TEEN TREE            OF LIFE

God’s Goodness – Part 11

June 13, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

At the end of last week’s study, we looked at the Old Sin Nature. We learned that Adam acquired an Old Sin Nature immediately after he sinned and it’s passed down through his seed to all mankind. Each of our Old Sin Natures has an area of weakness. For Solomon, his tendency to sin came from his lust for women.

 

We looked at Paul’s statement about carnality and the trap of living  a life without God’s Word as your focus: It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. (GAL 5:19-24 The Message Bible) This describes what happened to Solomon as a result of his endless pursuit of women. Paul’s words stand as a warning to all believers to beware of having this happen in our lives. The lesson for us is that if we fall by allowing our Old Sin Nature to cloud our judgment, Our Heavenly Father will still treat us with Love and Goodness! He will always be there for us but we have to get back in His Plan for our lives when we make bad choices or our lives will be ruined.

 

Our Christian walks boil down to this – we either walk by means of the Spirit or we carry out the desires of the flesh from the Old Sin Nature. There is obviously a battle going on within each of us as a result of the Old Sin Nature. Look at GAL 5:16-18 (The Message Bible): My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are contrary to each other, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? If we obey these commands, we will live freely, and be filled with zeal for the Lord which is motivated by God The Holy Spirit.

 

TIT 2:11-14 (The Message Bible) teaches us that vital lesson: God’s grace has now appeared. By his grace, God offers to save all people. His grace teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful desires. We must control ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in today’s world. That’s how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in his glory. He is our great God and Savior. He gave himself for us. By doing that, he set us free from all evil. He wanted to make us pure. He wanted us to be his very own people. He wanted us to desire to do what is good. When you do what this passage says, then you won’t feed the compulsions of lusts, selfishness, or ungodly desires.

 

Our Old Sin Nature won’t be removed from our bodies until the moment of our physical deaths. But it’s so important to know that the Old Sin Nature has been crucified positionally in every believer: Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer captive to sin’s demands! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (ROM 6:6-11 The Message Bible)

 

Solomon’s Old Sin Nature led him to carnality because he had an issue with women. Despite having his every physical and spiritual need met in abundance, he decided he also needed lots of women in his life. As we learned earlier in our study, the Bible tells us Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The women were from foreign lands and they worshiped foreign gods.

 

Look at 1 KINGS 11:1-5 The Message Bible: King Solomon was obsessed with women. Pharaoh’s daughter was only the first of the many foreign women he loved—Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite. He took them from the surrounding pagan nations of which God had clearly warned Israel, “You must not marry them; they’ll seduce you into infatuations with their gods.” Solomon fell in love with them anyway, refusing to give them up. He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines—a thousand women in all! And they did seduce him away from God. As Solomon grew older, his wives beguiled him with their alien gods and he became unfaithful—he didn’t stay true to his God as his father David had done. Solomon took up with Ashtoreth, the whore goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the horrible god of the Ammonites.

 

The Bible is pretty clear that this was not what God intended or desired. Even before the Israelites reached the promised land, God warned that a king with many wives would be led astray by his heart. Look at DEUT 17:14-17 (The Message Bible): When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, “I’m going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me,” make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don’t take a foreigner—only a kinsman. And make sure he doesn’t build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because God told you, “You’ll never go back there again!” And make sure he doesn’t build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he doesn’t pile up a lot of silver and gold.

 

Sadly, Solomon had learned all of this. Remember, God Himself said that Solomon knew His Commands and Laws. As king of God’s chosen people, and as someone who had been blessed with God’s wisdom, Solomon couldn’t NOT have known these things. And still, he chose to take hundreds of women as his wives and lovers. But the Bible doesn’t shy away from telling us this, and it’s directly tied to Solomon’s downfall. Since many of these women worshipped gods, Solomon would’ve been facing constant pressure to join them in the rituals, traditions, and beliefs that they had been accustomed to following.

 

Since ancient religions were so deeply embedded in their cultures of origin, when Solomon married foreigners, he ended up exposing the Israelites to other gods, rituals, and traditions. Idols were revered as the embodiment of the gods they represented, so bringing idols (and idol-worshippers) into the palace brought him under the influence of these other gods. Solomon’s wives turned his heart toward other gods and in kind, he turned Israel’s heart toward them, too.

 

While the Israelites had no idols or images of Yahweh (the God of Israel), they were surrounded by idols and constantly seeing royalty sacrifice to other gods. Solomon built Yahweh a beautiful temple to house the ark of the covenant. But he also accumulated so much wealth that precious metals became as common as stones, and he dedicated prominent places to foreign gods.

 

Think about this: at the start of his reign, Solomon established a special place for God. But by the end of his reign, Solomon’s temple was just one of many places to honor one of many gods, and the house he built for Yahweh was overshadowed by the places people went to worship and serve other gods. What a sad and tragic end to a life with such promise!

 

1KIN 11: 9-13 The Message Bible recounts what happened after all of this had taken place: God was furious with Solomon for abandoning the God of Israel, the God who had twice appeared to him and had so clearly commanded him not to fool around with other gods. Solomon faithlessly disobeyed God’s orders. God said to Solomon, “Since this is the way it is with you, that you have no intention of keeping faith with me and doing what I have commanded, I’m going to rip the kingdom from you and hand it over to someone else. But out of respect for your father David I won’t do it in your lifetime. It’s your son who will pay—I’ll rip it right out of his grasp. Even then I won’t take it all; I’ll leave him one tribe in honor of my servant David and out of respect for my chosen city Jerusalem.”

 

Over and above all the splendor in his life, God had blessed Solomon with more discernment and wisdom than any of us will ever have—and yet he fell. Hard. His desire for those women and their gods blinded his wisdom and he allowed it to replace his love for God. The back end of his life became a shattered mess that only vaguely resembled its former one. Things didn’t end well for Solomon. And if it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

{to be continued}

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