Zev Porat

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Little Goes a Long Way: 1 Kings 11:1-11

Is a little amount of something acceptable? Say, for example, I am training for a marathon and I go to a birthday party for my niece or nephew, would it be acceptable for me to eat the whole birthday cake? On the other hand, would it be acceptable for me to eat a piece of birthday cake? Moreover, let us take for example a person who is allergic to shellfish. This particular individual knows he is deathly allergic to shellfish but he wants to eat just a little anyway. Would it be acceptable for this person to eat a small amount as opposed to a larger quantity? Lastly, if I were to make you a cake and use salt instead of sugar, would that be acceptable? What if I was only to use a little bit of salt (for example, one-half salt and the other half sugar) would that be acceptable? How much salt is not enough to worry about in a cake recipe? Is there ever a point when I should not worry about mixing the wrong ingredients together in a dish? 


In today's society you are told, "Everything is moderation is acceptable." A little bit of profanity is ok, a little bit of premarital sex is ok, a little bit of secular music with its new age philosophies will not hurt, a little pornography is nothing, a little bit of a bad attitude is alright. This can be summed up with one statement: society tells you that a little bit of sin is not a big deal. Let me ask you, "Is a little bit of sin a big deal?" Is there such a thing as a little bit of sin?


Solomon was David's son born of Bathsheba. After David's death, Solomon was made king over Israel. Solomon recognized his inability to rule a kingdom, so God granted him wisdom. Along with that wisdom, God blessed Solomon with riches and fame. He built the first temple and then built his own palace. Some of the closing words of 1 Kings 10 read: "King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart." When chapter 10 closes, we have this picture of Solomon as a great king whom God blessed, but Solomon's splendor was not enjoyed for much longer in Israel's history. 1 Kings 11 opens with a statement set in contrast to the splendor of 1 Kings 10. We are told that Solomon married many women from the people group the Lord instructed His people not to marry. We discover God's reasoning behind this decree; God knew that intermarrying with foreign women would bring with it the worship of foreign gods (1 Kings 11:1-3). 1 Kings 11:4 reads, "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been." As God said would happen, Solomon devoted himself to other gods. Solomon followed after Ashtoreth, Molech, and Chemosh with all of their practices and rituals that were in direct opposition to the character of God. Thus, Solomon did not fully devote himself to God and 1 Kings 11:9 informs us that God became angry with Solomon. As punishment for this sin, 1 Kings 11:11 records that God was going to tear Solomon's kingdom away from him.


Sin begins with a small desire. We desire to fulfill our wants and to act in a manner we want. Please notice the self-centered nature of the previous statement: we, our, we. Sin always seeks to satisfy us. Sin, however, does not remain small. Just as Solomon started by loving other women and moved to serving other gods, so we start to move forward into more and more sin. You desire to befriend certain friends, then you dress like them, talk like them, go to the places they go. You may desire to participate in their lifestyle, buying into the thought process that a little will not hurt, but before long, you have taken on the outward appearance and inward character of those individuals you befriend. The same can be said for a sinful attitude. It may begin small, but that attitude will overtake your thought process and before long you are serving, enslaved to, the attitude or the thought process of sin. Each person's consequences are different, but the fact of the matter is that sin carries consequences. None of us are wealthy kings waiting to lose our kingdoms but we each have an area of influence where our witness is tarnished. We each have scars of a sinful past. Therefore, I want to encourage you to heed the example of Solomon, learn from his mistake. You know what sin you struggle with, and you know when your heart is not "fully dedicated to God." Too many times we focus on the "large sins" but we fail to recognize that pride, a rebellious spirit, and other "small sins" of a private and discrete nature will tear us apart, also. Let us reflect the attitude of Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting."


James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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