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Don’t Waste Your Life Like Solomon

19-Proverbs-03

191105AM

CLASS-3:  Don’t Waste Your Life Like SOLOMON 

 

WOLBI Proverbs Class Themes

  1. God Has Given the Guide to Wisdom in Proverbs
  2. The Best Life Possible is: Doing the Will of God for Life
  3. Don’t Waste Your Life Like SOLOMON
  4. The Ultimate Sin is Pride
  5. The Second Greatest Day of Your Life
  6. The Un-intoxicated Life
  7. Raising Kids Who See Your Character & Look for the One God Says is Best
  8. Cultivating a Godly Work Ethic
  9. Fools, Focus & Avoiding Being Lost in Electronica
  10. The Power of Spoken Words

 

First, God’s Will Revealed for My Character

  1. God Wants to Make Me Wise, Not Foolish so that My Life Point towards Him as Lord.
  2. God Wants to make Me Teachable, Not Stubborn.[1]
  3. God Wants to make Me Righteous, Not Wicked.
  • God says that wise people fear the Lord (1:7; 14:16);
  • God says that wise people hate what is false (13:5);
  • God says that wise people shun evil (3:7;14:16;16:6);
  • God says that wise people do what is righteous (2:20);
  • God says that wise people speak the truth (22:21).
  • This is the doctrine of KNOWING GOD: Man’s relationship to God (1:7; 3:34; 6:23; 10:22; 12:28; 15:11; 22:19; Genesis 24:35; 26:12; Deuteronomy 8:18; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:8; 111:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Acts 1:24; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; 2 Peter 1:19).
  • This is a reflection in our lives of God’s Character in Proverbs: God is wise—3:19; 15:11; God is merciful—28:13; God is omniscient—5:21; God is provident—3:6; 16:3, 9, 33; 19:21; 20:24; 21:30–31;
  1. God Wants to make Me Humble, Not Proud.
  2. God Wants to make Me Self-controlled, Not Rash.
  3. God Wants to make Me Forgiving, Not Vindictive.

 

Secondly, God’s Will Revealed for My Relationships

  1. God’s Will revealed in Five Areas for our Relationship To Our Parents.
  2. God’s Will revealed in Five Areas for our Relationship To Our Wife.
  3. God’s Will revealed in Nine Areas for our Relationship To Our Children.
  4. God’s Will revealed in Seven Areas Relationship To Our Friends and Neighbors.

 

Thirdly, God’s Will for My Words

  1. God wants me to understand the Power of My Words.
  2. God wants me to know the Limitations of My Words.
  3. God’s Will revealed for the Character of My Words.
  4. God’s Will revealed is that I understand the Source of My Words.

 

CLASS-3:  Don’t Waste Your Life Like SOLOMON

 

The Wisdom of God that Solomon Neglected to Obey:

God’s Road to Lifelong Usefulness

Becoming King meant so much: a palace to build, an army to raise and manage, a city to fortify, a nation to rule and defend, a family to protect and supply and a personal life to maintain.  In the middle of all that God placed this incredible task: make a personal copy the 192 pages of the Pentateuch by hand and carry it around with you.

For just a moment, why not take your Bible and feel the pages that make up Genesis 1through Deuteronomy 34. Feel that thickness?  Now think 3,000 years ago. How would you make a personal copy of that much material? No copy machines, office stores, or printers. Just oil lamps to see by; and to capture words it meant either chisels into rock or crude ink onto animal skins. Think of how hard it was to get your recording skin materials, gather the tools to make and apply ink with, and find a flat spot to write on an animal skin.

A skilled scribe who was at his peak could copy the words of a page in 2-3 hours if everything was set for him (ink, paper, pen, reader, etc.). The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) has 5,852 verses and nearly 160,000 Hebrew words. At normal speed, it would take a minimum of 900 hours to hand copy the Hebrew letters with ink and quill onto an animal skin or parchment; that is six months of work, non-stop at eight hours a day!

So, that was a HUGE request from God, and meant that His Word was VERY important for Solomon as he started to rule. What do these verses show as what God sees as critical for any leader? There are truths here that go way beyond just a King of Israel. There are some eternal truths that can help shape a life that counts for eternity in these words that come directly from God. Note these truths. First, God warned those who wanted to be useful, that there were pitfalls, temptations and distractions that lessen usefulness and erase rewards.

 

The Pathway to Pursuing God

Next, in Deuteronomy 17, we see a road God marked for future leaders. The kings of Israel were to follow this pathway to lifelong usefulness. This was the way to please God as they lived their lives filled with responsibilities and challenges. For us who also want to be useful and pleasing to God, these truths are priceless. God tells us what a life that pursues Him looks like. We are not left to wonder, speculate, or think up our own way to try to please God. He tells us just what He expects. If you have never closely studied these verses, tonight is a challenge to do so. Let me just survey these truths that lead to lifelong usefulness to God. Look down at Deuteronomy 17:18-20, and note these ten elements that were specific instructions for those kings, and clear applications for all the rest of us: “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom,

  1. God MUST become YOUR personal pursuit: 18b that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book,
  2. Pursuing God will be INCONVENIENT to Your Life: 18c from the one before the priests, the Levites.
  3. God’s Word must become Your GUARDED Treasure: 19a And it shall be with him,
  4. Reading the Word Must become YOUR Personal Habit: 19b and he shall read it
  5. Nurturing Your Soul must become a LIFELONG Habit: 19c all the days of his life
  6. Spiritual Growth takes up Your Time, and is Not Instantaneous: 19d that he may learn to fear the LORD his God
  7. God Wants Your Obedience not Just Going Through the Motions:  19eand be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,
  8. God Expects You to Choose Humility: 20a that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren,
  9. God Expects Your Submission: 20b that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left,
  10. God Wants to Bless You and offers You a Spiritual Heritage: 20c and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

 

Solomon Towers over Most Who Ever Lived

Solomon was the author of 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs the Bible tells us (I Kings 4:32). His God given wisdom surpassed all the noted wise men of his day (I Kings 3:12).

In our study of PROVERBS this week we look at one of the few Old Testament books that state their purpose clearly at the start. In Pr. 1:2-6 we find a twofold purpose:

  • Build Moral Character 1:3-5 (Solomon failed here)
  • Build Mental Wisdom 1:2, 6 (Solomon was given this)

But Proverbs is only one of three books God used Solomon to write.

 

God Gives Us a Context

Think of the setting behind these books and the corresponding eras of Solomon’s life that the Bible portrays. Remember, God places the details for us to see His purposes and plans reflected against the backdrop of everyday life.

  • What we are sure of is the vast reputation Solomon had for wealth and wisdom.
  • His fleet was known to the ports of the world. Those ships based in Elat would wind their way from Gibraltar to Arabia to India.
  • His commercial enterprises brought him vast and rare treasures. Exotic goods of the fabled East and the jungles of Africa flowed into Jerusalem. Vast caravans plied the trade routes east and west bringing the goods of the world to his doorstep.

 

Solomon’s Three Books May Have Arisen From The Three Stages Of His Life.

  1. Song of Solomon from the young man in love.
  2. Proverbs from the wisdom of a mature man at his zenith.
  3. Ecclesiastes from and old and bitter man looking back on his wasted opportunities. .

 

Song of Solomon from the young man in love

Women from every corner of the world sought and hundreds found his favor.

Romance and love flowed from this most amazing man.

From this era flows the SONG OF SOLOMON.

 

Proverbs from the wisdom of a mature man at his zenith

Then there was the stream of inquirers who came to sit at his feet in wonder as he spoke. At the head of the line was the Queen of Sheba who came 1,200 miles with a vast fortune.

She was overcome at his exceeding wisdom and wealth. “The half was never told me!” His actual possessions were so much more than his unbelievable reputation. She went away in wonder and praise to his God.

From this era rises the PROVERBS.

Read the Book of Proverbs at least twice a year. If I were going to write an ad for it, it would go like this:

“The richest Jew in history tells the inside secrets of how to make big money, gain enormous political influence, attract beautiful women, yet not make everyone hate you. Send $19.95, plus $4 postage and handling, to…..”

 

Ecclesiastes from and old and bitter man looking back on his wasted opportunities

Yet with all that Solomon didn’t end well.

With incredible Divine Blessings.

With personal visits from the God of Heaven.

With wisdom unsurpassed on the planet.

With wealth beyond the greatest kings of the Earth.

With wine, women and palatial living . . . nothing ever satisfied him.

The hands spread out to God in prayer were pulled back and instead grasped the idols of paganism.

The heart of zeal for the Living and True God became cold, distant and empty.

From this final era trickles ECCLESIASTES. A look at Ecclesiastes 12 shows Solomon may have ended right.

 

Warning: Difficult, Hard & Evil Days Ahead

Do you remember Solomon’s inspired look at the pains, fears, and troubles of old age? Ecclesiastes 12 is a remarkable portrait of what we have to face someday. It is not a nice picture when life is empty and meaningless; but it is the best and most exciting time imaginable when life is full of God.

Please follow along with me in Ecclesiastes noting the regret filled wisdom of an empty life, as Solomon the wisest man who ever lived–remembers what he foolishly neglected.

Stand as we read Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 (NKJV):

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult [“evil” in KJV, NAS] days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: 2 While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain; 3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, [probably legs] And the strong men bow down; [probably shoulders]When the grinders cease because they are few, [teeth] And those that look through the windows grow dim; [eyes] 4 When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; [probably hearing loss] When one rises up at the sound of a bird, [sleeping difficulties] And all the daughters of music are brought low; 5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; [growing fears]When the almond tree blossoms, [white hair] The grasshopper is a burden,[weakness] And desire fails. [appetites gone] For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets. [death] 6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, [nerve problems] Or the golden bowl is broken, [brain problems] Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, [lung problems] Or the wheel broken at the well. [heart problems] 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.” 9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs.10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

 

Don’t Waste Your Life Like Solomon

When God describes what happens as we age, He calls it difficult times or even “evil” days[2]. Old age can become a time when life is hardest, strength is least, and evil is most pressing—but that is not how it has to be! David shows us by his life that ending well by fearing no evil is possible through our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ.

Life is short, time flies, death is inescapable—but without Christ life becomes a wearying chase for something good enough to keep their minds off thinking this all may be over soon.

 

Stark Contrasts

In God’s Word the Bible, two old men sat down and wrote their summary of life.

  • One was the father, the other his son.
  • Both wrote under the inspiration of God’s Spirit.
  • Both had suffered through many afflictions.
  • Both knew the Lord in an unusual way.

For one life is looked back upon almost bitterly, speaking of the emptiness or vanity of life. His name was Solomon. Perhaps too late, realized that the only way to live and the best way to die–is to do so reflecting on the plans that God had for us in the first place. His name was Solomon.

His summary is a Book called Ecclesiastes.

The Book of Ecclesiastes could be called the lessons of what happens when you neglect a lifestyle of the fear of God described in the book of Proverbs. Solomon found out after his restless pursuit of all that the world had to offer—that nothing but God satisfies, and that life and death can be quite empty when God is left out.

 

David Invested His Life

The other looks back and sees a life long growth in experiencing God. His name was David, father of Solomon. David ended well and feared no evil because he remembered his Creator.

His summary was still the song he wrote to his Good Shepherd called Psalm 23.

He sang to Him from many quiet and remote hillsides as he sat under the glistening stars. One of David’s songs is perhaps the most well known song in the world. We call it the 23rd Song or Psalm. But it may really have been David’s 1st song. It is certainly his most beloved song.

As a youth, David remembered His Creator. In fact I believe that’s why a weary and exhausted Solomon—who had chased every pleasure the human mind could conceive, came to the conclusion that his dad was right.

 

Each Day You Are Choosing Your Savings Plan: Wasting Or Investing

When life winds down, strength gets exhausted, and the end is in sight for you–which summary will fit your life?

Will you look back on life like Solomon? Ending with bitterness, seeing all as vanity, and ending in emptiness?

Or will you look back on life like David? Ending well by fearing no evil, in hopefulness, with life long growth in experiencing God?

The choice is completely yours this morning–you are each day writing the script that will be your life’s summary! The key is who you are following, where are you headed, and whether or not you have started down the right path.

God’s desire is that you know Him; He wants you to start early and remember your Creator when you are young—and then never forget Him.

 

 

 

Don’t Rationalize Sin

If God says it is wrong, it is wrong-even if everybody else does it. Six hundred years after Abraham God told Moses to write down His rules for future kings. Deuteronomy 17:15-20 became the code by which the kings were supposed to live. That passage contains God’s instructions for His leaders and, by the way, in principle form they are very much something that we should likewise heed if you want to be a man or woman of God.

Open to these powerful words in Deuteronomy 17:16, these are precise words that David who, as the second king, would have carefully listened to. When David knew that the God he loved so much had something to say in these, the only instructions He recorded for the King of Israel, can’t you imagine David’s careful reading of these words over-and-over again! Note what God had to say about multiplying horses in Deuteronomy 17:16:

“But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ “

Why would that instruction be so important? God had a very good reason. Multiplying horses would cause the people to return to Egypt-a horse breeding area of the world.  And if they went back, they would be lured in by the Egyptian’s gods, false ways, and immorality! As far as we know, David didn’t have any problem with wanting to multiply horses, but he didn’t completely obey this next command:

Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself (Deuteronomy 17:17).

David personally disobeyed God when he multiplied wives for himself (and possibly even wealth). A king wasn’t to multiply wives because they would turn his heart away from the Lord. David’s going along with a socially accepted custom rather than God’s directive reminds me of a sign that appears along I-44 in Missouri: What part of “Thou Shalt Not” is unclear?

Now look at the next verse:

“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him …”(Deuteronomy 17:18).

The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) has 5,852 verses and nearly 160,000 Hebrew words. At normal speed, it would take a minimum of 900 hours to hand copy the Hebrew letters with ink and quill onto an animal skin or parchment; that is six months of work, non-stop at eight hours a day!

 

God Wants Our Attention

To be “God’s man” he had to give up most of his first year as king to do this Bible Study-and even had to carry a copy of the law around with him. For God had clearly laid out His instructions for the king:

“… He shall read it all the days of his life, That he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes …” (Deuteronomy 17:19).

Some people may ask: “Where does it say in the Bible that we’re supposed to read the Bible all the time?” That’s an easy answer because the instructions in verse 19 apply to us as well. As believers, we are supposed to have a personal copy, keep it with us all the time, be meditating on it, and read it all the days of our life. Why? A continued exposure to God’s Word causes us to learn about the Lord so that we may live a life that acknowledges our fear of Him.

Now note why God says a king of Israel must obey His instructions:

“… that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:20).

If a king’s heart became “lifted above his brethren” he might conclude that he could look over the rooftop of his house at any man’s wife he desired-and take her. And that is exactly what happened.

It appears that somewhere in these years, David’s heart became so prideful that he basically said to himself, “Boy, I’m the number one warrior … the giant killer … the wealthiest guy in the land! Since I’m the great king of God’s people, I can have whomever and whatever I want-whenever I want it!”

But GOD had commanded: “Don’t let your heart be lifted up!” The same God that said it is the little things that reflect our character, still wanted David’s obedience. The shepherd boy who had a habit of being careful in his responsibilities was slowly leaking, going flat, and starting to limp along spiritually because of hidden, small acts of disobedience.

Because David ignored God’s little warning, his life moved on without the Lord’s protection.

 

 

 

 

Beware of Deadly Pitfalls

As we look back at the first half of Deuteronomy 17 we can see there three warnings from God, through Moses to every King that would sit on the Throne of Israel; and by application: to each believer in the same God Almighty, who wants their life to count. Deuteronomy 17:14-17 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.

  1. God is Always Concerned about the Constant Draw of Worldliness:16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 
  2. God is Always Concerned about the Danger of Distraction:  17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; 
  3. God is Always Concerned about the Lure of Materialism:  17b nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. Just like in Satan’s trio of temptations to Christ in the Wilderness (Matthew 4), and in the Apostle John’s warnings at the close of the New Testament in I John 2:15-17, there are always three avenues that Satan, the world, and our flesh will seek to make us useless to God.

 

Making Your Life Count

If you want your life to count, these warnings are for you. To lessen the good for the “good-nothing-pile” at Christ’s judgment seat (II Corinthians 5:10), heed these words. Although the interpretation of this passage points these warnings first of all to literal kings, that God knew would someday sit on the Throne of Israel, by application, the same areas that God said would trip them up, also can rob us of His well done.

First: Make personal choices to flee the lure of worldliness. Note what God says about that in James 4:4-5  Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

Second: Decide now to resist distractions that keep you from God, that your heart will be fixed above as Colossians 3:1-2 declares.  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Distraction means a divided heart, as James said that makes us double-minded. Double mindedness makes us unstable, powerless, fruitless and useless to God as James 1:7-8says: For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Third: Remember that materialism is idolatry. God hates any idol that you desire so much that it nudges God out of first place. Matthew 6:33 simplifies life: Seek ye FIRST God’s rule over your time, your attention, your schedule and your heart’s desires. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Any habit, hobby or pursuit that takes away public worship, private devotion, and personal habits of holiness is an idol.  Keep yourself from any idol whether your career, dating life, fashion life, sports life, money earning, media watching or game-playing.  Ask yourself: what keeps me from reading God’s Word, praying, memorizing Scripture and meditating upon God? Whatever has edged God out IS an IDOL! Now, look back at Deuteronomy 17:18. Before us is the pathway God designed for kings. A king is an ultimate leader. So, we could say these verses are the qualities God said would lead to the character set it takes to become an incredible leader in His sight.

 

 

Think Eternal

Do you ever stop and think about what eternal life means? When our threescore and ten are passed, we do not end, we just get moved to better quarters. What we did on Earth does not end. Did you notice that we have been reading what Moses wrote? His faithfulness serving God 3,500 years ago impacts all of us today. We just read from Paul, whose faithful ministry 2,000 years ago touches all of us through the copy of the Word, and this Gentile Church we attend. Paul was OUR Apostle. His church plants end up here in Kalamazoo if you really think about it. All that to say, you can invest in people: your wife, husband, children, grandchildren, and spiritual brother, sisters and children in the Lord. And listen, this is the big part: you and I are going to be alive and conscious in a far better location, as we get to see what happens to all the investments we made. Life is like a garden. You plant it in a day, you reap from it spring, summer, and fall. What are you planting that will follow you to Heaven?

 

 

[1] The original ideas for this study were based on an article from:  From the NIV Study Bible, Introductions to the Books of the Bible, Proverbs
Copyright 2002 © Zondervan. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

[2] 061022

 
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