is sin? Someone gave this interesting
answer: "Man calls sin an accident, but God calls it an
abomination. Man calls sin a defect, but
God calls it a disease. Man calls sin an
error, but God calls it an enmity. Man
calls sin liberty, but God calls it lawlessness.
Man calls sin a trifle, but God calls it a tragedy”
(Moody Monthly). A psychologist one wrote
a book about 50 years ago entitled: Whatever Happened to
Sin? (Menninger). He argued in this
book that our culture has tried to avoid sins by giving them
different names; he had anticipated the politically correct
movement by about 20 years. He also
sustained that we acted in this way because nobody wanted to
take responsibility for their sinful behaviors.
So we've tried to pass off our sins on society or
others so that "I'm OK, and you're OK; yes, we're all OK,
and nobody is a sinner anymore." We like
to trivialize and minimize our sins, but the Bible and
Christ won't allow us to get away with such conduct.
It's interesting that the pages of Scripture not only
reveal people's good behaviors, but it also shows their
worst behaviors. And then it often
reveals the tragic and far-reaching consequences of their
One book that shows sins very clearly is 1 Kings.
Let's look at some background materials. In
the Hebrew Bible, the books of 1 and 2 Kings were all one
document. A similar book to that of Kings
is that of Chronicles, but Chronicles is written from the
viewpoint of a priest while Kings is written from the
viewpoint of a prophet (EOT). Jewish tradition
says that Jeremiah is the author, and he would be a very
good candidate except for two difficulties.
First of all, he was carried into captivity by the
Jews who moved to Egypt , but the last part of this book
talks about events that happened in Babylon .
In fact, let's notice something here.
Turn to 2 King 24:18: "Zedekiah was 21 years old
when he became king, and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem ."
Now flip to the last verse of 2 Kings: "And as for
his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the
king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life."
Now turn to Jeremiah 52, and you'll notice that the
first and last verses of that chapter are the very same as
what we've just read in 2 Kings! The king
mentioned in both passages is King Jehoiachin, and the year
is 560 B.C. Here’s the second difficulty.
Now since we know that Jeremiah began his work as a
prophet in 626 BC, this means that he would have been 86 if
he began his work as a prophet at age 20.
Now that's not an impossible age, but Baruch, Jeremiah's
younger scribe, might be a better candidate as writer of the
last chapters in both books. Since Baruch
was Jeremiah's disciple, this would explain why the Jews
continued to see all of 1 Kings as the work of Jeremiah.
So Jeremiah may have written much of it, and Baruch
then made further additions. This would
put the writing of the book around 550 B.C.
The purpose of the book is very clear.
"Kings demonstrates how it was that God destroys His own
people and sends them into exile" (Bimson).
This is in accordance with what God had said back around 800
years earlier in the book of Deuteronomy.
In that book, God promised blessings for obedience and
threatened punishment for disobedience.
This book shows exactly how those promises and threats
became realities. "God blesses the king and
nation when they keep the covenant. God's
judgment falls with inevitable certainty upon those who
disobey His law" (Bible Almanac). Here are two
pretty good outlines: one is based on major characters and
one is based on what happens to Israel :
The story of Solomon (1-11)
The story of Jereboam (12-16)
The story of Elijah (17-19)
The story of Ahab (20-22)
or we also see:
The kingdom protected (1-2)
The kingdom enriched (3-10)
The kingdom divided (11-14)
The kingdom destroyed (15-22).
Someone made this observation: "At the end, we are left with
the depressing conclusion that disaster was inevitable,
given that [nobody] (and therefore no king) is sinless (1
Kings 8:46) (Bimson)."
This is the subject of our lesson today. Since
the Scriptures clearly reveal the sins of others, let's
learn from their sins, so that we can avoid them.
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that
much in the Old Testament "was written for our admonition."
Today we want to focus on the sins of the
major kings in 1 Kings.
The first king was Solomon, and his sin was compromise.
Let's read 11:1-8: "But King Solomon loved
many foreign women, as well as the daughter Pharaoh: women
of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and
Hittites—from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the
children of Israel, 'You shall not intermarry with them, nor
they with you. Surely
they will turn away your hearts after their gods.' Solomon
clung to these in love.
he had 700 wives, and 300 concubines; and his wives turned
away his heart.
it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his
heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the
Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.
Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians,
and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully
follow the Lord, as did his father David.
Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of
Moab , on the hill that is east of Jerusalem , and for
Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned
incense and sacrificed to their gods."
Solomon was not only a womanizer, but he was also a
compromiser. He compromised his wisdom, his
walk with God, his worship, and his people's welfare.
Solomon had been given much wisdom by God Himself,
but notice that he failed to heed and to follow God's word.
The messages were very clear: the Jews were
not to marry pagan women, and kings were commanded not to
have many wives (Deut. 7:3-4 & 17:17)! Now it
was customary in that time for kings to marry foreign women
in order to maintain peace with others nations. For
whatever reason, Solomon married many wives; he compromised
God's wisdom and did not obey His Word. Have
you ever tried to rationalize some clear command in God's
Word to suit your own desires? Then we
see how Solomon compromised his walk with God.
Brothers, we might fantasize that having the sexual
life of Solomon would be paradise on earth, but our text
sets the record straight and says it was damnation because
such pleasure caused Solomon to compromise his walk with
God—his wives turned away his heart after other gods!
Don't let adultery cause you to compromise your walk
with God! The apostle Paul tells to us to
glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which really belong
to Him if we are His children (1 Cor. 6:19-20)! And
when Solomon's wives began begging to worship at “the shrine
of their choice”, Solomon began erecting high places with
idols all around Jerusalem , and he too went after those
pagan gods with all their wicked practices, which
compromised his worship to the living God. What
a terrible and wicked example Solomon was setting before all
the Israelites! But that's the nature of
compromise: at first, we give up just a little, and then we
rationalize, and give up a little more, and then our
addiction grows, and before too long, we have been
completely thrown off course! Don't be a
compromiser like Solomon was!
The next king ruled in Israel after the kingdom split in 930
B.C., and his name was Jeroboam.
His sin was apostasy
or a complete abandonment of trying to be obedient to God's
commands, especially for expediency's sake. Let's
note what is said about him in 12:25-31 because his apostasy
was a plague on Israel until God allowed the kingdom to fall
in 722 B.C.: "Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the
mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there.
Also he went out from there and built Penuel. Now
Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now the kingdom may return to
the house of David: if these people go to offer sacrifices
in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of
this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of
Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of
the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to
the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.
are your gods, O Israel , which brought you up from the land
of Egypt !'
he set up one in Bethel , and he put the other in Dan.
this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship
before the one as far as Dan.
made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every
class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi."
Jeroboam was worried that his subjects would return to Judah
when they went to worship at the temple in Jerusalem .
He had to find a way to keep this from happening or
they might eventually rebel against him. So
Jeroboam is not interested in doing God's will, but in
saving his kingdom (which God had given to him in the first
place). Notice that the text says that he
sought advice. Whoever his advisors were, they
were very clever, but they weren't very spiritual. As
a result of their advice, we see that Jeroboam makes two
golden calves. Now where have we heard of a
golden calf before? Remember the one that
Aaron made out in the wilderness in Exodus 32? This
is the old calf worship from Egypt being resurrected once
again! In fact, Jeroboam's words in verse 28
are almost the exact same words as those of Aaron in Exodus
32:4! The city of Dan was about as far north
in Israel as one could travel, and the city of Bethel was
about as far south as one could travel. "O my
people, you need not go on such a long a trip; worshipping
these gods will be so much more convenient! Shrines
on high places means that there would be ritual public sex
for all to see and engage in, which was against God's holy
nature, and the priests appointed were not Levites, which
went against God’s Word! The living and true
God of Israel and His pattern for worship were being
completely abandoned; this is blatant apostasy!
This sin is mentioned over and over again in the book
of 1 Kings, and no Israelite king had the courage to tear
down this pagan worship because they also saw that
Jeroboam's wicked solution for keeping the people loyal to
Israel worked to their favor as well! How much
apostasy is going on in worship services today where God's
will is being totally ignored, and church leaders have opted
instead to accommodate their worship services to whatever
our American culture craves? Expediency can be
a very strong temptation for apostasy.
Like Jesus, let's remember to respond when tempted, "It is
written ..." Jeroboam's great sin was
apostasy. Let's not let it become ours as
While Jeroboam ruled in Israel , Rehoboam ruled in Judah .
sin was permissiveness.
Let's read 14:21-24: "And Rehoboam the son
of Solomon reigned in Judah . Rehoboam
was 41 years old when he became king. He reigned 17 years in
Jerusalem , the city which the Lord had chosen out of all
the tribes of Israel , to put His name there.
His mother's name was Naamah, an Ammonitess.
Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked
Him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more
than all that their fathers had done.
For they also built for themselves high places, sacred
pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under
every green tree.
there were also perverted persons in the land.
did according to the abomination of the nations which the
Lord had cast out before the children of Israel ."
What a sad picture of Judah ! Here
we see the whirlwind that was reaped from Solomon's sinful
actions to accommodate his pagan wives. Now
the people were busy building high places, sacred pillars,
and wooden images (all of these objects were associated with
sexual obscenity). "Perverted persons" is a
reference to those who practiced sodomy and prostitution in
religious rituals. The text tells us that the
Jews were acting just as wretched as the pagan nations which
had once inhabited the land. Question: So what
did King Rehoboam do about all this?
Answer: Absolutely nothing! His sin was
permissiveness. There were gods of all kinds,
and shrines of all kinds, and perverted practices of all
kinds; yes, they had religious diversity, but it was all
"evil in the sight of the Lord" says our text! King
Rehoboam let evil triumph. Someone made this
good remark: "Courage is like a muscle. The more we exercise
it, the stronger it gets. I sometimes worry
that our collective courage is growing weaker from disuse.
We don't demand it from our leaders, and our
leaders don't demand it from us. The courage
deficit is both our problem and our fault (McCain in Larson/Elshof).
It's so easy to do nothing. "Just
go with the flow" must be one of Satan's sweetest lullabies.
Let's not be permissive, like Rehoboam!
Let's go against the grain, and courageously take a
stand together against the evils within our own culture!
The next ruler in Judah was Asa, and his sin was
Let's read 15:16-22: "Now there was war between Asa and
Baasha king of Israel all their days. And Baasha king of
Israel came up against Judah , and built Ramah, that he
might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah .
Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the
treasuries of the house of the Lord and the treasuries of
the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his
King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the
son of Hezion, king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying,
'Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was
between my father and your father.
I have sent you a present of silver and gold.
and break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel , so that
he will withdraw from me.'
Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his
armies against the cites of Israel . He
attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maachah, and all Chinneroth,
with all the land of Naphtali .
Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped
building Ramah, and remained in Tirzah.
King Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah ; none was
they took away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha
had used for building; and with them King Asa built Geba in
Benjamin, and Mizpah."
we see that the Jews are fighting one another! Incredible!
King Baasha fortifies the city of Ramah, which
is on a major road way before entering Judah so that the
Israelites will not defect to King Asa. Asa
relies on his wealth, even robbing the temple, to pay off
the King of Syria to fight against King Baasha. The
Syrian king attacks several northern cities in Israel , so
King Baasha has to abandon fortifying Ramah. Then
King Asa orders all the Jew to come to Ramah and carry off
its building materials, and with those same materials King
Asa fortifies two cities in Judah . For the
most part, Asa was a good king, but where do we see God in
all these actions? King Asa is trying to
strengthen his kingdom through making himself strong forts;
he is not trusting in the Lord at all. How
often do you take matters into your own hands and fail to
trust in God for His help and guidance? One
general in Operation Desert Storm tells how General
Schwarzkopf ordered 80,000 Marines to move from one support
base which supplied the needed 100,000 gallons of water per
day to another support base about 80 miles away in order to
outflank the Iraqi army. This was a brilliant
move, but the problem was no water was found at the new
support base. They asked Saudi officials,
Kuwati officials, and Bedouin nomads if they knew where
water was. "No," was always the reply. For 14
days, engineers had been digging the area to find water.
During those days, this general had also been
praying every morning at 7:15, his devotional time, that
water would be found. As he exited the chapel
the day before the attack on Kuwait City , a colonel told
the general to come with him. They went about
a mile down a road and then 20 yards off the road was an
abandoned water tower that had been used at one time to fill
The general asked an engineer to test the water's flow;
later he reported that it would provide 100,000 gallons a
day (Krulak in Larson/Elshof)! Let's trust in
God, and not in our material goods nor in our own strength!
Omri became king in Israel . Listen to his
story in 16:23-26: "In the 31st
year of Asa king of Judah , Omri became king over Israel ,
and reigned 12 years. Six years he reigned in Tirzah.
he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of
silver; then he built on the hill, and called the name of
the city which he built, Samaria , after the name of Shemer,
owner of the hill.
did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all who
were before him.
he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and
in his sin by which he had made Israel sin, provoking the
Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols."
Omri did evil, being worse than all his predecessors,
and he continued to promote the apostasy that Jeroboam had
God's holiness was not upheld, but all the perversion and
obscenity that went with pagan worship was fostered and
promoted. His sin was secularism.
Secularism means living as if God doesn’t exit, and
that's exactly what Omri and the Israelites were doing.
And it's exactly what many Americans are doing
as well. Here's just a very small
There's a website called ChristmasTreeForMe.com, where they
will sell you two kinds of upside down Christmas trees for
Why an upside down Christmas tree? Is
there some religious significance to this?
The reason—this allows more room for more presents!
It's not more holiness were after; it's simply
more greed! You see, it’s living as if
God doesn’t exist. "Be
holy because I am holy"
(1 Peter 1:15-16) has been just about totally abandoned by
our culture! Let's be careful we're not guilty
of the sin of secularism!
Omri's son, Ahab, then becomes Israel 's king. Let's
read about him in 21:20-26: "So Ahab said to Elijah,
'Have you found me, O my enemy?'
And he answered, 'I have found you, because you have sold
yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: 'Behold, I
will bring calamity on you.
will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab
every male in Israel , both bond and free.
will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of
Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah,
because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me
to anger, and made Israel sin.'
concerning Jezebel [Ahab’s pagan wife] the Lord also spoke,
saying, 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.'
dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city,
and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the
field.' But there was no one like Ahab
who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord,
because Jezebel stirred him up.
he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to
all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast our
before the children of Israel."
Ahab had made idolatrous Baal worship the
official religion of Israel, and prophets of the Lord like
Elijah were being hunted down and killed! Ahab
and Israel had become thoroughly pagan. Ahab's sin was
paganism. Did you notice the influence of
Ahab's murderous wife, a devoted Baal worshiper?
The text says that she "stirred Ahab up," and she was
indeed a strong-willed woman! Question: What
stirs you up? What gets you going? What
excites you? Be careful here because whatever
it is, that very thing may be becoming your god and replace
the living God! Our 21st
century offers us all kinds of pagan alternatives, and
they're pushed every day right in our own living rooms!
A British reporter wrote this in June 2009:
"Look out, here come the pagans. It's late May
in central London and a man is dressed as a tree, a witch in
a velvet robe, and a woman pretending to be a raven with a
long black beak are dancing through the streets of Holborn,
with several hundred others, moving to the rhythm of a dozen
loud drums. They could wake the god of thunder
with their noise but it's OK, the people at the back with
the broadswords and shields are followers of Thor. This
is a parade to celebrate pagan pride, and it would be wise
not to get in the way. 'We are moving into a
new time,' says the leader, wearing a huge set of antlers.
'We are becoming more accepted. Paganism is
reasserting itself.' Paganism is casting its
spell over more people now than ever before in the modern
age.... There are said to be a quarter of a million
practicing pagans in this country, double the number of a
decade ago" (Moreton). Jesus told us that we
can't serve two masters!
Let's be stirred by our Lord, and not by paganism!
Whatever Happened to Sin?
Nothing really. It's still alive
The question is: Will we recognize and do something about it
before it's too late? We can be much like the
kings of Israel ; compromise, apostasy, permissiveness,
materialism, secularism, and paganism are sins that can
still be our spiritual downfall as well.
Sin IS a tragedy, but thankfully God has given us His Word,
His Son, His Spirit, and His church to help us in our
battles against it! There is no need for
anyone here (or anyone reading this) to be lost when Jesus
comes again! Let's repent and work
together to overcome the sins which tempt us.
Confessing sin puts you on the offensive in this
Please share your struggles with us today!
Jesus longs to bless you, but first you must turn
from your sinful lifestyle, must put all your trust in Him,
and must make Him your Lord through baptism in His name!
Join us in combating sin!