The Humble Way of Wisdom and the Subtle Trap of Compromise

Lighthouse Leader Study Guide

Date: February 11, 2018

Series: The kings and the King: Season 3 (1 Kings)

1 Kings 3:1-5:18

This Week’s Printable Resources:

Memory Verse for This Week

Proverbs 9:10—The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Core Practice: Prayer

Prayer (Psalm 66:16-20): I pray to God to know Him, to lay my request before Him and to find direction for my daily life.

Take Home Truth

Wisdom comes from God, is perfectly personified in the Son of God, and is available to the people of God to keep us from compromising our walk with God.


Introduction

If you were given the opportunity to ask for anything in the world, what would you ask for?

Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?

Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.


Read the Text

With the death of his father, David, Solomon now sits on Israel’s throne. Those who challenged his authority are dead, and he is beginning to rule the people of God. In a dream, the Lord appears to Solomon and asks him what his heart desires? Solomon’s answer pleases the Lord. In this week’s text we learn the importance of wisdom and at the same time see how subtlty of compromise. A few short verses that will lay the foundation for the rest of Solomon’s life and reign. Read 1 Kings 3:1-15.


Digging Deeper

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.

Summarize what is happening in 1 Kings 3-5.

1 Kings 3-5 describe the birth of a new era of prosperity for Israel. The foundation of this time of economic boom is a long, extended time of peace. When the Lord told David that Solomon would become king after him, he noted, “You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days” (1 Chron 22:8-9).

Don’t underestimate the value of peace. When a nation is surrounded by enemies or engaged in various wars, the conflict drains the nation’s resources, both in terms of treasure and blood. Israel was prosperous during Solomon’s reign because he enjoyed a time of extended peace.

We also see that Solomon’s wisdom brought fame. 1 Kings 4 concludes with this statement: “And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (v. 34).

Solomon exhibited incredible political skill in organizing his government and in building treaties with other nations. The crown jewell of his life will be the building of the temple in Jerusalem. In 1 Kings 5 we see Solomon beginning the preparations for this enormous, multi-year project.

 

The Lord tests young Solomon. How does He do so?

Commentators believe Solomon was about 20 years of age when he ascended to the throne of his father David.

At the start of his reign, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream with a bold question for a young man: “Ask! What shall I give you?”

Is this an easy question or a difficult question? How would you respond if the Lord appeared to you and asked this question? Would you ask for something tangible, like wealth and possessions? Would you ask for something miraculous, like a cure for all kinds of cancer? Would you ask for something personal, like to see all of your children walk with the Lord all their days on this earth?

I think we could all come up with a list of possible answers, but then stop and think: why is the Lord asking this question? Could it be that He wants to see what our heart desires? (The Lord knows what our heart desires, but He wants us to see for ourselves what our heart truly desires.)

This open-ended question is really a test. The Bible records several methods of testing a believer’s maturity, integrity, devotion, sincerity, and stability.

  • By a demand for a sacrifice. Genesis 22:1-2. Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
  • Through a difficult path. Deuteronomy 8:2 — And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
  • By leading us into a time of trials. Acts 16:22–24 — Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
  • By allowing distractions from temptations. James 1:2-3 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

 

Solomon asks for an understanding heart. What is this?

In verse 9 we see Solomon’s request of the Lord: “give to Your servant an understanding heart.”

The Hebrew word that is translated “understanding” is hearing. Solomon asked for more than great knowledge, which is centered in the head and the mind, he wanted an understanding heart, one that would listen to God.

The implication is not just a mind that gains knowledge, but a hearing heart that is teachable and obedient to the Lord. He speaks to us through His Spirit. We need a heart that has the patience to hear a case and understand it fully. Hearing is the door to discernment, blessing, and wisdom.

 

In the title to this week’s lesson, we note Solomon’s wisdom, but we also point to a subtle hint of compromise. Where is this in 1 Kings 3-5, and why is it a compromise?

The Bible narrator begins his telling of Solomon’s reign with a subtle hint of the compromise that would lead to Solomon’s spiritual downfall: “Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David…” (1 Kings 3:1).

When we come to 1 Kings 11, which describes the end of Solomon’s life, we read,

“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.” (1 Kings 11:1–4).

1 Kings 11:4 says that this happened when Solomon was old, but it’s clear that the pattern was established with this first marriage to the Egyptian princess. The seeds of compromise when we are young often lead to a harvest of heartbreak when we are old.

 

What can Christians learn from Solomon’s compromise?

It can be easy for 21st Century Christians to look at Old Testament narratives like the one we are dealing with this week and think, “that doesn’t apply to me. Certainly, I will never marry multiple foreign wives!”

Paul reminds us, however, in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that the Old Testament serves as an example and warning for us today. In fact, the New Testament gives us a principle that is very closely connected to the kind of compromise that led to Solomon’s downfall. Again, to the Corinthians, Paul instructed them, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

Christians are not to date or marry unsaved people. To date or marry an unbeliever is a clear violation of Scripture and risks the same kind of spiritual apostasy that led to Solomon’s downfall.

NOTE: It is the practice of First Family Church to not conduct the marriage of a believer to an unbeliever. When a couple comes to one of our pastors to inquire about marriage, one of the first questions we investigate is the spiritual condition of the couple. If the pastor determines that one or both are unbelievers, then he stops the talk of marriage at that point and begins to talk about the need for salvation and true gospel conversion.

Compromise today can lead to the same spiritual destruction that ruined Solomon.

 


Becoming A House of Prayer

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.

Prayer Focus for the Week of February 11

Solomon asked for the wisdom in order to lead the people of Israel. We need to pray the same thing for our political leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. Whether we agree politically or not, we need to pray that our leaders have an understanding heart and are sensitive to the Lord’s leading.

Take time and pray for the young people in our church. This may include your own children. Pray that the Lord will give them wisdom as they grow and mature and that they will listen and obey His word.


Next Steps

Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:

  • Take Action: What practical steps can you take to place a higher value on wisdom this coming week?
  • Take Courage: When we study this time in Solomon’s life, we often approach it with an “if only” perspective. If only the Lord asked me that question! Guess what…He did! Here are the words of Jesus:
    • Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
    • If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
    • Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)

    With that reality in mind, what is on your prayer list?

Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: Proverbs 9:10—The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Our Core Practice this week is Prayer (Psalm 66:16-20): I pray to God to know Him, to lay my request before Him and to find direction for my daily life.

Remember to use the Daily Bible Reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.


Coming Dates This Spring:

03/11-16/2018 – Spring Break Week (No Groups)

03/25/2018 – Palm Sunday

03/30/2018 – Good Friday

04/01/2018 – Easter Sunday (No Groups)

05/13/2018 – Mother’s Day

05/25/2018 – Lighthouse Semester Ends

05/27/2018 – Summer Break Begins

09/09/2018 – Lighthouse Fall Semester Begins

Spring Teaching Schedule:

01/28/2018 – 1 Kings 1:1-2:46

02/04/2018 – 1 Kings 3:1-5:18

02/11/2018 – 1 Kings 6:1-8:66

02/18/2018 – 1 Kings 9:1-10:29

02/25/2018 – 1 Kings 11:1-43

03/4/2018 – 1 Kings 12:1-33

03/11/2018 – 1 Kings 13:1-14:31

03/18/2018 – 1 Kings 15:1-01/28/2018 – 16:28

03/25/2018 – Palm Sunday

04/1/2018 – Easter

04/8/2018 – 1 Kings 16:29-17:24

04/15/2018 – 1 Kings 18:1-46

04/22/2018 – 1 Kings 19:1-21

04/29/2018 – 1 Kings 20:1-22:53

New Series: Traction: Getting Past Your Past

05/6/2018 – “The Lack of Genuine Regeneration” (Part 1)

05/13/2018 – “The Lack of Genuine Regeneration” (Part 2)

05/20/2018 – “The Root of Lingering Bitterness”

    Chris Eller is a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Pastor, Geek, Writer, Photographer, and Church Technology Consultant.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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