Summary: The message chronicles Solomon’s heart slowly turning away from the Lord.
As we saw in last week’s message compromise is the first sign that character erosion is taking place. Solomon’s story is quite tragic as it shows the dangers of compromise and disobedience. When you take one step in the wrong direction—a direction that you know is unwise—it can lead to ungodly actions and ultimately destruction. Of course, the enemy’s lie to you is: “A little bit of that is not going to hurt you. You can handle it.” Concessions usually begin in small, insignificant ways, so it’s easy to underestimate their potential for damage. Compromise isn’t usually a huge act of disobedience; more often, it starts as a minor slip in your thinking or behavior toward God. The slope becomes slippery, and each subsequent act of disobedience is easier to rationalize. Every little accommodation weakens your conscience and makes it more difficult to reverse the downhill trend. We need to realize that whenever we compromise in our lives we are walking dangerously close to the edge of a cliff, where one carless step can send our lives spiraling out of control. Everyone lives their life according to a certain set of principles but the question is which of these principles are open for negotiation and which are not. When it comes to moral values and other principles spelled out in God’s Word there is no room for negotiation. God warned Solomon against alliances with Egypt, but he bypassed the Lord’s instruction to buy horses. Eventually, Solomon found himself agreeing to an alliance with Egypt and marrying Pharaoh’s daughter. It wasn’t long before King Solomon took more wives who worshiped pagan gods. The result was that by the time Solomon was old his wives turned his heart away from the Lord. Today I want us to take a good look at the danger of compromise and how it can send our lives spiraling out of control.
I. The greater Solomon became the less important God was in his life.
A. God gave Solomon incredible wealth and fame.
1. Solomon’s yearly income averaged 666 talents (twenty-five tons) in gold from all sources, including commerce and taxes.
2. In addition there was an unspecified amount of income from tolls or tariffs from the various merchants and business agents that traveled through the land, as well as tribute from conquered kings.
3. The ceremonial shields that Solomon kept in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. "These shields, like all the shields of the ancients, were made of wood or basket-work, but were different in the fact they were covered with gold plate instead of leather".
4. The ivory throne, overlaid with finest gold, was a large and imposing object, in keeping with the symbolism of the seat of justice and ruler-ship of a great kingdom. The armrests were flanked by lions, as were each of the six steps
5. The trading ships are literally "ships of Tarshish." Most likely this name referred to large merchant ships designed to carry ore. They were seaworthy enough to travel long distances under difficult weather conditions. These ships came to be used for other types of cargo as well.
B. God gave Solomon almost unlimited power.
1. The countries that David had conquered remained subject to Solomon and brought him tribute throughout his reign. This was one of the noteworthy signs of God’s blessing in keeping with the Davidic covenant.
2. The usual experience of ancient empire builders was that when the old king died, the subject nations would withhold tribute and challenge the new king in rebellion.
3. This necessitated repeated punitive expeditions to reinforce the former king’s terms and to prove the ability of the new king to enforce his will. The Lord so blessed Solomon that he did not have to do this.
4. Solomon’s kingdom was a peaceful and prosperous one. With control over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates, Solomon was able to provide peace and security for his people.
C. God’s blessings enabled Solomon to enjoy the finest pleasures of life.
1. Solomon turned to sensual pleasures, such as the enjoyment of drink, which so easily becomes the folly of overindulgence.
2. Yet he still kept a hold of himself so that he could analyze his experiences and see whether they proved to be the answer to all human desires.
3. Solomon decided to use his wealth in a variety of ways to pursue and purchase any pleasure that his heart desired.
4. In the end Solomon discovered that money and the pleasures it can buy do not lift us out of the realm of earthbound frustration.
II. Solomon’s main problem was that he was slowly losing his sensitivity toward God.
A. Solomon failed to take God seriously and would not allow himself to be accountable to Him.
1. Solomon disregarded the command Moses gave in regard to marrying foreign women because they would turn the king’s heart away from the Lord.