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LESSON 1 – GLEANINGS IN MATTHEW BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 - GLEANING IN MATTHEW
THE KING WHO FAILED
1 Kings 10 and 11
(Read Deut. 17:14-17; 1 Kings 1(1: 21, 22, 28 to 11:4, 9-13)
TRUTH TO BE EMPHASIZED
Solomon’s reign was so glorious as to foreshadow Christ’s coming kingdom. Yet in his folly he turned from God and lived in sin and died under a cloud. Those truly wise depend on God.
HIS WEALTH – 1 KINGS 10:14-23
1 Kings 10:14-23 (KJV) 14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. 17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches. Gold in abundance came to him; silver and gold were as plenteous as stones (2 Chronicles 1:15 (KJV) And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance). He carried on commerce with all the kings of Arabia and enriched himself with all the world had to offer. He sat on a throne of which there was not the like made in any kingdom; ivory overlaid with the best gold. Fourteen huge lions gave a look of dignity and splendour to the house. The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents. That number is symbolic of the height and essence of man’s desire. It is short of perfection and all of the king’s wealth was like the six water pots in John 2:6 (KJV) And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Only Christ can satisfy; all else is vanity.
HIS WISDOM – 1 KINGS 10:23, 24
1 Kings 10:23-24 (KJV) 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
Solomon not only had knowledge of all things, he also had wisdom; and all the earth sought Solomon to hear his wisdom given by God. That wisdom has been preserved for us in his book of Proverbs. In that book we are directed to him who is the Wisdom of God (Proverbs Chapter 8). All of Solomon’s wisdom did not keep him from falling into sin. Only dependence upon Him who is Wisdom can do that.
HIS WEAPONS – 1 KINGS 10:17, 26, 29
1 Kings 10:17,26,29 (KJV) 17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
Solomon’s reign was one of peace and yet he prepared for war. Out of Egypt he secured chariots and horsemen to garrison the cities of Israel. Yet it was his folly that brought rebellion and war which would have disrupted the kingdom in his day but for the mercy of God.
HIS WIVES – 1 KINGS 11:1-13
1 Kings 11:1-13 (KJV) 1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.
Solomon assured himself an unhappy life by multiplying wives unto himself, strange wives of the heathen nations from whom God’s people were to separate themselves. When a child of God marries an unsaved companion he has trouble aplenty; think of multiplying this 700 times. No wonder Solomon exclaimed, “I find more bitter than death the woman” Ecclesiastes 7:26 (KJV) And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
HIS WICKEDNESS – 1 KINGS 11:4-8
1 Kings 11:4-8 (KJV) 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
Solomon transgressed every command given by God to the king. In Deuteronomy 17:16-17 (KJV) 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold, we read that the king was not to greatly multiply to himself horses, silver and gold, he was not to multiply wives to himself. Solomon did all three. To crown it all he turned from the God of his father to the idols of his godless wives.
GOD’S WRATH – 1 KINGS 11:9
1 Kings 11:9 (KJV) And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel which had appeared unto him.
TELLING THE LESSON STORY
God kept His promises to Solomon. He became world famous. Foreign kings sent him presents every year. Some, like the Queen of Sheba, journeyed long distances to see the wonders of his kingdom and ask him questions. If you had not been to Jerusalem in those days, you hadn’t seen anything. It was the showplace of the world. All Israel basked in Solomon’s glory. From being an obscure, uncultured, backward nation of simple farmers, it became the world centre of learning, culture and the arts. This is how God blesses the one who humbles himself and puts God first. Those who do that today receive God’s salvation. They may not have earthly fame and riches but God promises them in eternity far more than Solomon ever had.
Solomon was a wise ruler and organized his kingdom well. He ruled from the big bend of the Euphrates River in the north to the “Gaza Strip” in the south (1 Kings 4:21,24 (KJV) 21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life. 24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him). He was a wise businessman. He traded with many countries. He built a merchant navy to go to faraway lands and bring back all kinds of new luxuries, strange plants and animals. The trade routes went through his land and he got wealth from duties and customs. There was so much gold and silver in Jerusalem that they thought no more of silver than they did of stones. His kitchen provided exotic, gourmet food for the royal table. His palace servants were decked out in fancy uniforms.
Solomon was not only a wise ruler and businessman but he was a famous naturalist and writer. He studied every kind of plan and animal and wrote encyclopaedias about them. He made Jerusalem beautiful with buildings and gardens. He was also a fine poet. He composed 1,005 poems and songs. We have some of them in our Bible, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. He put his wisdom into 3,000 catchy sayings, called Proverbs, so that they would be remembered easily. We have 915 of them in the Book of Proverbs. If you read one chapter a day, every month, and follow his good advice, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
Solomon tells us that all this came from fearing the Lord (Proverbs 9:10 (KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding). He loved God and was afraid of displeasing Him (1 Kings 3:3 (KJV) And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places; 1 Kings 8:61 (KJV) Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day). Because he obeyed God, God gave him all these blessings. God loves to do this for those who love Him and fear to displease Him.
It would be wonderful if the story ended there. But Solomon had inherited the same nature as you have. All the fame and compliments went to his head and he became proud. He forgot who had given it all to him. He did not give God the glory. He took the credit. He started to love himself and that made him want to please himself instead of God. He thought he could get on by himself.
Likely Solomon stopped praying and reading his Bible. God commanded that the king was to read the Word of God for himself every day, so he would fear God. Solomon started to disobey God just a little bit at first (Deuteronomy 17:14,20 (KJV) 14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel). God had said that the king was not to send his people to Egypt to trade and he was not to have a lot of horses for himself. Solomon sent them to Egypt for chariots and he had 4,000 horses of his own. The ruins of his horse stables at Megiddo can be seen today.
God said that the king was not to hoard gold and silver for himself. Solomon had so much gold that even his dishes were gold. He gathered gold for himself and made the people do forced labour and pay high taxes. When Solomon stopped trusting in the Lord, he made trade and peace alliances with the heathen countries around. To seal these contracts, he married women from all these heathen countries. He had a huge harem just like the heathen kings. God had said that a man was to have one wife (Genesis 2:24 (KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh). He said that the king was not to have many wives, even if it was the style.
Solomon loved his wives more than the Lord, so he pleased them instead of God. On the Mount of Olives, across from Jerusalem, he built temples where his wives could worship their heathen gods, which were demons. God had commanded that this was not to be done (Deuteronomy 17:2-7 (KJV) 2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you).
When he blessed the people at the dedication of the temple, he urged them to have a perfect heart with the Lord to keep His commandments (1 Kings 8:61 (KJV) Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day). That means a heart fully devoted to the Lord. Solomon did that when he was young; but when he was old, God says, “his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God.” Solomon had stopped loving the Lord with all his heart. He forgot his own advice that, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall).
As his love for the Lord decreased, so did his happiness. When young he wrote, “Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20); when he was old he was unhappy, though he had so much. He had no satisfaction or purpose in life. He was a disillusioned old man.
When he was old he wrote a book, called Ecclesiastes, about his search for the meaning of life. He made his search by reasoning in his own mind because he no longer had the wisdom of God (Ecclesiastes 1:13,16 (KJV) 13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge). He could only examine everything as it appeared on this earth, “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 (KJV) I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit; Ecclesiastes 2:11 (KJV) Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun, Ecclesiastes 2:17 (KJV) 17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit, Ecclesiastes 2:20 (KJV) Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun, etc.). There never was a man who knew what this earth could offer more than Solomon. Because he left God out of it all, he came to the conclusion that life was empty and nothing satisfied.
When Solomon started to reign it looked as if the Golden Age had come. Sin is a sneaky thing. Solomon never dreamed when he started to buy horses in Egypt that he would end up building temples to demons. He found that there is a reckoning day, even here on earth. God raised up enemies against him and said that his descendants would lose most of the kingdom. The great success story ended in failure, just as all men’s efforts do. There never was a man who had a better opportunity to be the perfect man than Solomon. He proved once again that man in himself has not the strength to please God.
Let us take a peek at another old man. He too was wise and well educated with a brilliant future. He threw it all away to please the Lord Jesus (Philippians 3:8 (KJV) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ). Instead of fame and fortune, he is ending his days penniless in a damp, cold prison cell in Rome. Is he disillusioned and sour on life? Let us look over his shoulder and see what he is writing. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him . . . the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all those who love His appearing . . . The Lord shall . . . preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 2:12; 4:6-8, 18).
You have a choice to make. Live to please yourself, like the king who failed and lost his kingdom, or live for the Lord Jesus like the apostle Paul, who lived to please God and got a crown. If you do you will end up reigning with the Lord Jesus in His kingdom.
TEST - LESSON 1: GLEANINGS IN MATTHEW
TRUE OR FALSE
1. Solomon had stopped loving the Lord with all his heart.
2. God loves to do things for those who love Him and fear Him.
3. King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches.
4. Solomon proved that man in himself has not the strength to please God.
5. Solomon loved his wives more than the Lord.
6. God said that the king was not to hoard gold and silver for himself.
7. Those truly wise, depend on God
8. God blesses the one who humbles himself and puts God first.
9. Salvation brings earthly fame and riches.
10. You have a choice, please yourself, or live for the Lord Jesus like the apostle Paul.
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