1. Hello, listening friends.
2. What a delight for us to know that you have tuned in to this broadcast;
3. and, if you heard the last broadcast, you remember we began a series on the Ten Commandments;
4. and this time, we’re going to look at the First Commandment;
5. but, before I do this, I want to ask you a question.
6. Are you ready?
7. What is your life’s desire?
8. Have you ever stopped and asked yourself that question?
9. If you have a piece of paper, I encourage you to write down your desire;
10. then, take this piece of paper and put it in a safe place;
11. and, then, I want you to regularly go back and read it;
12. and, five years from now, you get it out and read it;
13. and then ask yourself, “Has the desire of my heart changed?
14. Is the desire of my heart for the glory of God or for my own glory?
15. Has the desire of my heart grown in intensity or has it grown cold?
16. That is a great instrument.
17. In 1964,
18. I wrote down the desire of my heart on a piece of paper.
19. I wrote one line as I was convicted to verbalize the desire of my heart before the Lord;
20. but I have to be honest with you.
21. Throughout these years, from the time when I wrote those words down, I have faced many difficulties.
22. I have faced times when I was discouraged and despaired of life.
23. I faced mockery and ridicule from some.
24. I faced disappointment and even depression;
25. but, through the years, God sustained me and assured me that He will give me the desire of my heart,
26. because the desire of my heart was to honor God with all of my heart.
27. What was the desire of my heart that I wrote down back those many years ago?
28. It was to make Jesus known to millions of people throughout the world.
29. Because my desire was the glory of God, God honored the desire of my heart.
30. Why do I want you to write this desire of your heart down?
31. What has this got to do with the First Commandment that we will be studying today?
32. My listening friend, listen to what I’m going to tell you very carefully.
33. The temptation of crowding God out of our lives is forever before us.
34. Someone may say, “I thought that idolatry means bowing down to statues and bowing down to images.”
35. I’m going to talk to you more about this in the next message;
36. but what you need to know is this:
37. idolatry is anything and anybody, other than the Lord Jesus Christ, that is occupying the center of your life.
38. I want to show you a biblical example of how that can happen and has happened.
39. One day, God asked a very powerful man—a very important man—to write down the desire of his heart.
40. This man responded right away.
41. If you have your Bibles, please turn with me to 1 Kings, Chapter 3, verse 5.
42. God appeared to Solomon and says, “What is your pleasure, Solomon?
43. What is the desire of your heart?”
44. Solomon’s answer will tell you that this man, at that point of his life, wanted to worship no one but God.
45. He wanted to worship the Lord with all his heart.
46. What did Solomon ask for?
47. Did he ask for wealth?
49. Did he want power?
51. At that point of his life, Solomon wanted to worship the living God alone.
52. He said, “I want wisdom so I can rule my people righteously...”
53. and God gave him the desire of his heart -
54. so much so that Solomon was considered to be the wisest man in the Old Testament.
55. Solomon also was a man of prayer.
56. He wanted nothing but Jehovah’s splendor.
57. Kings and queens came from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of the wisdom that God gave Solomon;
58. but there is one thing you need to know about God.
59. When you desire His glory, He gives you everything else;
60. and that’s what Jesus said.
61. He said,
62. “If you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things”—all your needs, are going to be met;
63. and so He did this with Solomon.
64. He did not only give him wisdom, but He have him wealth and power as well;
65. but here’s an important thing I don’t want you to miss.
66. The God who sees everything before it happens
67. said to Solomon, “I want to give you a warning...”
68. and here’s the warning in 1 Kings, Chapter 9, verses 4 to 6.
69. “If you observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over the kingdom forever;
70. but, if you turn away from Me and do not observe the commands and the decrees that I have given you and you go off and serve and worship other gods,
71. then I will cut you off from the land I’ve given you.
72. I will reject the Temple that I have consecrated for My Name.”
73. Let me tell you something very important, my listening friend.
74. God’s blessings to us can be used to bless others, or, they can be hoarded and bring a curse.
75. God’s blessings can be given away to bring glory to His name, or, they can be accumulated to become a destructive force.
76. God’s blessings can cause you to worship Him joyfully and turn back to Him the blessings that He has given you,
77. or, it can cause us to make an idol out of our blessings;
78. and we all know what happened to Solomon.
79. God was patient with him.
80. It did not only take years, it took decades;
81. but Solomon did not heed the warning of God and he messed up royally;
82. and so Solomon looks at what he said that his desire was many years earlier,
83. and he looks at the blessings that God has given him,
84. and he remembers God’s warning;
85. and then he says, “Vanity of vanity. All is vanity.”
86. The Scripture tells us that in 1 Kings, Chapter 11, verse 5,
87. “… and Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of Sidon, and Molech, the detested god of the Ammonites...”
88. then, in verse 9 of the same Chapter, I Kings 11,
89. we read that God became angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord.
90. Although God clearly and definitively had forbidden Solomon from following other gods,
91. Solomon did not keep the Lord’s commandment;
92. and God said, “I am going to take the kingdom away from you and split it in two and it will never be the same again.”
93. My listening friend, I want to ask you a question.
94. Has God changed?
95. God has never changed.
96. God’s desire for His children to honor Him and please Him first has never changed.
97. The question is, have you changed?
98. Do you think Solomon kept on worshipping Yahweh while he was breaking the First Commandment?
99. And the answer is, most likely, “Yes.”
100. He just slowly but surely began to move away from God,
101. until he woke up one morning and found himself waist deep in worshipping false gods.
102. My listening friend, I want to tell you, these things do not happen overnight.
103. It is one inch at a time.
104. Solomon probably said to himself what we probably say in our hearts when we know we are crowding God out of our lives.
105. He probably said to himself, “Well, maybe this god is so little he surely cannot affect my relationship with Jehovah.
106. It couldn’t be all that bad.
107. Surely, it’s not a big offense to Jehovah.”
108. Slowly, but surely, day by day, we open our hearts to idolatry,
109. until, one day, there are too many gods and Yahweh is pushed out to a corner.
110. So many people do that.
111. So many people become so spiritual when they are in trouble or when they are in crisis,
112. when they desperately need their prayers to be answered;
113. but then, when the Lord answers their prayer and blesses them and prospers them, their earlier commitment to the Lord is forgotten.
114. The tragedy of Solomon’s breaking the First Commandment was that he began to worship the very gods that he detested and rejected earlier in his life.
115. That is why it is so tragic.
116. The Word of God shows us an example of this tragedy and I don’t want you to miss it.
117. I want to ask you this:
118. other than seeking wisdom from God, what was Solomon’s number one goal?
119. His number one goal was to build a Temple.
120. His father, David, wanted to build it and God said, “You have too much blood on your hands. You cannot build it.
121. Solomon will build it.”
122. Do you know what the Bible said in 1 Kings, Chapter 6?
123. It took seven years for Solomon to build the Temple;
124. and, if you go down to Chapter 7, right next to Chapter 6, you’ll find that it says that it took Solomon thirteen years to build his palace.
125. Listen carefully, my listening friend.
126. He spent seven years building for God and thirteen years building for himself;
127. and, in the First Commandment, God said, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery. You shall have no other god but me.”
128. God has never changed His mind.
129. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
130. Solomon began by wanting to live under God’s authority.
131. That’s how he began;
132. but he ended up living under the authority of wealth and power,
133. and his life ended in tragedy.
134. Our world today wants us to believe that the first commandment is that “you shall have no other god but yourself...”
135. therefore, self-indulgence and self-worship is the religion of the day.
136. Some of you have probably never gone through this exercise of writing the desire of your heart on a piece of paper.
137. Some of you may have done this, whether it is in writing or verbalized sometime back in your life.
138. Perhaps you said that you want to serve the Lord full time.
139. Perhaps you said, “God, I want to bring glory to Your name in some way.”
140. Whatever your desire was, I want to ask you this—are you still on track,
141. or, have other gods and God-substitutes very slowly crept into your life and crowded God out of your life;
142. and now your love for Jesus is cold and lifeless?
143. Where are you today?
144. Are you passionate and compassionate, as you once desired,
145. or, have you allowed the bitterness and disappointments and insecurities in your life to freeze your heart out?
146. Jesus spoke these words to the church at Ephesus.
147. He said, “Oh, that you may return to your first love...”
148. but I want to tell you on the authority of the Word of God that it is never too late.
149. It is never too late for any of us;
150. so that you can return to your first love even now;
151. and God will give you the strength.
152. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.