NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: 1 Kings 11:1-13; Luke 11:31; 1 Corinthians 1:30
Discussion Questions: What are some unpopular commands in Scripture that church members are likely to disregard? How do our material possessions affect our spiritual state? What are some signs that a person has a “divided” heart? How can you tell if your heart is devoted to the Lord or divided by other pursuits?
Food for Thought:
Read 1 Kings 11:1-8. What we see in 1 Kings 11 is one of the most illustrative pictures of idolatry in the Bible. Idolatry and foolishness go hand in hand. If wisdom means to fear the Lord first and foremost, then foolishness is to place something above the Lord. Foolish choices always accompany idolatry. So how did Solomon get here? How did these idolatrous attitudes take root in his heart?
First, it began with a disregard for God’s specific instructions. Kings were not to gather much gold and horses for themselves, and they were not to acquire many wives (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). If they did, their hearts would go astray.
This is how idolatry starts, with a disregard for God’s law. In our foolishness we turn away from the Creator and choose instead to worship created things (Romans 1:18-23). We shun the fountain of true joy and stubbornly build our own dirty wells to drink from (Jeremiah 2:13).
Idolatry creates division in our hearts. Some other person, experience or pursuit grabs our attention and thoughts. God is slowly pushed away from the center of our lives. Idols demand our attention and affection. For example, if you make your career your idol, it will demand all your time and energy. You’ll overwork, cut corners, miss out on family time, and neglect time in Christian community. What is happening? Your idol has you by the throat and is choking out your devotion to God. Idolatry creates division.
Idolatry leads to destruction. When the apostle Paul talked about the enemies of the cross, he said, “Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). This is idolatry language. When something else has our focus and our passion, our end is destruction unless we repent and seek the Lord.
We know that Solomon derailed his kingship and fell under the Lord’s judgment through his idolatry. Idolatry always leaves us fruitless and frustrated, and can lead to our downfall.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students, and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.