March 27, 2022

1 Kings: The Richest Man Alive

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Scripture: 1 Kings 1:1– 22:53

Download the 1 Kings Bible Journal Outline

If you're a guest with us today, I'm preaching through a series through the whole Bible. One book at a time for each sermon. And today we're at First Kings. If you have one of these little Bible outline journals, that'll help you follow along a little bit. There's more of them in the back if you need one.

I like to watch basketball. I just lost half of you I know. But Steph Curry is 34 years old, has a net worth of $160 million. Claims to follow Christ. He is small on the scale of net worth, not compared to us, if that's not small to you, please come talk to me. But Trump is worth 2.5 billion, claims to kno Christ. That too is small on the top five list. Bill Gates is worth over 100 billion. That's with a “B,” 100 billion. Elon Musk is worth over 200 billion dollars. That's net worth after every bill is paid. That's a few pennies still sitting around.

Let me ask you a question though that hits a little closer to home. What about preachers? I'm not asking for a raise. But what about preachers? Is it okay if they are wealthy? Hmm… interesting question. Kenneth Copeland, a preacher, is worth $760 million, lives in a $6 million lakefront home purchased by his church, thank them very much. But can we measure him by that? Can you measure him by that? Because I think there are some things that we kind of wink at like, No, it's okay, then you go must have got it in a dirty way. Right. His health and wealth gospel seems to be working. But are we more jealous of his money? Or offended at his theology? Are we offended more that he preaches a false gospel? Then we are how he made his money. Of course, none of us would enjoy being scrutinized for how much or little we make. That's no fun. But we all have opinions about it.

But I want to challenge us a little bit, especially as we come to First Kings. And we've seen this over and over again in Scripture. That wealth can come from God. Yes, you did come to the right church. You didn't come to the wrong address this morning. But I just you know, our job here is to proclaim the truth, who gave Abraham his wealth? Who gave Job his wealth? Right. We all have opinions about these things, but need to make sure that they're biblical ones so that we don't get sidetracked into some foray that Satan is happy if we live there, because it has nothing to do with biblical opinion. And as long as we stay over there, we're fine because we're not really fighting the real battle.

And see, it's easy for us to judge the ultra-wealthy; by the way, on the world standards, every single one of you in here is wealthy, no matter how little you make. But we shouldn't judge people simply for that alone. You can be poor and greedy. Can I get an amen to that? Yeah, yeah, we can be poor and greedy at the same time. So what are we pursuing in life? Right, what are we enjoying about life? There's always a little bit more as the famous quote says. We might even become very wealthy and in fact, incredibly wise. I mean, to have an accurate knowledge of God; to have an incredible robust, accurate knowledge of God but does that mean that we're pleasing the Lord?

First Kings picks up in the time of great prosperity. They have peace on all sides. King David is about 70 years old. He's about to kick the bucket, and everybody can see it. And so that's stirring up a little problem here. Who's going to be the next in line to rule this powerful area of the world? Where [if] you have to from Egypt to go north, you either take ships or you go through Israel's territory, Judah and Israel's territory. Or if you want to go west to Babylon, you have to go through a giant desert about 900 miles with a straight line or you go up and around through Israel. Who gets to control all of this, all of God's blessing? All of God's people, who gets to lead them? Well, David is a man, he's got circulation problems, he can't stay warm. And with his death in sight, his sons vie for the throne.

First and Second Kings were originally one book like First and Second Samuel. Today, we're going to focus largely on the first 11 chapters, and I'll explain how that rolls into chapters 12 through 22. But if you look in your journal there, you'll see in the middle, that the first 11 chapters are about the rise and fall of King Solomon. Chapters 12 through 22 are about the divided kingdom. We have to ask ourself this question as we go through First Kings. What are these people pursuing? What are the people put forth in First Kings? What are they pursuing in life? Chapter one, starts out with a whole lot of drama turn there if you would with me.

Bathsheba is plotting for her son Solomon, to be king. Adonijah, one of David's sons (some of his other ones, older brothers have already been killed). Adonijah tries to take the throne and he even gathers people to his side, even Joab the commander of David's army is now on Adonijah’s side. Even though he wasn't on Absalom side. And so Adonijah has some of the priests, and he's got the commander of the army, and he goes to a city, and he declares himself to be king.

Then Nathan the prophet hears of this. Bathsheba, one of David's wives, hears of this. And they all bring news to David. And they're terrified. Because if Adonijah becomes king, then Solomon and Bathsheba and all those loyal to him would be considered perpetrators. They would probably be put to death.

So look in 1 Kings 1:20. They're talking to David here on his deathbed. “And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.” The grand succession. What's going to happen David, who's going to be the man? Well Adonijah’s plan seems to be working and a lot of people are in uproar and they declare him king. But the problem is, that David then declares Solomon to be king. He tells Solomon to ride through the city with the prophet Nathan, and with other priests who are loyal to David, and even ride on the king’s mule and to declare him king.

Look in 1 Kings 1:39, “There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.” I'm going to bet that hasn't made it into our thinking a whole lot; that their voices, the instruments that they're playing, there's probably hundreds of thousands of people that have come out for this. And they create such a roar, that the earth is split by their noise.

The Rise to fame though is normally rocky. And this is really going to help us understand to see what are they pursuing here? What are they going after? What is Solomon going to go after in life? Well, chapter two comes about. And King David is about to die a natural death. He gives Solomon a final charge as his son and as a man. Men, what would you say to your son, as you're about to die? Solomon's probably in his late 20s, possibly 30. But more than likely a little younger than that at this point. He says something very interesting in First Kings 2:6, that I think has escaped our notice here, a lot of times when we recount the story of Solomon and David. David tells him, “Act therefore [according to what?] according to your wisdom…” David plants a little seed there. Solomon, you're going to rule by your wisdom. And there's all kinds of specific situations, David takes him through and with some people, David tells him, “Deal loyally with this man, deal loyally with this family.”

And with others, as in 1 Kings 2:9, he says, “Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” And then in chapter two, verse seven, he's giving a blessing. With these put these at your table that they may eat with you all the time. So already, we see that Solomon has this great dilemma. He's going to get the immense blessing of God given to him promised in Second Samuel seven, to his father, to rule the throne. And this throne, remember is supposed to be what,? Forever! Forever!

But he's gonna have to come against those who plotted against him and his father, namely Joab. There's probably no more skilled warrior than Joab, the commander of David's army. So Solomon's got a lot to deal with and we shouldn't overlook that. Because I think we just simply go to, ah Solomon at the end of his life kind of tanked it. Or like we did with David, you know, David is a man after God's own heart, but we question God and we say, “How could that be?” He was a murderer and an adulterer. How could that verse in the Bible be true? And we actually question and we're okay with and we shouldn't be okay with directly questioning the clear evidence of God's word.

But as we come to Solomon and understanding him, he even calls himself a child in 1 Kings 3:7, “… I am but a child. I do not know how to go out or to come in.” He doesn't see himself as a wise man who's able to lead what God has put before him. He's got to deal with his mother's good and bad requests. Good requests to put him on the throne, and bad requests to give Adonijah a wife, which would then promote a strong family lineage within the kingdom, which would bring lots of people to go in his favor and away from Solomon. So he initially has to accept his mother's advice, and then immediately go against her. His brother has plotted against him to kill him.

Other enemies on the flip side, have come to bless him. And this isn't all, we also miss the fact that just because everything's not perfectly in line, he's got a huge shadow to live up to. Right. His father was the greatest king of Israel. I mean, there was only two, but he was still the greatest king of Israel. And yet he had incredible wisdom. And we don't talk about that a lot with King David. We’re just kind of like, he was a warrior. He was small ruddy with pretty eyes, right? And he knew how to kill people and knew how to live with conviction and somehow he's a man after God's own heart and that's kind of how we summarize, David.

But look at Second Samuel, turn back there if you would with me. He had more wisdom than any man on earth at the time. He wasn't just some military leader. Look in 2 Samuel 14:17. This is after they defeat the revolt of Absalom coming against David. And David is mourning the death of Absalom and so Joab, the commander of his army is kind of saying, “Look, you got to get over this. You're mourning the death of one person, and we've given countless lives for you. And are you not happy that we're still alive?” And he pleads with David but he knows David is incredibly wise. There's about four or five times in Scripture that describe David's wisdom. But here's what the commander of his army said. In 2 Samuel 14:17 says “… for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The LORD your God be with you!”

He compares David's wisdom to the wisdom of the angel of God. Now, if you're an angel, and you revolt against God, you become a demon. Right? But if you're an angel, there's no course for error. You either speak exactly what God says, and do exactly what God tells you to do, or you're in rebellion against God. So here he compares him to the angel of God and his ability to discern good and evil. Which is what? Wisdom.

Look in verse 20, 2 Samuel 14:20, “… my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God [to what?] to know all things that are on the earth.” There's about five times in Scripture, that David's wisdom is said to be heavenly, as if he knows all things. And then his father with this heavenly wisdom, you can turn back to 1 Kings 3:3, that his father with his heavenly wisdom is telling Solomon, look, you're a wise son. And you need to deal with all these situations in your wisdom. Good advice, right? At this point in his life, Solomon is a godly man, he's godly. You would do well to emulate his life to this point. And I think we need not forget that. It's not like God made a horrible decision to pick Saul, and then David, and then Solomon. And then everything went horrible. From that point on. God knew exactly what he was doing.

And in 1 Kings 3:3 it says, “Solomon loved the LORD.” That's Yahweh, LORD, right? “Solomon loved Yahweh… walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.” Which gives us pause. So then God comes to Solomon, and appears to him in a dream by night he does this two different times. Okay, the first is in 1 Kings 3:5, “At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’”

It's out of the ESV, “Ask what I shall give you.” Man, I'd like that. I mean, if God came down right now and said, “Just lay it out there for me. No qualifications. What shall I give you?” What would you, right now in your seat, ask for? Lord God, pay off all my debts, right? All my debts to be gone. Lord, I want all my coworkers to be Christians today so that when I go in there on Monday, they're all nice for once. All my friends and family, all to be saved. These are good things. But do you think you'd ask for money? Do you think you'd ask for something like that? I can imagine if you're saying no, you probably already have a lot of money.

But you're about 30 years old. You've inherited the most powerful kingdom on the earth at that point. With thousands and thousands of servants. I think I'd be hard pressed to ask for something so purely as Solomon did. 1 Kings 3:9, he summarizes and he says, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

Solomon nailed it. He's listened to his father. Solomon, govern by your wisdom. God says, “Solomon, what do you want?” “I want wisdom. I don't understand how to do this.” Let me read to you a few more verses that explain just how locked in with God Solomon was. Because I think we just think he's, uh, he was alright for a while but let's move beyond him. He's kind of embarrassing.

Look at 1 Kings 3:7-8, “And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child.” He was humble. “I do not know how to go out or come in.” That's not normally what we say in our 20s and 30s. Right? It's take on the world, that's the mentality of that that age. Verse eight, “And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude.” This guy is theologically locked in.

He's already wise. That's a wise man, right there. He sat on the throne, because of God's love for his father. That's pretty humbling to acknowledge. Right? Because of your steadfast love for my father, David. That's why I'm here. Because his son shall sit on the throne. It's not about me. That that's what we want to live like, right? We want to live in such a way that our lives are not necessarily about us. But they're about God who works in and through us. And sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that brings great blessing. But that should be our M.O. in all of life.

And I just want to ask you, are you there yet? Are you done pursuing other things besides Jesus Christ, alone? Can you say “Lord God, I am yours. I live for you. The house I have is from you. The apartment I have is from you. The situation I have is from you. I'm all yours. Just give me wisdom.”

So what did God think of his request? That's in 1 Kings 3:10-12, “It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” I'm gonna make you smarter than the guy they said was like, that had the wisdom of an angel. Right? Smarter than all before you and all after you. 1 Kings 3:13, “I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.”

If ever there was a time to be prideful, it's at that moment. Wait a minute, I'm gonna be smarter than my dad? He did pretty good. I'm gonna be richer than anyone else? He's probably going through all the nations of the world and just thinking about what they have done at this point. The Great Pyramids in Egypt and all the wealth in Egypt. Wow! There's a lot of gold on the way. Somehow, in some way, God made him miraculously wise. Smarter than everyone else, he’s always the smartest guy in the room, literally. So at this point, the kingdom and its people enjoyed great prosperity. Peace and prosperity ruled the land.

Look in 1 Kings 4:20-21, Judah and Israel, that's a representation of all the 12 tribes, “Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.” 1 Kings 4:29, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore.” That's not like how you and I think where we're scattered like the sand on the seashore. Right? That's the depth of wisdom, like the sand on the seashore. 1 Kings 4:30, “so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.”

More wisdom than Egypt? We still visit the pyramids, the Egyptians built. They were wise, not about the afterlife, but they were wise. So four years in, Solomon begins to build the temple, turn to 1 Kings 5:5. “And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God…” He's following through with what is given to him because of the promise of the Lord. “And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’” So he gathers all the materials. It takes quite a while to build this magnificent temple. He's got about 200,000 people in his workforce. He sends them to the north to get choice wood, it's cut and floated down and brought to them, it's choice cedar.

He begins to build the temple, listen to this, 480 years after leaving Egypt. The people have gone through a lot. About 400 years in slavery; about 480 years after (that's chapter six, we see that), after leaving Egypt, [they] start to build the temple. And it took seven years to build the temple. It was a marvel of woodwork. 1 Kings 6:18, said it was all of cedar and no stone was seen. And then we start to get a little idea of what it means to be fully blessed by God. And this is the blessing in the wealth category. And I want this to soak in a little bit. And I want to talk about this not because it's fascinating to read. When I used to make 3D stuff, I tried to build these things in 3D, and tried to draw pictures of these things, and it just blows your mind.

The inner sanctuary was completely overlaid with gold. So imagine getting the most expensive wood you can find with the best artists, the best woodworkers, who know how to do everything brilliantly. And after they're done making everything, you go dip it in gold. That's what they did. Like, why not use styrofoam or something, right? Or something cheap? And then put the gold on and no one can tell. Right?

So then they carved these gigantic cherubim. Okay, in here, it's about 37 feet, give or take few inches, from wall to wall. The ceilings about 14 feet high. They made two cherubim to put in the middle of this place that were 15 feet high, and their wings stretched 15 feet across. So imagine one over here and one over here. They're made out of the best wood, and then they're all covered in gold, and their wings touch in the middle. And so you walk into this inner sanctuary and that's what you're greeted with. [These] are those who represent the protection of the Ark of the Covenant. They would later bring the Ark of the Covenant in and set it in the presence of these cherubim, move it into the Holy of Holies, and only the Poles would stick out.

But this is a grand place. There were gold doors, guys. Right? We need to step it up a little bit back there. Gold doors, gold microphones. No, that's not what we're talking about, Creflo Dollar does that. That is the church down the street. Gold doors, there's gold carvings on the gold doors. You get the idea? And you know you've made it, when the floor is gold. They're walking on gold. Can you imagine going in there as a poor person, and going you know, just scraping up a little bit as you walk along. God is blessing in abundance. God provided this wealth, God blessed the tabernacle. He blessed everything they did with it.

Solomon builds his own palace. 13 years to build his house. The Ark is brought into the temple. And turn to 1 Kings 8:10. You would think, wow, this is kind of overdoing it, right? There's been some monolith type chapels built with the money of the poor, right? That’s all over Europe, a lot of the Gothic temples were built that way. You know, if you want to spend less time in Purgatory, then you probably need to donate more, and we'll give you less time. And so they built all these huge things. And in Southern California, there's some massive edifices, I don't know what you would call them if you call them a church or not. But you know, the Crystal Cathedral, bankrupt and of course, who bought it, the Catholic Church.

But they all pale in comparison to what God designed for His glory. And in 1 Kings 8:10, you can see that God is actually pleased with all these things. “And when the priest came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house....” That's why this is on the cover. Because it's not about Solomon's wealth. It's not about the gold, it’s about the glory of God. And all of these things rightly point to God.

1 Kings 8:20, “Now the LORD has fulfilled this promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.” At this point, there's no accusation that sticks. There's no accusation that sticks. This thing is way over the top. And God is pleased with it. I think that just kind of gets at us a little bit. Because we all have certain levels of, of wealth that we're comfortable with, but oh, not that much. Right?

You can go to this social account called preachers and sneakers and see what fancy shoes they wear, right? And we all, oh look at them, they're wearing like $800 shoes. And they've got these, you know, decked out outfits and stuff. I remember when I was leaving seminary, there was a guy who was giving away tons of clothes. It was actually a bad situation, but I guess he made a good decision in the end, and he just wanted to get rid of all the clothes that he had. And he had piles of clothes, split this room in half and fill it with racks. That was his personal closet. Okay, eight feet tall, whatever. So I'm like, wow, this is a nice suit. And I was looking at a suit I think you know, when I get out of probably need a suit, you know, not a sport coat and pants but a suit and some nice shoes.

And so I saw these shoes and they looked real nice. And like they actually fit, like this guy's my size. This is hallelujah, this is wonderful. So I'm looking around at all this stuff. And I literally walked out of there with a pile of clothes. Armani suits, nice suits, Italian shoes. I still have them. I never wear them. But Italian shoes, right, just all kinds of stuff. And I was like, this is great. You know, we're rubbing two pennies together to try and come out here to this church of 15 people and “Lord you just blessed us. Thank you, Lord. This is wonderful.” And I remember showing up, not in the Armani, but showing up one of the first times with some old suit I had, you know, the big thing that doesn't fit. You can tell you look like a bad salesman. Nothing fits, right? Because you really don't know how to dress well and stop looking at how I'm dressed. But, you know, I showed up. And the first thing out of one of the longtime members mouth was like, “Whoa, Mr. California.” Alright, I guess I don't know the people yet. The guy was in a hat, open toed sandals, shorts. I was like, “You need to go hang with California, because that's California.”

But God just, he blessed so many people, with like closets full of clothes. They didn't have money. Most of the guys in seminary, try and live in Southern California with no job. Right? For three to four years. That's really expensive. But God blesses and God was pleased.

But then, things didn't go so well. Solomon has this eight day feast, that's in chapter eight. He has this eight day feast, he brings everyone and they're just, there's so many sacrifices, translation, like barbecue, right? They get to eat, the sacrifices. There's so many sacrifices going on. The Scripture says it was, you couldn't even count them. So just think thousands. And then 1 Kings 8:61, he's still on the right track. And Solomon declares to the people, “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in His statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

He's king. They're good. They have a huge military and everybody loves God and walks according to his Word. 1 Kings 8:66, “On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.” If Solomon had only followed his own advice.

God appears to Solomon in chapter nine, a second time. Things are still going pretty good at this point. In 1 Kings 9:6, God kind of lays it out there. And here's where we part from the health and wealth gospel. Here's where we part from all of the, you know, best life now kind of things. We just, we got to accept the good and the bad, right? We've got to accept that God is sovereign and in control of, when life is going well and when life is tanking. 1 Kings 9:6-8, “But if you turn aside from following me,” this is God talking Solomon, he's appeared to him in a dream. “But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’”

Solomon, be wholly true as you have said. Or it's all going away. Wealth and wisdom, real wisdom, are worth nothing without obedience. We equate sometimes obedience with wisdom. He's just, he's sinning because he's foolish. Does that stack up with Solomon? Solomon knew the Word, he knew the commands of God. He had a breadth of mind to speak on all subjects, accurately, with a biblical worldview. Something you could actually teach in all of the Christian colleges, right? The birds designed by God, the seas filled by God, the earth and how it was made by God. Solomon knew all these things and he knew them accurately he knew how to follow after God and it says he loved God in chapter three, Solomon loved God. But listen. Where are we at today? Where are we at TODAY with God?

Got saved when you were young, praise God. Where are you at today? “Been following God a long time. I'm on hard times.” That's not a good place to be. “I just, my hearts grown cold. I don't know what's happened.” Well, what happens is, is we love our sin more than our Savior. And Solomon, as you know, you turn to chapter 11, verse nine, as you know, he pursues the world. And we're going to talk about Solomon more. We haven't gone over Ecclesiastes yet or Proverbs, we’re going to get some more Solomon. But I think we just need to see that wealth and wisdom are worth nothing, without obedience. Without real, true, honest, heartfelt obedience. Those things aren't worth anything.

You can be the wisest, smartest person on the earth. You can know more Bible than anyone else. You can have memorized the whole Bible and know it accurately. Satan does that. But it's about our hearts. And God drives right to his heart. Look in 1 Kings 11:9-12, after all these things and Solomon had done all these things, it says, “And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.’”

What are the key phrases in those verses, in 9 through 12? What is God driving at? Verse nine, “because his heart had turned,” his heart had turned. The heart drives what we do. We talked about this in counseling yesterday, right? You can't just look at the fruit, you got to look at why the fruit is there. Right? What kind of roots do you have? Are your roots searching and grounded in pursuing God and knowing God and living for him so that your life is an abundance of the fruit of the Spirit and your life and is an abundance to God? Or are we secretly going after other things? That was Solomon.

And eventually, he did it overtly out in the open. Verse 11, this is your practice Solomon. This isn't a one-time sin. We beat ourselves up when we, when we are doing good, and we feel like you know, we're living for God. And then we fall and we just beat ourselves up for a while. That's not what this is talking about. He says, this is your practice, Solomon. Your knowledge isn't the problem. Your ability is not the problem. But you haven't kept my covenant and my statutes that I commanded you to keep. Why? Because his heart was turned away. It's always about the heart. The Old Testament, the New Testament, who are you pursuing? In all of God's blessing, Solomon made a giant playground for sin. You know, the floor of your house and my house may not be gold. But that doesn't mean that we're unlike Solomon, where we can fall into sin and turn away from God.

It's powerful to think about. Because you think, “If I only had this, I could do better and live for God better. If I only had more knowledge.” More knowledge is good. More knowledge is good. But more knowledge is not sufficient. Obeying the sufficient word is good.

“I just can't give to the Lord right now. I don't really have much.” Is that really what it's about? God said he was going to crush and tear down everything that was built, and he did so in A.D. 70. Right? Temple’s not there, it's gone. All the gold, gone. There's a 15 foot high cherubim of gold somewhere. Unless they melted it, right. Two of them. Do we pursue God the way we need to? If not, then what we've said is “God (this is what Solomon did), you've given me everything, including yourself. But I want more. I want more. And guess what, God, I am going to get more.”

Friends, you are here today because you're pursuing God. That is good. But don't just stop at being here. Don't just stop at the fellowship. Don't just stop at the serving and the giving and seeing those sweet saints that you love to talk to. Pursue God, himself. Because we can have everything in order. And if our heart is not in it, then our heart reveals where our treasure is, right? For where your treasure is there your heart will be also and. And Solomon's heart, he gave away. And unfortunately, it's never recovered. This is the point. Yeah, yeah, things would be rebuilt later, they would even come back to the city later. After the Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians tore into them, but they would come back.

But [from] here on, they're given kings after Solomon dies in chapter 11. He reigned for 40 years. And he turned it into a pagan playground. He built high places for foreign gods. So you get to pick. What God do you want? You get to pick. They had good kings and bad kings. The worst is found in chapter 16, after chapter 11, aptly named, it all goes downhill. They were bankrupt spiritually. And it just falls apart. And there are good kings and bad kings. And the bad kings, the worst of the worst was Ahab.

1 Kings 16:30, “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him.” I mean, they've done some pretty bad things up to this point. But he did more. And then there were good leaders, like Micaiah. Chapter 22, verse 14. He's trying to be influenced by this evil, King Ahab and Micaiah is a great leader. 1 Kings 22:14, “But Micaiah said, ‘As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.’” He was a man of conviction.

And then, as you know, God raised up Elijah, and we're going to come back to Elijah in Second Kings. We're gonna come back and talk about him and some of the great miracles he did. Like, he tells the king, he's like, you’re going to get rain at my word. And it happened. That was Elijah. And then he meets this widow and her son and they're about to die. And he's like, “You know before you die, make me something.” Like, whoa, alright, here. And he says, “By the way, your flower jar and your oil jar, they're not gonna run out.” Right? And he does these great miracles, and then the son passes away anyway. And then Elijah raises the son from the dead. Pretty amazing. That's in chapter 17.

And as you know, in chapter 18, you got Elijah and the prophets of Baal, the American pronunciation. And he challenges 450 prophets, to have this competition. Let's make a sacrifice and whoever's God brings down fire, that's the one we'll serve. And we'll just all serve that one. I mean it sounds like a good plan but has that ever worked in the past? Let's have a god contest and see who wins. And we'll all just magically, our hearts will follow after that one. No, that was a curse and a judgment on Baal and all his prophets. That's about all it did. And remember, this is in a time of no rain. And they're pouring buckets and buckets and buckets of water on the sacrifices. And then of course, Elijah calls down fire from God, they kill all the prophets of Baal. And then Elijah gets scared at the king's wife and runs away. Jezebel, he’s scared of her after this. It's kind of like, “Dude, what personality are we going with today? You just took on 450 prophets and all their followers, and now you're scared of this woman?” “Yep, I'm out of here.” That's Elijah.

But listen, we love all the miracles of Elijah. And he did some amazing things. But have you ever ask why God had Elijah do such amazing things. Why God showed His power through Elijah, why did he do that? It's because the nation was so broken. Right? When they conquered Jericho and came into the land, the manna has stopped. Remember that? And there's no more pillar of cloud and fire, day and night. Soon after that, that goes away. And now there's hundreds of years later, and they're still wondering, who is this God that we serve? And I wonder if churches today even know who they're serving? This following after this fad and that fad, the plan is simple. It's preach Christ and make disciples. That's the plan. Right? It's laid out in Ephesians 4:11-16. And this is how the body functions.

It's so clear, but we're like the Israelites. And we sometimes go back and forth. And we look for other things like enjoyment out of our kids, because, well, maybe God's not enough. Or enjoyment out of a spouse alone, because well, maybe God's not enough or, you know, the list goes on and on. And I just want to say that the glory of God is enough. Amen? The glory of God is enough.

At the end of Chapter 18 [1 Kings 18:46], it says, “the hand of the LORD was on Elijah.” Praise God, for men and for women, who will stand up for God, no matter what. That's Elijah. The people are going crazy. The Northern Tribes are all gone. Judah is the only one left. The Northern Tribes they call Israel and Judah is in the south. And Judah is the only one God miraculously preserves to follow David, and they're not doing that very well.

But it says, “the hand of the LORD was on Elijah.” Is that is that how you and I want to live? That no matter what, we're going to live by the power and the Word of God. And friends, that's where we're at today. That's our greatest need. It's not wealth. It's not walking on floors of gold. But if you prefer, that's okay, I guess. It's not to have, you know, a giant savings account and a nice house and a white picket fence. But if you have that, that's great. It's not about paying for all of the schooling for your kids and their college. But if you have that, that's great. Right, our greatest need is the sweet communion with Jesus Christ. That is what we need. And I just want to encourage you as we continue to see this great movement through the Old Testament pointing us to the Messiah, the redemption that is found in Christ alone, that you just savor the love of God for His people. And you pursue that and that alone.

Let's pray.

Father, there is so much about you in Scripture. There's so much Lord God to draw us to you. And Father, we just thank you for these examples that you give to us of the kings of Israel and how you put up with them, and blessed them, and forgave them, and encouraged them to follow you.

Lord, today we ask that of ourselves. That you would help us, Lord God, to with all-abandon follow you, no matter what, Lord God. Help us to be all-in as we pursue you in love and enjoy the blessed relationship that we have in Christ.

Friends, let's just take a moment right now. If you don't know Jesus, I would beg you to ask God to save you right where you sit, to confess your sins to him, and receive salvation by grace.

For those of you who do know God, let's just pray and ask God to help us to pursue him and him alone as the pinnacle of pursuit in life.

Father God, I just thank you for your Word. We thank you for salvation and complete forgiveness in Christ. Lord God, help us to live for you today by your power and for your glory. Amen.