Partial script for the May 1st episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 1st episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today, we cross the 1/3rd mark of our “Thru the Bible in a Year” reading plan. We are 1/3 of the way reading through the entire Bible! Congratulations on being a part of the family that has joined together on this journey.
Today’s reading is 1 Kings 10-11 and Luke 21. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
1 Kings 10
Previously, in Solomon’s prayer recorded for us in 1 Kings 8, he acknowledged that the Lord’s plan for Israel and their Temple was not merely for the one nation of Israel – His desires were ultimately for all the nations.
1 Kings 8:41-43 (CSB): “41 Even for the foreigner who is not of your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name — 42 for they will hear of your great name, strong hand, and outstretched arm, and will come and pray toward this temple — 43 may you hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all the foreigner asks. Then all peoples of earth will know your name, to fear you as your people Israel do and to know that this temple I have built bears your name.”
As the Lord responds in a vision to Solomon in 1 Kings 9, He speaks of the nations. He notes that if the people of Israel fall into disobedience and He sends his people off to captivity, the nations will mock Israel and her God.
1 Kings 9:6-7 (CSB): “6 If you or your sons turn away from following me and do not keep my commands—my statutes that I have set before you—and if you go and serve other gods and bow in worship to them, 7 I will cut off Israel from the land I gave them, and I will reject the temple I have sanctified for my name. Israel will become an object of scorn and ridicule among all the peoples.”
As we arrive at 1 Kings 10, we are still in the short period of time where Israel has not yet had time to disobey. The Lord is blessing them with His presence. The Lord is in their Temple, is blessing its people, and has given incredible wisdom to their king.
And the nations are coming!
1 Kings 10:1 (CSB): “The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame connected with the name of the LORD and came to test him with difficult questions.”
We’ve heard of the Queen of Sheba, but many folks don’t know where Sheba was located. It is generally believed to have been a thousand or more miles south of Jerusalem in what is now Saudi Arabia or at the southern tip of the peninsula in what is now called Yemen.
So, was the queen of Sheba impressed with Israel?
1 Kings 10:4-5 (CSB): “4 When the queen of Sheba observed all of Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, 5 the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he offered at the LORD’s temple, it took her breath away.”
But God never intended for Israel to be an object of praise. His blessings upon them were intended to cause people to praise their God.
So, what did the Queen of Sheba’s experience with the wonders of Israel lead her to do? It led her to worship the Lord.
1 Kings 10:9 (CSB): “Blessed be the LORD your God! He delighted in you and put you on the throne of Israel, because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel. He has made you king to carry out justice and righteousness.”
Honestly, this is the way things should be for us. We should live in such a way that others are drawn to our God, not us. If we live so that people praise us, and the praise stops there, then we aren’t truly living for the Lord. We’re living for ourselves. We need to make adjustments so that people are drawn to Jesus by how we live.
In the rest of this chapter, from verses 14-29, we are made aware of the immense wealth of Solomon.
1 Kings 10:23 (CSB): “King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches and in wisdom.”
For the New Testament Christian, we look at his wealth and realize that we are far richer! God gave His own Son to pay our sin debt and credit us with His perfect righteousness. Our bodies are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit. God is now our father, and Jesus is our elder brother. We have direct access by faith in prayer to the very Throne Room of Heaven. Jesus has made us His co-heirs so that we will share in the wealth of Heaven one day. But our greatest wealth is that we get to enjoy the Lord both now and forever, to our heart’s content.
Honestly, as wealthy as Solomon was, he had nothing on us.
1 Kings 11
In 1 Kings 10, we were on cloud nine. The Temple has been completed. The nations were coming to Solomon and praising the Lord. Solomon’s wealth was unmatched by anyone. It was incredible.
But, as we step into 1 Kings 11, the balloon pops, and we fall to earth – hard. God had made a conditional promise to David and then to Solomon that as long as they obeyed His commands, He would bless them. But if they disobeyed, bad things would happen. Well, bad things are at the door.
1 Kings 11:1-3 (CSB): “1 King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women 2 from the nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn your heart away to follow their gods.” To these women Solomon was deeply attached in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred who were concubines, and they turned his heart away.”
It’s interesting that Solomon is the one who wrote and compiled the book of Proverbs. It is filled with so much wisdom. Yet, like us, he knew truths but didn’t always comply with it. Like this next verse…
Proverbs 13:20 (CSB): “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Solomon wasn’t merely spending time with people who did not obey or even know the Lord; he was marrying them! His downfall was inevitable.
Honestly, this is a great time for us to take a gut check. Who are we spending time with? We need to realize that Jesus spent much time with sinners with a desire to draw them to the truth and to the Lord. But He is God and had the ability to keep from sinning even as He spent time with sinners. So, as we follow His example, we should also desire to spend time with sinners to share the Gospel with them. But we must be careful that our relationship with them is a means of helping them up, not pulling us down.
When we read that Solomon was building altars to pagan gods so that his wives could worship them, it’s as if we are watching a train wreck unfold in slow motion. We know this is going to end horribly.
1 Kings 11:9-10 (CSB): “9 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. 10 He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the LORD had commanded.”
So what happened next? What happened after Solomon demonstrated that he wasn’t following the Lord? Well, God was true to His promises. Disobedience in Solomon’s life, and in our own, brings consequences and punishment.
Listen to what the Lord said to Solomon…
1 Kings 11:11 (CSB): “Then the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Since you have done this and did not keep my covenant and my statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.’”
However, in an act of grace, the Lord said that Solomon would finish his reign, die, and then the kingdom would split. However, one tribe would remain under the rule of David’s descendants, the tribe of Judah.
For the New Testament believer, we can see how God is working His will out even as Solomon exercises his own sinful free will. Jesus, God’s own Son, will one day come to live among us so that He can pay the sin debt of everyone who will trust in Him and credit them with His righteousness. What tribe of Israel was He from?
To get that answer, we can go to many places in Scripture, including the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3. But let’s look at the book of Revelation into a Heavenly scene. Jesus is the one who will open the scroll and begin judgment upon planet earth. But listen to how He is described…
Revelation 5:5 (CSB): “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”
So even as Solomon’s sin caused God to bring devastating consequences, the Lord was still unhindered in working out His divine plan. Friend, we ought to be so glad that even in our sin, even though it oftentimes brings consequences upon us, our God is continuing to work out His plan. We aren’t powerful enough to mess His plan up.
In verses 14-40, we read about the enemies that the Lord raised up against Solomon. These enemies were part of God’s judgment upon the king, who had willfully gone off into sin and disobedience against the God who had been so good to him.
The one enemy I want to specifically highlight is a man named Jereboam. Listen to the biblical account…
1 Kings 11:26 (CSB): “Now Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam son of Nebat, was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His widowed mother’s name was Zeruah. Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon,”
The reason we are given for why Jereboam rebelled against Solomon was that the prophet, Ahijah, told him that the Lord would give him ten of the tribes of Israel to rule. Here is some of what Ajijah told Jereboam…
1 Kings 11:36-37 (CSB): “36 I will give one tribe to his son, so that my servant David will always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city I chose for myself to put my name there. 37 I will appoint you, and you will reign as king over all you want, and you will be king over Israel.”
Then, Ahijah says that the Lord will bless Jereboam and his reign if he is obedient to the Lord.
It’s really simple, isn’t it? If we obey, the Lord will bless us. If we disobey, the Lord will punish and bring consequences upon us. Why in the world do we often willfully choose to disobey? We do so to our own harm and rob God of glory.
When Solomon heard that Jereboam was now a threat to the throne, he responded…
1 Kings 11:40 (CSB): “Therefore, Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt, to King Shishak of Egypt, where he remained until Solomon’s death.”
Then, as 1 Kings 11 ends, we read of Solomon’s death. His son, Rehoboam, becomes king. And God’s Word regarding the split in the kingdom is about to occur. Because of a leader’s sin, a nation is about to feel the devastating effects.
In verses 1-4, Jesus was in the Temple area with His disciples. As they watched people dropping money into the box, they saw a widow drop only two small coins.
No doubt, the disciples would have looked down upon her small gift. But Jesus made it clear that the Lord doesn’t look at the amount. He looks at the sacrifice or lack thereof. Because the widow’s two small coins were all that they had, they were worth more in Heaven’s eyes than the enormous amount of money that some other worshipers were putting in.
In verses 5-6, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple complex. Realize that the Temple in Jerusalem during Jesus’ ministry wasn’t Solomon’s Temple. It was the Temple built by Zerubbabel. And when we read passages like Ezra 3:12, we can’t help but realize that Zerubbabel’s temple was smaller and very inferior to Solomon’s. However, fortunately for the Jews of the early first century, Herod had done some impressive upgrades to the Temple. But none of that matters because Jesus told them that there was coming a day when not one stone would be left on top of another.
Naturally, after hearing this, the disciples wanted to know when these things would happen. So, beginning in verse 7, we hear Jesus speaking of the troubles to come.
But realize that Jesus was speaking to His immediate audience. They were Jews living in the first century. So, His answer was tailored to them, not us. Trying to see it through their eyes helps us to get the correct interpretation.
Realize that some of what Jesus says is yet in the future, even to us. Some of the things Jesus spoke about hasn’t happened yet. But some of what Jesus told them would be fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman commander, Titus, ransacked Jerusalem and completely destroyed their Temple. Essentially, the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was but a shadow of the destruction to come upon planet earth in the future.
Something Jesus said sounds a bit cryptic but the Apostle Paul unpacked it for us. First, listen to Jesus’ words…
Luke 21:24 (CSB): “They will be killed by the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
So, we hear in these words that those in Jerusalem will be killed, which happened in A.D. 70. Then Jesus tells us that some of the Jews will “be led captive into all the nations.” That points to the fact that the Jews are a scattered people, living even currently in all of the nations.
But what does Jesus mean when He talked about the hope that will take place after “the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled?” The Apostle Paul answered this question in Romans 11. Listen to just one verse where Paul speaks of the fact that the Jews will welcome their Messiah after the time of the Gentiles…
Romans 11:25-26 (CSB): “… A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved…”
So, we now live in the time when God is saving the Gentiles, those who are non-Jews. If you have visited Israel as my wife and I have, you realize that Israel is probably one of the most secular nations on the fact of the earth. But there is yet a time in the future when the Jews will welcome their Messiah. Let us pray for that time to come.
We look forward to the time, should it happen in our lifetimes when the following words take place!
Luke 21:27-28 (CSB): “27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near.”
In verses 29-33, Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree. Jesus said that when they saw the leaves on the fig trees, they could determine that summer was near. Even so, when they saw the things that Jesus was telling them about, they could determine that the end was near, when eternity in Heaven would begin.
So, it makes sense that in verses 34-38, Jesus told His listeners to be watchful. We are to live each moment of every day prepared to meet Jesus should He come to get us during our lifetimes.
Are you ready for Him, friend? Are you presently trusting in Him to save you from God’s wrath directed at sin and sinners? Are you living the kind of life that demonstrates that Jesus has taken up residence on the throne of your heart? I truly hope so.