Colossians 2:8, rudiments = ideas and speculations of the Gentiles
This chapter is probably the high point of Solomon's reign. Here the Queen of Sheba comes from the ends of the earth to hear his wisdom. In chapter 11, Solomon falls despite his wisdom.
The Queen of Sheba. Her account is given four times in Scripture: here, 2 Chronicles 9, Matthew 12 and Luke 11, two by the Lord Himself. Thus, this is a very significant story, and the account here is by far the most complete.
1) The queen heard of Solomon.
Twice, Christ (Matthew & Luke) identifies Himself as the Greater Than Solomon. If the queen, located at The ends of the earth, heard of the greatness of Solomon, think of how much more there is to hear of Jesus.
A) we have heard:
1. That He provides forgiveness of sin.
2. That He has paid the price to redeem the unworthy.
3. That He provides the grace to have victory over the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and over the pride of life.
4. That He has rendered the devil himself powerless before Himself. Even Satan's personal representatives had to fall before Him while He walked here on this earth. They cried out in fear, and begged for mercy.
If you are unsaved, you have chosen the wrong side, for "I have heard" that Satan himself will bow before Him.
5. That He is preparing mansions where there are streets of gold, and rivers of life for those who love Him and keep His commandments. In fact, eye hath not seen nor ear heard neither hath entered into the heart of man what is being prepared by Him. (1 Kings 10:7.) His wisdom and prosperity will exceed anything we can imagine.
6. I have heard that His judgment and justice is perfect.
He will not be deceived by any person. (V. 9.)
Do you have hard questions for Him? He has the right answers,
What is life? Why are you here? What is the purpose of life?
What is our hard question?
(See message, 9/30/84)
V. 14, now we have a record of Solomon's glory, and of his downfall.
The visit of the queen of Sheba was the peak of his reign. Now it is all down hill. The visit was probably in about his 24th year, making him 40-45 years old at the peak of the kingdom.
Notice v. 23, riches and wisdom. Compare 3:1-11. He has reversed what was given back in chapter three. It is now riches and wisdom rather than wisdom and riches as it was at the first. He was exalted as long as his priority was wisdom, but in his prosperity, he gets them confused. The love of money is the root of all evil, and we see here the root starting to grow and take control of Solomon.
(Why did God allow such riches when He knew the results would be Solomon's and the Kingdom's ruin? As an example for us, 1 Corinthians 10:11. The richest man in the world who pursued whatever the flesh and eye could desire, wrote from first-hand experience, the book of Ecclesiastes, that in the end, only what is done for the glory of God is worth doing.)
He did not keep his heart with all diligence
See that Solomon did not commit a great sin as did David nor like Saul. Rather, sin crept in. Solomon did not keep his heart with all diligence, and the result was the reversal of his priorities. Proverbs 4:23.
How like human nature? Prosperity, more often than not, allows our priorities to change. As long as a person is on the bottom looking up, he cries out, Lord, save me; Lord, help me; Lord, give me wisdom.
When he starts prospering by the Lord's wisdom as a result of doing right and claiming God's promises, his cry changes from Lord, help me to Look at what I have accomplished by my own strength and wisdom. This is human nature, just as sure as the sun comes up in the east.
Solomon's heart was not been kept in the ways of the Lord. He allowed the love of money to replace his love for God's wisdom, and his service to God.
Because no man can serve two masters, either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24.) In this prosperity, Solomon quit seeking first the kingdom of God, and started seeking first the welch of the world, and its pleasures. The two were equally sought for a time, but he had to make a choice, God or mammon.
V. 24. We see that the peak of wealth and wisdom were equal, but the wealth won out. In v. 22, we find that he was spending money, time and energies on frivolous, vain things: apes and peacocks. Imagine the wisest man ever to live seeking enjoyment in babbling apes and strutting birds.
Solomon no longer covets the best gifts, but now seeks after the empty things of the world. He no longer is speaking proverbs about trees, beasts, fowls, creeping things and fish (1 Kings 4:33), but is now trying to find joy, happiness and fulfillment in things he can buy.
We see here in his apes and peacocks (v. 22), that Solomon turned himself to behold wisdom and madness and folly (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 3, 11, 12). He saw that wisdom excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:13), but it was too late to turn around. Folly had destroyed him. Ecclesiastes 1:17, And I gave my heart to know wisdom (of the world, instead of seeking God's face as he did at the first?), and to know madness and folly... V. 18, For much wisdom (of the world, knowledge without God) is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 Kings 10:22.
I believe we see his turning from the wisdom of God to the madness and folly of this world.
Apes and peacocks again explains Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even foolishness and madness.
He says, "I wonder what there is about apes and peacocks, horses and women, that make men fall. I'll just check it all out for myself, and see, so I can warn others."
Now, there is nothing wrong with apes and peacocks. The problem was that he left seeking God's wisdom and the advancement of God's kingdom, and honoring the Name of the Lord, and replaced those godly things with seeking worldly pleasures.
A man had better be satisfied with eating his bread and drinking his drink and serving God with his heart (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9) and keeping his clothes clean, finding his joy in his wife and serving God with all his might (v. 10). Instead, Solomon's heart was turned to the joys and pleasures of this world.
V. 22, Gold, silver and ivory could be used in serving God.
Apes and peacocks had no use at all.
Now we come to the next step in Solomon's fall, which was very subtle. His was not a big fall like happened to others, but his started out very innocently.
David kept 100 horses for his personal use, not violating God's law. His son Solomon (v. 26) gathered horses and chariots around him in a clear violation of the law. (Deuteronomy 17:6.)
What started out as the wisdom of God, direct from God, now involves a direct rebellion against God. How did it take place?
1. God lifted him up, and prospered him.
2. In his prosperity, he must choose to serve God or mammon. He chose mammon, and starts seeking after the foolish things money can buy, apes and peacocks.
3. The little thing that his father permitted (horses & women, 1 Chronicles 18:4), Solomon starts to invest his life into gathering together.
There was no need for horses even if it were not against God's law, because Israel was a hill country where horses and chariots were useless for war. Besides, Solomon was a man of peace; he was not even fighting a war as his dad David was doing when David kept his 100 horses.
Why did Solomon violate God's law when he did not even need to?
I believe the answer is the same as the reason the people kept after God for a king, so that we also may be like the nations (1 Samuel 8:20). Only here Solomon is wanting to surpass all the kings, not only in wisdom, but also in wealth, warfare and women. Pride.
Notice also his income now. His wealth was now being spent on personal pleasure rather than advancing the kingdom of God. (The representative of God's kingdom was in the glories of Jerusalem and the temple at this time.)
Solomon got the basic reason for money confused. The purpose of money is not:
to provide security
to establish independence
to create power
to give influence.
The purpose of money is to:
1. Provide our basic needs (Matthew 6:26, 28, 30) which will establish a daily dependence on Him. Give us this day our daily bread, Matthew 6:11.
2. To confirm direction from God (Psalms 37:7). Money will determine who is Lord of our life. A person with unlimited funds will find it difficult to recognize God's leading through finances. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God. 1 Timothy 6:17.
Also, a person who has temporal things has a problem concentrating on the true riches. Phlippians 3:7, 8.
However, we are warned against equating gain with godlinessgain in worldly wealth, acclaim or power. 1 Timothy 6:5.
3. To advance the kingdom of God here on earth, which includes giving to other Christians in need.
Of course, Malachi 3:10 fits here, and also only by the preaching of the gospel are people saved. God's instruments today for the maturing the believer is the local church, so it can reach the unsaved.. The local church is financed only by the giving of God's people.
As God's people lose the vision of advancing God's kingdom by their giving, then the church of Jesus Christ loses its ability to effectively keep its influence in the community.
When the church fails in social programs, the State takes them over. And there will be social spending, for the Lord Himself said that the poor you have with you always. (Mark 14:7, &c.) Then instead of the church being able to insist on Godly principles to be followed for help for th poor (work, &c.), the State demands allegiance to it as god.
This nation was founded on the voluntary principle: People gave voluntarily to Christian organizations who met the millions of immigrants as they came into the country. These agencies taught these immigrants the ways of the Lord (Protestant, not Catholic), because they had the funds to do so, and the State did not.
Today, the church (Bible believing Protestant churches) don't have the money, so the State, the Catholic and liberal churches are meeting the immigrants, which many times are filling the jails and robing society.
We have a Protestant Christian nation today because of the sacrificial giving to advance the Kingdom of God back in the early days of our nation.
1> So giving to advance the Kingdom of God is the way to
influence the community for Christ.
2> Giving to other Christians draws us together, 2 Corinthians 8:14.
It shows others we are Christians. By this shall all men know you are my disciples because you love one another.
Also, as we do give, we are able to give because of God's principle of sowing and reaping. 2 Corinthians 9:6.
4. The fourth thing money is for is to show God's power, Matthew 3:10.
I guess the main thing it does is mock the god of this world (a sermon all in itself). The world is madly pursuing the god mammon, and when we take their god and sacrifice to our Lord God it completely bewilders the world.
It glorifies God as we submit this world's goods to Him, and He returns His blessings to us.
Solomon, in the last of his reign, lost sight of the purpose of money. He starts spending his money on personal pleasure, apes and peacocks, instead of investing for the advancement of God's kingdom.
Notice the next thing he did. 1 Kings 10:29: He started providing chariots, horses, means of warfare, to God's enemies for a profit the Hittites and Syrians. He is now serving mammon rather than God.
"How much is enough? Just a little more."
Note that if America refused to support those who have been and are out to destroy her, her enemies would have perished long ago. It seems as though the State Department, as well as the elected presidents, are representatives of our enemies rather than of this nation.
His final step down is found in 1 Kings 11:1. He loved many strange women. (11:1-6.) They turned his heart from the Lord. It takes an unusual man to withstand unlimited money and unlimited beautiful women throwing themselves at him. Solomon withstood those things for a while, but he was unable to hold onto the faith from whence he came.
With the record of his final downfall in Ecc 7:25-29.
Ecc. 7:29, God established Solomon. God set him on high.
V. 25, Solomon sought out the many things, so he could understand them, and instead of him understanding them, he fell to them as he got caught up on the things he sought to understand. (Ecc. 1:17.)
God does not want us to know everything about everything, or we can get caught in them just as did Solomon.
Colossians 2:8, rudiments = ideas and speculations of the Gentiles here in this passage.
Philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men.
Anything that is presented as superior to Christ is to be avoided by a direct command of God.
Solomon got involved in the things that did not build up his faith, (Colossians 2:7), that did not establish in the faith, and he studied them, and these things destroyed him in the end.
When we allow ourselves or our children to study things that do not build up in the Biblical faith, we are in direct violation of God's word and will. It is called sin, and will meet the same fait as did Solomon.
What is here for us to learn.
First, a man may preach to others and still be a castaway.
Romans 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Second, the person who ignores little things will fall little by little.
Third, out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, Mark 7:21.
Fourth, the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10.
a. Mark 10:24, Children, how hard it is for them that trust
b. Luke 12:5, Take heed and beware of covetousness.
c. Colossians 3:5, which is idolatry.
Solomon's wisdom gained great wealth, but he left his quest for Godly wisdom, and sought sensual pleasure in apes, peacocks, horses and women.
Fifth, the way of sin is downhill.
The man who does not keep his heart with all diligence is on a downhill run like a ski run, gradual at first, and then almost straight down.
When I worked as a dozer operator for a land developer in Carmel, Indiana, one of my jobs was to do the finished grade for the company putting in the curbs and sidewalks. I could do about as good as the grader operator could with the grader, and all they had to do was simple shovel work.
I cut a grade according to the grade stakes, and after the concrete curb was poured and set, it looked like it sloped the wrong way. Standing on the main end of the street looking toward the other end of the cul-de-sack, the grade seemed to run up hill away from the mail street, which it was not supposed to do. When it rained, the water ran the right way, away from the main street. However, the curb looked so much like it was going uphill that the ones who put the curb in had me doze out the finished curb and re-cut the grade to look like it was running away from the main street.
Sin is that way: It may look to us like we are on the uphill path toward God and right, when actually we are headed down the hill away from the main road. The word of God is our plumb-line is only one of our measuring marks. Colossians 2:7, 8, Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Learning things that do not build us or our children up in the faith is moving away from God.
Sixth, woman was made to be a help-meet to man. To often, she becomes his snare. (Solomon knew, for he wrote the book of Proverbs.) Look very deep behind a man's destruction, and more often than not, you will find a woman. However, it was not the women's fault that Solomon had so many of them. On the other hand, look deep behind a man's success, and you will, more often than not, find a good woman.
Seventh, Solomon was old when he fell. 1 Kings 11:4. Youth has its dangers and temptations, but age does not exempt us from falling.
Solomon was a child of God, but he allowed little things (apes, peacocks) to creep in, and steal his heart from God.
Those little compromises will steal our hearts away, and we will lose all.
If we don't keep our hearts with all diligence, we will also be cast away.