Summary: from a series through the life of Solomon. A look at the way Solomon's relationships impacted his life, and the way our closest relationships will impact us.
Pre intro, at the beginning of worship services: I’d like you to watch a video this morning, featuring those 2 famous theologians, Jed and Jethro Clampet as they discuss Jethro’s insights into relationships…
(clip from “Beverly Hillbillies” - look for this on Sermonspice)
Relationships. We all have them. We’re all affected by them – probably more than we realize. This entire thing we call Christianity is really summarized by relationships. Jesus said that the whole OT Law was summarized in 2 commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Love God, love people. Wouldn’t that make a good slogan? Relationships.
This morning, we’re going to be talking about relationships – especially those that are closest to us. Sure, we’re going to be asking you to consider your relationship with Jesus the most. Nothing could be more important this morning. But we also want you to consider it in light of your other relationships. What does your relationship with your closest companions have to do with relationship with God?
Re-Intro – (show another clip: Ellie May and Jed Clampet, also on Sermonspice)
Told you we were talking about relationships this morning!
When Israel entered the land of Canaan, they were warned by God specifically not to get caught up in worshiping their false gods. That included Chemosh. He was the national god of the Moabites. The Moabites were even called “the people of Chemosh.” Chemosh was worshiped chiefly by child sacrifice, especially the offering of a first-born son.
Molech (or Milcom or Malcam) was basically the same, but was the national god of the Ammonites. Molech was worshiped by offering children as burnt sacrifices. A huge metal image of him would be heated by a fire inside, and the children would be thrown to him to burn.
And there’s Ashteroth -- goddess of the Philistines and Sidonians. She was worshiped by ritual immorality. Men and women paid temple prostitutes for their immoral acts. Ashteroth would then supposedly bless the crops and grant fertility to the women, who could then keep their children or sacrifice them as they chose. By the way, alcohol consumption was also part of the worship ceremonies.
Pretty bad stuff. Pretty far away from what God had called His people to do. Even farther away from what King Solomon should have done. But look what we read about his later years as king:
He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.
Solomon, who built the magnificent temple for God, later built places for worshiping false gods. Only, it wasn’t just a building project. It wasn’t just to have something to do.
The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although the first command was to have no other gods before God Almighty, Solomon didn’t keep the Lord's command.
Even the wisest man in history can choose to be a fool.
What happened to Solomon? When an airplane crashes, the search for the flight recorder is a vital part of understanding what went wrong. They call it “the black box.” Once it’s located and studied, it helps reveal if there was a mechanical failure, a human error, or some external condition that contributed to the crash.
When we open up and study the black box of Solomon’s crash near the end of his career, it’s stated very plainly: Solomon stumbled because of relationships, specifically with his wives.
It makes me ask: if relationships can take a man of such stature, such status, such wisdom and accomplishment as King Solomon and lead him in a direction so completely opposite of God, what might relationships do to me – for good or for bad?
That deserves our attention. So, let’s talk about our relationships with other people this morning – especially the people closest to us.
I. Our Relationships Will Make an Impact
I always counsel couples getting ready for marriage that marriage isn’t a reform school.
The groom and his attendants are all lined up at the front. Here comes the bride, “I’m coming to you, Darling!” and she walks down the aisle, and up front to a place that a lot of people wrongly refer to as “the altar,” and last of all, she gets to YOU. And that’s the order that a lot of them follow from then on: