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Do you have a spiritual maintenance program

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We are continuing to looking at King Solomon.  A man that was blessed by God in such a unique way, he is blessed with wisdom, wealth, prestige and power.  A man that some of you today may say that if I had a fraction of his wisdom, wealth or power, I would be so much better off than I am today.  But I ask you today to listen to what God says;

1 Kings 11:1-10. Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded.

There is so much that is here in this text, but today, I would like to focus on one point.  That point is the question; how did this outrage occur?  My answer is that this occurs because of poor spiritual maintenance.  My question of application to you is; do you have a spiritual maintenance program and if you do, what is it like?

I read to you 10 verses from 1 Kings Chapter eleven but the point I would like for you to see today is found in verse four.  This twelve word statement that makeup part of this verse is the answer to the question; how could this occur.  Listen again to the entire verse; “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.”  The twelve word statement of focus is, “and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.”

Solomon starts off in the right direction for in chapter three we find the statements that Solomon loved the Lord.  When the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night and asks him what shall I give you, Solomon’s answer is pleasing to the Lord.  But Solomon got caught up in all the stuff that the Lord was doing for him and his maintenance of his spiritual side was poor.  Let me make this clearer for you by drawing from the New Testament and emphasizing what God is doing here early in Solomon’s life.

1 John 2:15-17. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Now, my brothers and sisters is this a command that you can say Amen to from your heart or is it a command that causes you to develop excuses and blames because you have issues with it?  Are you fooling yourself and saying all is well when it is not?

In this church house, this sanctuary, is this the place, where you may give all of the appropriate answers.  You may say; I really love the Lord more than this world, in this place!  Others of you may say I love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, and with my entire mind, yes I love the Lord more than the world, while you are sitting here in the sanctuary.

But New Hope, bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name, for the Lord is much wiser than I.  Listen to how the Lord asks a similar question in this Old Testament passage.

1 Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.”  Notice, it’s night, Solomon is asleep, and the Lord appears in a dream presenting the question.

Now in this context, what would you ask for?  All guards are down and your sub-conscious mind is active, what are you dwelling on?  Solomon, who still falls away, gives an answer that is pleasing to the Lord.  How close would your answer be to actually pleasing the Lord?

It can be concluded, therefore, that Solomon starts off in the right direction, the direction of being pleasing to the Lord.  And God demonstrates to Solomon something that Paul would write about in a New Testament letter to the saints in Ephesus.  Paul writes that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.  I like how the ‘New King James version’ states this; He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. 

It is important that you see this New Hope, so listen to the scriptures again;

1 Kings 3:10-14. It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

But Solomon’s father David also wrote something else in Psalms 14 and 53 and Paul quotes from it in Romans 3 and we see it illustrated in our text today;

Romans 3:10-18. as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

And also;

Romans 3:23. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And thus with Solomon, his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.  Solomon was the man who built the temple for the living God and God appeared to and talked with, and he is the one who had a heart that was not wholly true to the Lord and disobeyed God’s commands.  It is the subtle things that can be justified, political marriages, and over indulgence all in the name of the kingdom and the Lord.  And King Solomon did all of that.  Just listen to what Scriptures says about his wealth.

1 Kings 10:14-29. Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold,

(Allow me to put this in everyday language, 1 Talent = 75 pounds and that is 1200 oz.  On today’s market, gold sells for around $775.00 per oz.  Therefore one Talent of gold would have a market value of $930,000.00 today.  Thus in this case of 666 talents of gold, we are looking at $619,380,000.00 in one year that came to Solomon) besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield (each shield would be worth $186,000.00 on today’s market total for 200 would be $37,200,000.00). And he made 300shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield (these shield would be worth $46,500 a piece for a total of $13,950,000.00 and that is a total of $51,159,000.00 in shields and what did he do with them, listen). And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and at the back of the throne was a calf’s head, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon (today silver sells for about $20 an oz.). For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah. And Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price. A chariot could be imported from Egypt for 600shekels of silver and a horse for 150, and so through the king’s traders they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.

This is how chapter 10 ends and chapter 11 starts with a slap in the face.  My brothers and sisters even with wisdom, wealth, prestige, and power, if you are doing nothing to maintain your faith and your love for the Lord, it will dissipate. 

In this world where there is nothing new under the sun, you know that stuff wears out and the best way to keep it moving and functioning in the correct way is to have a good maintenance program for it.  You have maintenance work performed on your car to keep it running properly (oil change and wheel alignment).  You should have a maintenance schedule for your home in order to keep things functioning correctly and that there are no surprises when you need things.  There are even maintenance and diagnostics programs available for your computers in order to keep them running at peak form.  The medical world are informing us to maintain our physical bodies with proper diet and exercise in order to live more healthy lives.  Studies are showing that a possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease may be more active use of our brains with reading and mind puzzles.

It is all around us, just like in the day of Solomon.  1Kings 10 tells of  how Solomon maintained his wealth and prestige but we see nothing about some type of spiritual maintenance and thus his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.

What hobbies, ambitions, goals, or desires are you engaged in today, designed to better yourself?  Now what are you doing to maintain your spiritual well being and your spiritual health?  Are the activities that you are involved in draining the spiritual life from you as King Solomon’s did or are they enhancing your spiritual life. 

Jesus said; Matthew 22:37. And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Can you stand before God and say; I am committed to doing that as I am doing it now!

Some of you may say, if I had just a fraction of what King Solomon had, life would be so much better.  I ask you today would it really.  Is the suffering worth the benefit?  Because of this King’s sins and because he was in the role of leadership, many followed and sinned also and this lead to a divided kingdom, an oppressed people and a suffering nation.  And it was because of Israel’s sin that the prophetic movement increased where you have Ahijah, Elijah, Elisha and Isaiah coming to warn the people to repent.

Do you realize if you are in a leadership role, it is more than just about you?  Husbands, fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, oldest child, teachers, supervisors, principles, pastors or just someone that somebody else looks up to, what is your spiritual maintenance program like if you have one.

And if you don’t have one then listen, you need to get one!  That is workable when you leave this place today.  Here is one program that is user friendly.

Philippians 2:12-16. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

And in conclusion:

Philippians 2:12-16. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Let us pray!

And the Church said, Amen!

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