Sermons

Summary: Should we do as much as we can as well as we can for as long as we can? Should we seek to reach our full potential? Or, instead, should we be thinking of the long term consequences of what we do?

Wisdom Marred by Obsession

(I Kings 4)

Reception Grade (how it went over: interest, compliments, etc.): A

Intro

1. Once the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. "What did he find?" asked the cohort. "A piece of the truth," the Devil replied. "Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?" asked the cohort. "No," said the Devil, "I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it."

Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths - Living with Biblical Tensions, 1990, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 35. (cited by www.higherpraise.org)…

2. Truth out of balance becomes untruth.

3. We all know the story of King Midas touch….soon, he could not touch anything…it was a curse….in moderation, if he could turn it on or off, it would have been wonderful.

4. But King Solomon was anything but moderate. He was give to extremes, he was obsessive, he went overboard to a degree that only a man in his position could. He had an addictive personality. In some ways, this benefited his nation; in other ways, it hurt it.

5. Although Solomon had to learn some lessons the hard way, toward the end of his life, he wrote Ecclesiastes. He wrote: "One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind." (Eccl. 4:6).

6. But Solomon had to learn this the hard way, and in old age.

7. Solomon was obsessed with quality. What he did was done well. Solomon was obsessed with quantity. He was convinced that more was better. But when you are obsessed with quality and quantity, you usually fail when it comes to sustainability.

Like many of us, Solomon needed to learn to do less, but to do the right things.

Should we do as much as we can as well as we can for as long as we can? Should we seek to reach our full potential? Or, instead, should we be thinking of the long term consequences of what we do?

I. Solomon CARRIES Israel to New Heights (4:1-34)

A. A Competent ADMINISTRATIVE team (1-19)

B. An Awesome ECONOMY (20, 25)

C. A Massive EMPIRE (21)

D. An Extravagant INFRASTRUCTURE (22-24, 26-28)

1. Needed to rule such a vast kingdom (21)

2. Needed provisions to supply a vast staff (22-24)

3. To supply a vast military (26)

4. To collect taxes (27)

E. The wisest, most EDUCATED, and most RESPECTED Leader (29-34)

1. Wiser than the 4 men who descended from Judah (30) see I Chron. 2:6

2. Greater than the wisdom of Egypt: geometry, astronomy, medicine

3. A Renaissance man, sort of a Leonard Da Vinci

"The Duke kept Leonardo busy painting and sculpting and designing elaborate court festivals, but he also put Leonardo to work designing weapons, buildings and machinery. From 1485 to 1490, Leonardo produced a studies on loads of subjects, including nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture (designing everything from churches to fortresses). His studies from this period contain designs for advanced weapons, including a tank and other war vehicles, various combat devices, and submarines. Also during this period, Leonardo produced his first anatomical studies. His Milan workshop was a veritable hive of activity, buzzing with apprentices and students." (www.mos.org/leonardo/bio.html)

Should we do as much as we can as well as we can for as long as we can? Should we seek to reach our full potential? NO!

II. But Solomon’s Kingdom Was Not Sustainable

A. RESENTMENT by an unfair tax policy

1. Progress takes MONEY

2. Solomon’s Tribe, Judah, paid NO TAXES

B. He BURNED OUT the nation (I Kings 12:1-15)

He was like a slave-driver; one project to another, no break in between…

More military conscription….more legally required labor….more taxes…

At first it was exciting…then tiring…then a burden….then angering (Jeroboam)

By the time Solomon’s reign was over, the people had had enough…

C. Great LEGACY plundered

D. What he could have done instead:

1. Invested energy in training his successor, Rehoboam (mentoring)

2. Being even handed with taxes

3. Nurturing co-operation and being sensitive to his people’s wishes

4. Ruling by consent rather than fear (started that way)

5. Focused on a few projects (Temple, walls, water) instead of doing it all

E. Solomon had an addictive personality: hundreds of wives/concubines….he tried everything to the extreme, as recorded in Ecclesiastes…he finally learned that it was all vanity…that balance and simple pleasures were the best…

F. The world’s great dictators or monarchs – like many celebrities -- are often not healthy mentally…their personal lives are messes, they are obsessed, driven, and tormented…as Solomon reveals about himself in Ecclesiastes…

Should we do as much as we can as well as we can for as long as we can? Should we seek to reach our full potential?

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