The Rise and Fall of the House of Solomon

The Rise and Fall of the House of Solomon

Scripture: Luke 12:48, 1 Kings 3:16-28, 1 Kings 11:1-4
Lesson: 1
To understand Ecclesiastes, we must first understand the context of Solomon's life.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to sac central this morning for Sabbath school. A very special welcome to those visitors that are joining us here in the sanctuary.

I know we have visitors from tennessee and from Oregon this morning, welcome. A welcome to you that are our regular members that come every Sabbath. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world this morning, live on the internet, through radio, through television, however you're joining us, welcome. And we hope you're having a very blessed Sabbath. Our first hymn this morning is hymn number 120, "there's a song in the air.

" And this comes as a request from bernie and theresa dressler from Wisconsin, henry and betty craig from ArKansas, julia west from Washington, leandra mcgrath from New Mexico, roxanne tompkins from California and rufina fagian from the united arab emirates. Welcome. Thank you for sending in your requests. Hymn number 120, 1st, 2nd and 4th verse... If you have a special request that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at www.

saccentral.org. And there you can click on the music link and it will direct you on how to request one of your favorite hymns out of our hymnal. And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn is hymn 141, "what child is this?" We're going to sing the 1st, nd, and 3rd verses. And this comes as a request from roxine thompkins from san juan batista, California.

And I also happen to know that this is the favorite hymn of my sister from milltown, New Jersey, alyssa becktold. So this is for her also. Hymn number 141, "what child is this?"... Our Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is to come before you this morning and worship you with open hearts. We thank you so much, especially during this Christmas season for sending your son to die for us.

Open our hearts and our minds as pastor brings us Your Words, that we can be stronger in you, that we can be shining lights for you in a cold, dark world. And that we can lead others to you so you can come soon and get us. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen. And this morning, our study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at sac central.

Thank you, jolene, and our singers and musicians. Morning, friends. Good to see each of you here. Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome our friends who are studying with us through one of these networks or radio programs or even watching, pardon me, on the internet.

And I need to remind you that you've been hearing, of course, a number of Christmas songs. That's because it's December 16th here. And we know this is broadcasting the 1st week of the new year. And so here at central, we live in the future. But this is actually the presentation in the first of our studies; it's on Ecclesiastes.

I'm really, really looking forward to this. And today is lesson number 1. We have a special offer with this new quarter's lessons, especially today where we're talking about the fall of Solomon. "The rise and fall of the house of Solomon," is lesson number 1. And so we thought it would be appropriate to make our special offer, "tips for resisting temptation.

" "Tips for resisting temptation," written by yours truly. We'll send you a free copy. And it's number 708. Ask for offer number 708 if you call. And the number to call is a free phone call, 866-788-3966.

Tell them you're watching Sabbath school at central and you'd like to request the free offer. Ask for 708, and we'll send you that. Good information, Bible secrets to the simple principles of how to resist temptation. Now again, we are beginning the book of Ecclesiastes today for this first quarter of 2007. And it's appropriate that in lesson 1, we don't actually get into the book of Ecclesiastes.

We look at the author of Ecclesiastes. And so it's talking about Solomon, principally. We have a memory verse. And the memory verse is from 12:48. And this is a partial portion of that verse.

And you might read this out of your study guide, Luke 12:48. Most of you know this by heart. You ready? "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required." To whom much is given, of him shall much be required. Few people were given more than Solomon. And much was required of him.

Well, I am going to maybe diverge from the lesson specifically a little bit in my presentation today, because there's so much to say about Solomon that I'm afraid I'll lose momentum if I keep stopping and thinking away, thinking in the outline that is given in the lesson. What I really want to do is I want to help you get to know Solomon a little bit. So as you get into the book of Ecclesiastes, you better understand his perspective and where he's coming from. When you look at the history of literal Israel, there were a series of promises that God made to the nation of Israel about how they would have a certain territory, they would have victory over their enemies, they would be blessed on every side. If you read in Deuteronomy chapter 28, you've got there laid out a chapter that talks about, "if you obey the Lord and walk in his ways, these blessings will follow you.

If you disobey, these curses will follow. The closest we ever come to seeing the realization of all the blessings on God's people is during the reign of Solomon. It was without parallel the most glorious time in the history of ancient Israel. Now, if I were to ask you, why would it be that under the reign of Solomon, rather than David, you would have the pinnacle of the Kingdom? Well, it's because during the reign of David, he spent his time subjugating his enemies. David spent his, almost his entire life fighting wars.

By the time that Solomon was entering into the throne, David had pretty much cut off all of the enemies at their knees. And so when Solomon came to the throne, they had been subjugated. They were being taxed. Money was pouring into the coffers of Israel, because of the nations that had been conquered. Not to mention that the land that David had conquered, that Solomon inherited, was the bridge between three continents.

And talk about having--any of you like to own the golden gate bridge and get all the tolls that come in from the golden gate bridge, or even the bay bridge? I've thought often as I've driven through and thrown my $3 or $4. I remember when it was 25¢. The money that goes pouring in. Well, imagine owning a country that was the toll bridge between europe and asia and africa and india; all went through the land of Israel. He received a tariff for all those caravans and all that wealth that went across his country.

Plus, of course, they got to handpick the best of the best. So phenomenal wealth came into the Kingdom during that time. And after, I mean, David fought his way to his position of greatness. The priests that were with David, they learned to trust God. And so the political, the Spiritual foundation that David had established was set for great prosperity.

The people were very close to God during the time of Solomon. His primary goal when he came to the throne was to build up the house of God, spiritually and literally. Now the name Solomon means, "son of peace." He--and that's where we get in Hebrew, shalom. It could also just be "his peace." Solomon, shalom, you can probably hear the similarity there. He was the tenth son of David.

He was The Son of which wife? The second son of bathsheba, first one died, remember? Now, David had about seven wives and ten concubines. He didn't set a very good example for his son. Solomon ended up with 300 wives and 700 concubines. Or was it the other way around? Porcupines. I heard a kid say that one time.

"Why would he want so many porcupines?" But that were basically, they were, you know the royal breeders is what they were. the King, the idea was to have as many offspring as possible, and thus secure your dynasty. But Solomon's mother was bathsheba. His father was David. Physically, let's talk about that.

What did bathsheba look like? Does the Bible comment on her looks? That she was, I mean, David pretty much could pick any wife he wanted. And he couldn't live without bathsheba, he thought. Very beautiful woman. What did David look like? Does it ever comment on his looks? He was a comely, young man. Bible says he was good-looking as well, ruddy, comely.

What about the intelligence? Let's just look at the physical, genetic inheritance of Solomon. How smart was David? Was David brilliant? I mean, he could write songs. He was a poet. He could play instruments. He could build instruments.

He could organize a battle. He was a tremendous general. He was a spiritual man. He was a mathematician, an organizer, a natural leader. How many would agree David was highly intelligent? Matter of fact, when you study personality types, assuming that there is some truth to the four main categories of melancholy, sanguine, phlegmatic, and choleric.

Some of you know what I'm talking about. David is one of the most interesting studies you're going to find. He is a division of all the different temperaments a man might have. How often do you have a guy who's leading sheep, strumming a harp, and then killing a giant? I mean, he just, he's a little bit of everything in David. So brilliant man, very interesting character.

How intelligent was bathsheba? You might be thinking, "well, it doesn't say. She was just a pretty bimbo." No, it does say. Bathsheba is the granddaughter of ahithophel. Ahithophel was David's wisest counselor. The Bible says that the counsel of ahithophel was like the oracles of God.

So bathsheba was genetically bright and good-looking. David was bright and good-looking. Solomon was their son. So he had a good start, even before God gave him supernatural wisdom. You still with me? Just want you to get to know the man a little bit.

There's been some debate about what--the ethnic makeup of Solomon. Some have said that bathsheba was from Ethiopian background. Doesn't really say that, but you could argue that David, of course, was part moabite, because of Ruth. Isn't that right? And so there is a place in Song of Solomon where Solomon talks about his being dark. And so some have drawn that.

And so we don't know, but just trying to give you a little picture of Solomon and some of His background. Turn with me in your Bibles. And I've got a few Scriptures I'm going to give you. Let's look at how he started. Solomon had a good beginning.

Now keep in mind, Ecclesiastes, which is gonna be our focus, is that written towards the beginning of his life, or towards the end of his life? Ecclesiastes is written toward the end of his life. He probably wrote that even after The Song of Solomon. If you go to 1 Kings 3 please. Kings 3. Matter of fact, I'd like to get somebody to read verse 3, Kings 3:3.

Got a few hands up here. Go ahead, pancho, pick somebody. And I've got some other Scriptures that I will be dispensing. Kings 3:3 okay? "Solomon showed his love for the Lord, by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places." Alright. Now the reason it says that is David had the ark, the tabernacle, during the time of Solomon, just want to give you this picture, was not the way Moses had left it.

Remember the philistines had captured the ark? The tabernacle itself had been repaired. It was probably pretty tattered. That's why David said, "oh, you know, the ark is under a tent. And here I dwell in a cedar house." So he had pitched a tent in Jerusalem for the ark of the covenant. But the tabernacle was still at gibeon, meaning the altar, the bronze altar, the laver, and the holy place, that was still at gibeon.

And so they would go there and make their offerings on a high mountain where they had pitched it there. And so the thing had sort of been dismembered a little bit the tabernacle. That's why the principle burden of Solomon's ministry, and David, when he's getting old and dying, his tremendous wealth he amassed, a good part of that went into building the temple of the Lord. That was what he wanted to see happen. And so Solomon starts out-- does he love the Lord? Does he obey the Lord? When the Lord appears to him--now, when you read in Kings 3, you know, he never specifically says, "give me wisdom.

" He says, "give me an understanding heart." But if you go to 2 Chronicles, the same story there, when the Lord appears to him there, that's when he specifically is asking for wisdom. Matter of fact, if you go to Chronicles, I'm sorry, Chronicles 1:7. Solomon goes to gibeon, he offers a thousand sacrifices to the Lord, makes this big offering. And that night afterward, verse 7, who would like to read that? Got a hand right here. Okay.

And I've got some other things for others to read. What did I say? Chronicles 1:7. "In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, 'ask! What I shall give thee?'" Isn't that interesting? How many of you would like to have the Lord appear to you and ask that same question? What would you ask for? God can't trust some of us with that question, can he? Because we'd ask for the wrong things. James says, "we ask and receive not, because we ask amiss that we might consume it upon our lusts." In other words, sometimes we ask and we don't receive, because we're asking for the wrong thing. God could trust Solomon with that question.

Why? He loved the Lord and he walked in all the commandments of the Lord. Could Elijah trust Elisha with that question: "ask what I shall do for you before I'm taken to heaven?" The powerful prophet. Why? Because he loved the Lord and he walked in the commandments of the Lord. Being able to pray with a blank check to God, you need to be totally committed. And you know, what did Elisha ask for? The Holy Spirit, double portion, but the Holy Spirit.

What did Solomon ask for? The Holy Spirit. Now think about this. Jesus said, "if you being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give," this is how Luke words it, "the Holy Spirit to them that ask?" The only thing that Jesus identifies specifically that we should ask for is the Holy Spirit. What is our most important need? That need that will prepare us to live the Christian life and go to heaven is our most important need. Do you all agree? That which will prepare us to live a Godly life and go to heaven is the most important need.

It's that which God gave to Jesus at his baptism. It's the Holy Spirit. So if God were to say, "what do you want?" Smartest thing you could ever ask for. I used to always think that if I found a genie in a bottle, of course I don't think this anymore, but I mean growing up as a kid. I used to think, "wouldn't it be wonderful to have a genie and say, 'you got three wishes.

'" And you've heard all these stories about people that waste their wishes, haven't you? All different variations of these stories of people who get these wishes and they waste, they squander their wishes. And I always thought the first thing you ask for is unlimited wishes. Right? Isn't that the only logical thing to ask for? So if God ever asks you what you want, don't hesitate. You know what the answer is. By the way, you can ask now, can't you? Because he's more willing to give you the Holy Spirit than an earthly father to give his son food.

So Solomon then says, and I'm going to go to verse 8, and I'll read this. "Solomon said to God: 'you have shown great mercy to David my father, and made me king in his place. Now, o Lord, let your promise to David my father be established, for you have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth.'" One of the promises to Abraham was, "I will make your descendents like the sand of the sea." That's realized during Solomon's time. "Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I might go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of yours?" Do you see humility in Solomon's attitude? It says he loves the Lord. He's humble.

Now, when you listen to the-- compare hezekiah, who was a good king, when the ambassadors from Babylon came. And they come to find out about the Lord. And he shows them everything in his house. "I've shown them my treasures and my armory and my riches and my spices and my, my, my, my," this and that. And he's so preoccupied with himself.

Solomon says, "Lord, you, you, you, you, you, David my father." He's living outside of himself. This is, I think, one of the first criteria of somebody who's been converted. Typically, we're all very selfish. We're all so much into ourselves. I got a letter from a friend last night.

And Karen and I were laughing because the person's a Christian, but the whole letter was "me, i, me, my, mine, i." And it's like he thinks the whole world revolves and he's the axis. But you know that's human nature. We're all a little bit carnal. Aren't we? We're all naturally selfish. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how often through the day you think about yourself and how everything is going to react on yourself.

And what will this mean to me? A sign of conversion is you start to think about God. Love the Lord. Love your neighbor as yourself. That's the priority for the converted mind. God first, neighbor, self.

By the way, that's how you spell joy: Jesus, others, you. That's an acronym for real joy. We usually have that equation turned around: me, others, God. And Solomon had it right he started out. Now, his supreme desire when he began was to build the temple.

You'll notice here in Chronicles 2, it talks about his building the temple. And he spends the first 7 years building the temple of the Lord. Then he builds his house. So he puts the house of God first. And there is such beauty and sacredness that goes into the design.

He's working with the greatest architects in the world that they don't even hear the sound of a hammer, because all the stones are cut somewhere else. There's this holiness as they slowly--all you can hear is the low grinding as they move these stones into place. It was such a holy edifice. You know you hear about the taj mahal and the pyramids and the wonders of the ancient world. I don't know why nobody has ever included the Solomon--Solomon's temple into the wonders of the ancient world.

I don't know who it is that makes those lists, but based on what I read in the Bible, it was a multibillion-dollar project. And it should have been among the wonders; had golden wallpaper. They talk about the temple of jupiter as one of the wonders of the world. Temple of Solomon was richer by far. And I've always thought, "why isn't that in the list?" It was a fabulous--you try to calculate how much went into it.

So they build this. And not only that, when he gets done, and you find this in Chronicles, and you don't find it in Kings when it talks about it. But after Solomon prays, 7:1, when he dedicates the temple. Someone read 2 Chronicles 7:1. Maybe someone over here, roy, you got that? Hold your hand up there so that martin can get that to you.

"Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and he glory of the Lord filled the house." You can read verse 2. "And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house." I've often thought, "wouldn't that be nice if for church we all gathered in the parking lot, we couldn't come in because there was so much glory of God here." That'd be something, huh? Was Solomon close to God back then? He prays like Elijah and fire comes down. Solomon was a prophet. Did he write inspired Proverbs? Solomon was also a musician. He wrote songs.

Unfortunately, the only one we have in the Bible is The Song of Solomon. But the Bible says he wrote many songs, wrote many Proverbs. Probably most of the Proverbs that you have in the book of Proverbs belonged to him. He of course wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. And there's very little dispute about that, because it's identified in the early parts of the book.

So trying to give you a picture of the pinnacle of Solomon's glory. But was he a powerful king? Lot of money. Lot of money gives you a lot of power. A lot of power can cause pride and has a corrupting influence. And you've often heard it said, "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

" Solomon started out humble. God blessed him. He became richer and richer. He built the house of the Lord. He spent 7 years building the house of the Lord, 13 years building his house.

So here you've got the rise of Solomon. And even Jesus, he refers to Solomon, Matthew 12:42. Someone read this. "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it, for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold a greater than Solomon is here." Alright, so Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon. And I don't know if I wrote it down.

Who remembers that verse where it says in Matthew, is it chapter 6? Speaking of the flowers of the field, even Solomon in all of his glory is not arrayed like one of these." And so even Christ refers to the unsurpassed wisdom of Solomon and the unsurpassed glory of Solomon as the very apex of Israel's history. So they just kept going like this during the time of Solomon. You know what's interesting? It was--how long did he reign? Forty years. And you get 20 years, the middle of his reign, and just like an even mountain. And then it starts going the other way.

After he built the house of the Lord, and after he built his house, and after he married all those wives--let me read something to you. Deuteronomy, I'll let you read it, Deuteronomy 17:15. Now after you find it, raise your hand. We want you to find it. Then raise your hand, okay? Andrew's got it.

Deuteronomy 17:15. And I want you to read those verses for me, andrew. Those verses? Deuteronomy 17:15-17. Okay. The whole thing.

"You may indeed set his king over you him whom the Lord your God will choose; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not multiply horses for himself, or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, 'you shall never return that way again.' And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply for himself silver and gold." Now, this is written by Moses in Deuteronomy 17. Had Solomon been born yet? He's saying, "some day you're gonna want a king." Moses is a prophet. He knows that, even though that was never God's plan. God was to be their king.

And he gives some interesting instructions. He says, "do not multiply horses. Do not multiply wives. Do not multiply silver and gold." To the King he says that. Now, you look at Solomon, Chronicles 9:25 and then I'll jump to verse 28.

"Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities with the King of Jerusalem-- and they brought horses to Solomon from Egypt." Now you notice Moses specifically said, "don't return to Egypt and get horses. And don't multiply horses." Solomon, it was almost like he read what Moses said, and said, "I'm gonna do exactly what I'm told not to do." And then what about the other part of it, "don't multiply wives?" Kings 11:3, "and he had wives, princesses, and 300 concubines." See I got it wrong before. I said 300 wives, concubines. But what's the difference? Once you get past your first hundred, it just doesn't matter. 'Cause in my opinion--you may disagree.

No, but I want to be accurate. Seven hundred wives, three hundred concubines. Do the math. How many is that? A thousand? Try and--try and--try and supply the credit cards for a thousand women. Only Solomon could do that with his bank account.

Did the Bible say, "don't multiply wives?" What else did it say? "Don't multiply silver and gold." Kings 10:14, "and the weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was 666 talents of gold." Does that number sound familiar? Do you know it's the only other time in the Bible you find 666 is in Revelation 13, and this verse I just read in 1 Kings? Now what did I tell you? Look at the life of Solomon; years, 20 years into his reign he reaches this apex. And it's during the time when the queen of sheba comes to visit him. It's like his wisdom is at its peak. He's probably 40, years of age now. And his wealth is at its peak, his prosperity, the respect of the nations.

And at that time where he becomes sort of like a God on earth, they say 666 talents of gold, 666; it's almost like the number for man's glory. And I think it's just interesting that when Israel reached the peak of its earthly kingdom is where you find that number. And gold, of course, is supposed to be a symbol of that which is great and love. It's like the earthly number for that. But we're not done.

Kings 10:21, someone read that for me, 1 Kings 10:21. Got a hand right here. Foster, thank you. "And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all vessels of the house of the forest of lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver, it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

" Hang on to the microphone. Read verse 27 too. "And the King made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance. Alright, cedar trees were considered a luxurious tree. And he transplanted them from lebanon so that they were as abundant as the sycamores by the Jordan river, which is just they're like grass down there.

And so he made silver like stones. Everything in his house was gold because silver was not even counted as anything. It was like for you and me copper. Of course, copper's getting expensive too these days. So going back to what Moses had said, "don't multiply horses and don't go to Egypt to get them.

" Did Solomon do that? "Don't multiply wives." What do you think? Did any king multiply wives more than Solomon? Not that I've read about. "Don't multiply silver and gold." Did he? So he started to disobey God for earthly glory. And it--[whistles]-- started going down. Well, before we get to that, what are some of the ideas or some of the ways in the Bible that we have where Solomon's wisdom is demonstrated? When you think of an incident where Solomon demonstrates his wisdom, what comes to your mind? The two ladies that are caught, these two ladies of ill repute. Let me rehearse this for you very quickly.

Right after it talks about the incredible wisdom of Solomon, two prostitutes share the same mini storage they live in, or wherever it is. And they both have babies about the same time. Babies are very young. And you know when they're real little they all look like raisins. They all look the same, right? Just sort of--and during the night one of the mothers, while she's nursing the baby or whatever, she accidentally suffocates the baby.

She wakes up during the night to nurse the baby and it's dead, cold. Grieving, feeling guilty, she sees the squirming infant of her roommate. She takes her dead baby. She lays it there. She takes the living baby, puts it in her bed.

And in the morning when the other woman wakes up to nurse her baby and it's dead she starts to grieve and says, "wait, this isn't my baby." She looks over and sees her friend clutching her baby. And there's probably a brawl and pretty soon these ladies are brought before the King. Nobody knows how to decide. There were no witnesses. And so they think, "ah, what's he going to do about this?" Who would have ever thought about calling for a sword to cut the baby in half as a test? But sure enough, the false mother said, "well, that's really the only fair thing to do.

" And the real mother said, "no, let her have the baby, but don't kill my baby." Solomon said, "oh, that's mother's love." He understood the natural things of the heart. I mean, that's why he wrote Proverbs about nature and all these different things. Solomon just had a great breadth of understanding; very observant, photographic memory. He took everything in. He wasn't like some people have tremendous memories, but they think like engineers and computer programmers.

It's all very technical. A lot of information that's sort of--but you don't know what to do with it. Solomon had great wisdom, but he knew how to apply it to life. Then another example of his great wisdom, turn in your Bibles to--of course, it talks about his administration, his construction projects. Turn to 1 Kings 10.

We briefly referred to this. Oh by the way, before we leave that story of the two women, you know, that is a, there's a spiritual analogy there, the two women that came to Solomon, fighting over a baby boy. You know how often you got women fighting over baby boys in the Bible? It's very interesting. It's a type of Christ, believe it or not. There's the true mother.

What does a woman represent in prophecy? One is true, one is counterfeit. They both want the same baby. You know the Bible says, "in that day, seven women will lay hold of one man saying, 'we'll eat our own bread. We'll wear our own apparel. Only let us be called by your name.

'" Then you got the story of two women during the famine in samaria, two mothers. One mother kills her son during a famine. They eat them. The other mother then hides her son. She goes to the King and says, "tell this other woman to bring forth her son.

It's dinnertime and she promised we'd eat him today." I know this is terrible to talk about. It's in the Bible. Two women fighting over that boy. So, these are types. And then you get to Revelation and there's one baby boy that is born, but there's two women that are mentioned.

And it's a type of Christ, the true mother and the counterfeit. That's what you have in Revelation. Okay. Now you go to the queen of sheba. And you already know what a woman represents.

I'm going to read this Kings 10:1, "now when the queen of sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions." Now, I've seen some specials on this. And they believe that the Kingdom of sheba, the climate used to be very different in the arabian peninsula. And it was a very wealthy seaport. And she had tremendous wealth. But she took a caravan across this expansive desert.

And that caravan, it must have been 10 miles long based on what she brought with her. And she didn't just come for the weekend. She may have stayed a year and a half. And it was like a pilgrimage of her life to go and to meet this king and to ask him the great questions of life. "When she heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.

She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones." You don't come to a king without a gift. "And when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart." Now, Solomon is The Son of David. Solomon is a type of Christ. You remember I've referred to it many times, because it's one of the great prophecies in the old testament. When David was thinking of building the temple, nathan the prophet came to him and said, "you cannot build the temple because you're a bloody man.

" Not just because he went to war, but because he had killed an innocent man when he killed uriah. He says, "you're a bloody man, but your son who shall issue from me, he will build me a house that will last forever. And I'll not take away my mercy from him." Now, who is he son of David that built the house of the Lord? Solomon. Or didn't Jesus say, "destroy this temple made with hands and in 3 days I'll make one without hands?" So that's what you call a dual prophecy there. That statement where nathan the prophet says to David, "your son will build me a house that will last forever.

" The bigger picture is it's talking about Jesus, The Son of David. Isn't that what Christ was called, who was to build up the church, the house of the Lord? So when the queen of sheba comes to Solomon trying to find out about his wisdom, that is a picture of the church coming to Jerusalem. Isn't that a symbol for the place of God? To hear about the wisdom of Christ. Now, when she comes, and she comes to the house of the Lord too, does she come empty-handed? When we come to Christ to worship, should we come empty-handed, or should we bring our gifts? I mean, she came before a king. It's just, you don't come before a king without bringing a gift.

Can you find an example in the Bible of that? When they always came to a king, they brought a gift. When the wise men came, did they bring gifts? That's right. And then it goes on to say she's asking questions. She's wanting to learn from him. When we come before our king, should we be there to want to learn? "And there was nothing so difficult for the King that he could not explain it to her.

" Is there anything we can ask Christ that he doesn't know? Or does he know all things, 'cause he is the truth. Jesus is the very essence of wisdom. "And when the queen of sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table." Now, what is the food on The Son of David's table? Didn't Jesus say that he will serve us and we will sup with him? And when Christ ate with the disciples, wasn't there bread there that he blessed in a special way? It's a symbol for the covenant. When she saw "the food on his table, the seating of his servants." When people come to the house of the Lord and they see Christ's servants, should it just take their breath away? Oh, by the way, I'm getting ahead of myself. "And their apparel," the clothing.

Do the servants of Christ have a different kind of clothing? What are we wearing? The robe of his righteousness, right? When they saw his "apparel, his cupbearers." You know, we are to bear the cup of the Lord. That's the covenant. That's what holds the new wine of his blood. "And the entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord." How many ways? The way, not ways. Jesus said, "I am the way.

" By which he went to the house of the Lord. The one way. And there was this magnificent entrance. You've heard of Solomon's porch. It talks about that in the new testament.

The residue of that foundation was still there. There was this big, broad, acres of porch that was an entrance just to the temple of the Lord. That's where he offers the dedication prayer from that you read about. When he offers his dedication prayer before the people, it was from this magnificent entryway that was overlaid with beautiful gems and gold. It says, "there was no more spirit in her.

" Now that word, spirit, there is the same word that you find in Genesis where God breathes into adam the breath of life. There was no more breath in her. Have you ever heard the expression, "breathtaking; took my breath away?" That's where it comes from. You know, there's a lot of expressions you say that come from the Bible. I remember hearing people for years say, "by the skin of our teeth.

" I had no idea what it meant, but I used to use it. Well, it's in the Bible. It's in the book of job. And I used to hear people say, "oh, I saw the handwriting on the wall." I had no idea when I grew up as a pagan where that came from. But of course, that's from the book of Daniel.

And "at my wits end." You ever use that? "I was at my wits end." You know you're quoting Psalms when you quote that? David talks about these sailors in the sea. "The ocean mount up and they're at their wits end." Some of you have been at your wits end. You didn't even know where it came from. It's something you find in the Bible. So there's all these different sayings.

So when you use the saying, "breathtaking; took my breath away." First time in recorded history that's found is when the queen of sheba says there was no more breath left in her, because of that experience. And then she goes on. She responds. Verse 6, "'it was a true report which I heard in my own land of Your Words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw it with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me.

Your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame of which I heard.'" I remember reading one time about the adventures of marco polo. And that you know he came back from these discoveries, he spent many years in china with his father, nicolo, and his uncle matteo polo. And he saw the treasures of china and the wonderful inventions of china. They had gunpowder and paper and just all these incredible things that they had not discovered yet in europe. And he used to tell all these stories.

And finally on his deathbed, he had already actually given while he was in a prison in venice, he had given his report to someone who wrote it out. And people were already reading his report. And the church fathers came to him as he was dying. And they said, "you know you're coming to meet your Lord soon." He says, "you should repent. You should recant of the lies you've told about this fabulous land, this fictitious land of china.

" They said, "those things don't exist. You know you've fabricated. Repent of your lies." And marco polo reportedly said, "lies?" He says, "I have not told you the half of what I saw." And she said, when she saw Solomon's wealth, "the half was not told me." In other words, it was beyond the imagination of what someone could verbally articulate unless you went for yourself. Now how does the Bible describe heaven? Doesn't it say, "eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has even entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him." I can't tell you the half no matter how hard I try. You gotta be there for yourself if you want to see it.

And so in this story that we're looking at, the queen of sheba is the time where very briefly you hover on the mountain, remember? Solomon's reign goes like this. He starts out loving the Lord, builds up the house of the Lord, kingdom is just getting glorious, more glorious, richer and richer, you get to the very top, queen of sheba comes. She comes after he's built the temple and he's built his house. This is the pinnacle of the glory. This is where Solomon represents Christ.

And then after that is where the decline begins. I haven't spent very much lesson talking about it, because it's very sad. But it goes back to where it says, 1 Kings 11:4, someone read that for me. Got a hand? Go ahead, right there is fine, pancho. Kings 11:4, oh no, Kings 11:1.

"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with daughter of pharaoh: women of the moabites, ammonites, edomites, sidonians, and hittites." Alright. And then it goes on to say, "from the nations whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, 'you shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. For they will turn away your heart after their Gods.' And Solomon clung to these in love." What did we read as the first verse in our study on Solomon? "Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the commandments of the Lord." And then here when you get to chapter 11, chapter 10 is queen of sheba, chapter 11, they will turn your heart away after them. "Solomon clung to these in love." And out of love for them, what happened? Verse 4, "so it was, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other Gods." You never would have thought that was possible. He was so loyal to God in his youth.

They turned his heart away from God. Not only away from God, to their Gods. "And his heart was not loyal 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. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and he did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David.

Then Solomon built a high place for chemosh the abomination of moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for molech the abomination of the people of ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their Gods." Now, just to give you the context of what's happening here. As Solomon is getting old, he's, in his effort to try to appease his wives and make them happy, he says, "you know, we ought to be more open." And just try to make everybody happy. You know what I've learned, if you don't stand for what you believe and you try to make everybody happy, you end up making nobody happy. You gotta stand for what you believe and just say, "look, the truth is the truth and you can't make everyone happy.

" I'm worried about America. Because America is becoming so apologetic about having our beliefs that we're trying to appease everybody. I just heard an airport-- they put up a Christmas tree and someone protested. And so they had to take it down, 'cause they're afraid of a suit. I mean, we're just so afraid of offending someone by taking any kind of stand for our beliefs.

Trying to make everybody happy, we're going to end up making nobody happy. And Solomon, in wanting to be open, open beliefs, just believe whatever you want, in his attempt to be liberal with people and his wives, he really offended God, because you can't serve two masters. Verse 9, I'm still in Kings 11, "so the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to his twice, and he commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other Gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, 'because you have done this, and have not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the Kingdom away from you and give it to your servant." That ended up being jeroboam. And it goes on to say in verse 14, "now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon," where he had had peace before and now he's got some turmoil and contention in the Kingdom.

"Hadad the edomite" was an adversary. Then it goes on to say also jeroboam became a problem. Now evidently you're not going to find tHis Word for word in the Bible this is our introduction to Ecclesiastes. Somewhere near the end of Solomon's life, we're not sure exactly when it happened, after he began to suffer political strife and he realized his mistake in trying to appease his wives by accommodating their different Gods, Solomon repented. He went through something like what manasseh went through.

Manasseh, the bulk of his life, you know he just was really way out there, turning from God. But after he went through a trial, manasseh repented and he turned back to God. In his old age, you've heard the story or the saying, "raise up a child in the way he will go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That's not always true. Some people have misapplied that verse to think that you know if you just raise them in church, no matter what they're going to come back. God raised adam very well.

See what I'm saying? God didn't make any mistakes in how he raised adam. And adam had two boys, same mom and dad. They still make their choices. But the seeds that David had sown and the charge that David gave Solomon as David was dying, came back to him, began to haunt him. Solomon came back to the Lord and then he began to review his life and repent of the folly that he had gone down looking for happiness.

And then in that context, he writes the book of Ecclesiastes talking about some of the vanity of pursuing the pleasures in this life. And so the book of Ecclesiastes is something of a review of Solomon's pursuit of what really matters in life. And you know sometimes I think the best way to read a book is to go to the last chapter. I don't always recommend this, but if you go to the last few verses, who knows what the end of Ecclesiastes says? "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.

" Isn't that right? And so after he reviews everything, and I'll get to this again by the time I get to the end of the quarter, but you'll have forgotten that I read it by then, so it's okay for me to say it now. After everything that Solomon does, I mean, talk about having the power to experience everything, he was--you ever wish you could be bill gates? Solomon was a multi-billionaire. But you read Ecclesiastes and you begin to see, you know he's saying vanity, vanity, everything's vanity. Happiness does not come from the abundance of things you possess. It doesn't come from fame.

He had that. People came around the world. It doesn't come from fortune. He had that. It doesn't come from relationships and having a harem; not that kind of relationship I mean.

Some people think that happiness comes from fulfilling your passions. Nobody had more power to do that than Solomon. And you know what he says at the end of his life? That was all vanity. What really matters? Fear God and keep his commandments, 'cause God is going to bring everything into judgment. And so here you've got a quick overview of the rise and the fall of Solomon.

When he began to be surrounded with the things of the world, he lost his love for God. It grew cold. But he found it again at the end of his life. We've run out of time. But I want to remind our viewers, we do have a free offer if you missed this at the beginning of the broadcast.

It'll be there on your screen. For those that are listening on radio, just call 866-788-3966. The free offer is called, "tips for resisting temptation." I would have sent that to Solomon if I had written it in time. "Tips for resisting temptation," -788-3966 Is the phone number, 3966. And ask for offer number 708.

Thank you so much, friends, for studying with us here at Sacramento central. We'd encourage you to get your study guide. You can even find this on-line for some of you may not have access. We got people who are part of this church from all over the world on the internet. And you can go to the Sabbath school website, just type in Sabbath school, the internet on Google, you'll find it.

God bless you, until next Sabbath.

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