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Summary: The sermon deals with a costly habit in Ben Hadad’s life. It also deals with the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

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Avoiding Costly Mistakes at All Costs - Costly Habits

I Kings 20:1-11

Pastor Don Jones

West Glendale Baptist Church

In the early years of the 20th century, a woman’s movement took the states by storm. Their cause was not equal rights, but rather the prohibition of a common product: alcohol. It was called the "Temperance Movement" and it was built on the belief the booze was the cause of many social ills and was a hindrance to civilized society.

• One of every eight Americans has a significant problem with alcohol or drugs, with 40 percent of the group having a "dual diagnosis," or concurrent mental/nervous disorder;

• Approximately 27 million Americans either use illicit drugs regularly or are "heavy drinkers." Of these almost 16 million are estimated to need immediate treatment;

• By age eighteen, almost 12 percent of all young people are illicit drug users;

• An untreated alcoholic’s medical costs are approximately 300 percent higher than non-alcoholic’s medical costs;

• Approximately 70 percent of illegal drug users are employed and contribute significantly to workplace absenteeism, accidents and injuries, decreased productivity, increased insurance expenses, employee turnover costs and on-the-job violence;

• The estimated annual direct cost to our society resulting from substance abuse is more than 250 billion dollars;

• It is generally accepted that chemical dependency, along with associated mental health disorders, has become one of the most severe health and social problems facing the United States.*

* Source: SAMHSA (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Amazing isn’t it. This only includes illegal drugs and under age drinking, and not prescription drug abuse. Let me give you some research involving our teens.

Alcohol and Youth Facts

Alcohol is a leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers. It contributes substantially to adolescent motor vehicle crashes, other traumatic injuries, suicide, date rape, and family and school problems.

Every day, on average, 11,318 American youth (12 to 20 years of age) try alcohol for the first time, compared with 6,488 for marijuana; 2,786 for cocaine; and 386 for heroin.

Alcohol is by far the most used and abused drug among America’s teenagers. According to a national survey, nearly one third (31.5%) of all high school students reported hazardous drinking (5+ drinks in one setting) during the 30 days preceding the survey.

Children who are drinking alcohol by 7th grade are more likely to report academic problems, substance use, and delinquent behavior in both middle school and high school. By young adulthood, early alcohol use was associated with employment problems, other substance abuse, and criminal and other violent behavior.

Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21.

More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.

The "Temperance Movement", were they merely crazy ladies? Were they just looking to pick on the men of the day or were they really on to something? The statistics involving not only alcohol, but other drugs both legal and illegal, indicate that these women were on to something.

Today we are going to look at the third costly mistake part one: costly habits. This is one of those gray areas in scripture. Not addiction, it is a clearly forbidden in scripture, but consumption is not a black and white issue. But I hope you walk out with a better understanding of the freedom Jesus brings and the responsibility you have to other believers at the end of part two.

Cue slide - The Players and Problem

It involves three key players God, Ben-Hadad, and Ahab. First let’s look at Ben-Hadad. He was at the verge of becoming the most powerful men on earth. He was the leader of an alliance of 32 kings and approximately 130,000 fighting men. They had the latest technology of war including horses and chariots. I realize that this is not much of a threat today, but he was in possession of all the latest weaponry of that day. Verse 1-3 gives us his purpose. It says.

Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. 2He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: 3‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’”

The battle had not taken place. Before anything had happened, including the battle, he was giving Ahab, the king of Israel, terms of surrender. He wanted all the valuables plus all the beautiful women. An old eastern proverb says, "Let not the one who starts the fight boast prematurely". We would say, "Don’t count your chickens before they hatch". Ben-Hadad was counting his win before it happened. Unfortunately for him, he was not aware of or he was ignoring the power of God.

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