch. What a eulogy. He assembled most of the Proverbs, a few Psalms, and wrote Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. He wrote some of my most favorite Scripture! How can one of my other heroes diss him like that? Well, it’s not that hard really.
Solomon started so well! He had everything going for him. God had given him the gift of wisdom. Wisdom is often defined as practical knowledge. Solomon certainly knew how to put stuff together. He put together a great nation, made great alliances, constructed a great Temple and a great Palace and a zoo! He put together numerous marriages. Unfortunately, they were mostly his! One thousand of them! This was his downfall.
The King James said Solomon loved many “strange” women. They can be the coolest but c’mon, Solomon, you don’t have to marry them all! Actually, the word for “strange” would be better rendered “foreign” (v. 11). He did it to forge alliances with many foreign powers but they were also probably pretty hot. It was also expressly forbidden in Scripture (Dt. 17: 16; 7: 1-6; Ex. 23: 31-34; 34: 15-16; Josh. 23: 12-13). When someone so blatantly violates Scripture, consequences have to be expected. Especially when Yahweh Himself comes and personally warns you not to violate the covenant (1Ki. 3: 5; 9: 2).
Although I love to point out that women are often more spiritual than men, I must also point out that carnal women are often the downfall of spiritual men. That was certainly the case here but Solomon was asking for it. He married first an Egyptian but then Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittite women! No one would fault him in the area of political correctness! Solomon “held fast to [them] in love” (v. 2) though McGee points out that this might be the only place in Scripture where love actually means lust. He wrote the book of Song of Solomon which extols the virtue of love between one man and one woman. If there was ever a man who knew the pitfalls of polygamy, you would think it was Solomon!
By the end of Solomon’s life, his thousand wives turned his heart away from Yahweh to their own pagan gods. He started well by sacrificing to Yahweh on the high places but degenerated to sacrificing to his wives’ gods in later life (v. 4). Yahweh was understandably angry with Solomon. Yahweh kept His promise to David in allowing Solomon’s son to keep one tribe. Thus, He was keeping the kingdom in the line of David forever, as He said. But the other tribes went to Jeroboam who was in charge of Solomon’s unscripted labor.
Yahweh tried to get Solomon’s attention by raising up enemies to his north and south. But Solomon still did not heed the covenant.
One day, a prophet named Ahijah came to Jeroboam and tore his new robe into twelve pieces (v. 30). Ahijah told Jeroboam that he would rule over ten of the tribes but that two would remain with the house of Solomon. He said that descendants of David would be afflicted but not forever because He had made a promise to David that would last forever. If Jeroboam was faithful to Yahweh, he, too, would have an everlasting house (v. 38). When Solomon found out, he sought to off Jeroboam but Jerry fled to Egypt until Solomon died.
Solomon died after reigning forty years and was buried in Jerusalem. His son, Rehoboam took over.
1 Kings 12: 1 – 15 A Rehoboam Of Hope, Not
Right after Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was made king, the first thing the people wanted was lower taxes and an easing up on the conscription of workers. Rehoboam asked for three days to think about things. He got council from the older advisors. They told him to lighten up and the people would love him forever. Unfortunately, he then asked for advice from his younger councilors. They told him to increase the taxes and the load on the people. So when the king addressed the people, he said, “You thought my father was bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet! The yoke is on you!”
After hearing the king, the people said, “Heck with this! Who cares about David, Solomon and his son?” So only those in Judah submitted themselves to Rehoboam. When Rehoboam sent his foreman over to the laborers, they stoned him to death. Rehoboam hightailed it back to Jerusalem. Israel and Judah remained divided for years after that.
New Testament: Acts 9:1-25
Acts 9:1-19a Saul On The Earth
Saul became the 007 of the Jewish Execution Squad. He got papers allowing him to off whomever he deemed fit. As he was out looking for victims of those who had followed “The Way,” the designation of the early church, he had an encounter. He was walking down the road to Damascus when he was blinded by a light and fell over. He heard a voice that said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul asked who was asking. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Go to the city and you’ll be told what to do.” The men with Saul were amazed. They heard the voice but couldn’t see anyone. When he got up, he couldn’t see anything. He couldn’t see and didn’t eat anything for three days.
Jesus appeared to one of the disciples named Ananias. He told him to go down to Straight St. and he’d find a man named Saul who was praying. He’d be expecting Ananias to lay hands on him so he’d regain his sight. Ananias said, “Are you kidding? Isn’t that the guy that’s been offing Christians left and right?” Jesus said, “It’s OK. I’m going to use him in a big way. In fact, I’m going to use him to send the gospel to the Gentiles. And then he’s going to get persecuted and suffer . . . a lot.”
Ananias entered the house Saul was in and explained to Saul what was going on. Ananias told him that it was Jesus Whom he had seen on the road. It was this same Jesus Who sent him to Saul to get his eyesight back. Saul regained his sight, was filled with the Spirit, baptized and then started eating again.
Acts 9:19b-19 A Real Basket Case
Saul stayed with the disciples for a few days in Damascus but then “immediately” went out and started preaching Christ! He went into the synagogues proclaiming that Christ was the Son of God. This was discombobulating, to say the least, to the people in town. They couldn’t understand how the famous persecutor of Christians would now be preaching Jesus. In fact, he argued with the Jews around Damascus and they couldn’t keep up with his reasoning.
Several days went by and the Jews tried to figure a way to off Saul but he found out about their plan. The Jews were watching at the gates for him to leave town but the disciples lowered him over the wall in a basket!