Summary: It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with what you know. Actually, it’s not what you know; it’s WHO you know that really matters.
The Way of Wisdom (Solomon)
Rev. Brian Bill
I might not look very wise but my name is Solomon. I want to have a heart-to-heart talk with you this morning. That’s why I’m sitting on this stool. I had a really good start but I flamed out at the end of my life and I’m concerned that way too many of you are living with some cracks and compromises that if left unaddressed, will lead to a significant spiritual spin out. You may look fine on the outside but inside there may be some bad stuff going on. I know because it happened to me. How else do you explain leaders who allow lust to control their lives? How do you account for the evil deeds that Christ-followers sometimes do? Why is it that when some people approach middle-age, they go on auto-pilot and then crash in flames?
Here’s how we’re going to approach this morning. I’m going to tell my story that has been written down for you in 1 Kings 1-11. I’ll do my best to give it to you straight up – the highlights and the lowlights; my successes and my sins. I’ll try to point out where I’m at in the written word so you can follow along in your Bibles. When I’m finished I’m going to open it up for discussion. Specifically, I want you to tell me where I went wrong. Listen carefully to see how my compromises led to some counterfeit spirituality. And most importantly, be ready to tell me how you can apply these lessons to your own life. At the very minimum that should keep you awake – because you don’t know if I’ll call on you.
Let me give you a brief overview of 1 and 2 Kings. For a long time this was considered just one book. The name comes from the fact that forty different kings are mentioned, covering a period of about 400 years. The events are not always chronological but are arranged according to a theological purpose. The main motif in this section of Scripture is the importance of obedience to God’s law. Incidentally, the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles provide a parallel account with some additional insight and information.
Let me say one more thing before I start my story. I want to give you my conclusion before I begin. Here’s the major life lesson that I learned: It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with what you know.
My mother was Bathsheba and my father was King David. I’ve always carried a bit of shame because of what they did before I was born. On the other hand, because my dad married Bathsheba and he was king, I lived a life of privilege, though our family was pretty messed up. When my dad was old he started slipping physically and become rather passive (I’ve heard that men today still struggle with this). Instead of publicly appointing a king to take his place, my older brother Adonijah usurped the throne and declared himself king. My dad was not really a disciplinarian, letting us get away with things and at times just looking the other way. This ended up causing huge problems in Adonijah’s life according to 1 Kings 1:6: “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” Dads, you have to “interfere” in your kids’ lives. Nathan the prophet and my mom appealed to my father and he declared me king instead.
Right before my father died, he sat me down and gave me a charge in 1 Kings 2:2-4: “…So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’”
I’ll never forget those words: “So be strong, show yourself a man…” I wish I could say I followed them faithfully. I heard this challenge but I didn’t heed it; I knew it but I blew it. I’ve observed that many men today are just mediocre, not mighty; passive, not proactive; wimps instead of warriors. If you’re like me you’re going to need some help with this. One of my problems was that I was insulated and isolated from other men. I understand that there’s a Men’s Night Inn coming up on March 24th that is specifically geared to enable you men to become spiritually strong. I hope you’re planning to attend. My problem has always been with the doing, not the knowing, or to say it another way: It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with what you know.