Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

1 Kings 11:1-8
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.

A Russian countess accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour and was open about her testimony. The Tsar was displeased and threw her into prison. After 24 hours with the lowest level of Russian society, in the most miserable conditions imaginable, he ordered her brought into his presence. He smiled sarcastically and said, “Well, are you ready now to renounce your silly faith and come back to the pleasures of the court?” To his surprise, the countess smiled serenely and said, “I have known more real joy and more real happiness in one day in prison with Jesus than I have known in a lifetime in the courts of the Tsar.”

Sin has no pleasure that Christ can’t conquer. The world offers many cheap substitutes for the joy and peace of salvation in Christ, but they prove dissatisfying and worthless over time. Solomon was the wisest man alive, but even the wisest man alive apart from Jesus is a fool. For all Solomon did right early on, he did things extremely wrong in the end. 1,000 women?! I don’t even want to imagine the kind of immoral and licentious behavior he engaged in. He started His reign by building the most incredible Temple ever built for the Lord, but He ended it by building temples for a bunch of false gods. He started a humble worshipper of Yahweh but ended His reign a broken worshipper of anything and everything. Idolatry and immorality took over his life as he let fame, fortune, power, and pleasure rule his life.

Some say the goal in life is to make as much money as you can as quickly as you can so you can spend the rest of your life doing as little as you can. The perfect life for some is laying on a beach somewhere every day and partying hard every night. For others the perfect life is having everything money can buy and anything society says satisfies. However, a life full of pleasure and self-absorbed people only leads to deep pain. You can be surrounded by money and people and still be the loneliest person on the earth because your conscience is so dirty.

Jesus taught us the direct opposite of the pleasure seeking life. Jesus said the greatest among you will be your servant and it’s more blessed to give than receive. Christ told us that following Him meant death and dying to self means life. Sacrifice, service, sharing what you have….these are the actions in life that result in real joy. When pleasure takes over, life turns really ugly really fast. Read the book of Ecclesiastes and see what Solomon had to say about it.

Today, is pleasure your goal? Is life just about the next car, the next house, the next vacation, the next profit maker, the next hobby, the next party, or that next promotion? Are you content in Christ and with His provision, or do you have an insatiable desire for more? Rest in Christ. Rest in the gospel. Rest in His love for you and what He did for you on the cross. Better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere. In His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Father God, forgive me for trying to find satisfaction in anything or anyone else other than You. You are my joy, peace, and salvation. It is my heart’s desire to know You and serve You. In Jesus name, amen.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.