Introduction: What impact does the popular culture have on your
faith? On your decisions about what is right and wrong? If you lined
up your favorite television program with the standards of the Bible,
how close would they be? Over the years, I have proposed about a
simple but painful test: compare the amount of time you spend each
week watching television with the amount of time spent studying the
Bible. If you spend more time with the television, it will have the
larger influence on you. Cultural influences have been with us for a
very long time, so let’s jump into our lesson and study their effect
on families of the past!

  1. King Solomon

    1. Read 1 Kings 10:23-25. What do we learn about King

      1. Put yourself in his place: how would you feel about
        yourself? About your life?

      2. How would you handle your pride?

    2. Read 1 Kings 10:26-29. We talk today about having “toys”
      (possessions for pleasure). You know the phrase: “He who
      dies with the most toys wins?” How was Solomon on the
      “toy” front?

      1. Do you think God had an opinion on acquiring “toys?”
        If so, what was it? (Read Deuteronomy 17:16.)

        1. God’s command seems contrary to logic. Horses
          and chariots were not just toys, they were the
          most advanced military weapons of the day. Why
          do you think God commanded that His people have
          limited military ability? (The Bible Knowledge
          Commentary has it: “the Lord wanted His people
          to depend on Him for their protection.”)

    3. Read 1 Kings 11:1. What other distracting things did
      Solomon have going in his life? (Many foreign women.)

      1. What is the attraction of foreign women?

      2. How many times have you seen this repeated in life: a
        man becomes wealthy and successful in his old age.
        He gets all new things and finally he gets a new
        wife. Sound familiar?

        1. I guess in Solomon’s situation he never left any
          of the old wives!

    4. Read 1 Kings 11:2. Solomon is King. It was popular and
      important for a head of state to marry into the family of
      other heads of state. This helped to keep your nation on
      good terms with other nations. What problem do you see
      with this political strategy? (God specifically told
      Solomon not to intermarry with women of other nations.)

      1. Did Solomon obey God?

        1. Why do you think Solomon disobeyed?

    5. There is another relevant command that is not mentioned in
      1 Kings 11. Read Deuteronomy 17:17. How would you rate
      Solomon’s obedience? (This command also says the King
      should not accumulate large amounts of gold and silver. 1
      Kings 10:27 says Solomon made silver as common as stones.)

    6. Read 1 Kings 11:3-6. Was God right in His warning about
      foreign wives?

      1. Tell me what you think about God’s standards. Our
        text never says that Solomon stopped believing in
        God. What was Solomon’s sin as far as God was
        concerned? (Solomon did not follow God completely.)

      2. What was the reason why Solomon did not follow God
        completely? (The “cultural” influence of his foreign

      3. Look back again at 1 Kings 11:2. What does it say
        about Solomon’s emotional ties to his foreign wives?
        (He held fast to them in love.)

      4. Put yourself in Solomon’s place. He loves his foreign
        wives. He loves God. Love is natural and wonderful.
        Solomon does not “force his religion” on his wives.
        Thus, he slowly slips into another mind set. Could
        you rationalize this if you were Solomon?

      5. How about you, friend? Does God have the same
        standard for you as He had for Solomon?

        1. Would it be fair to say that you follow God
          “completely?” Or, do you have this private
          little area of your life that you keep to

          1. What impact does the culture have on you?

          2. Is it fair to say that you “love” the
            culture around you?

    7. Read 1 Kings 11:7-8. To what did the influence of
      Solomon’s foreign wives ultimately lead?

    8. Read 1 Kings 11:9-10. What was the result of Solomon’s

      1. Notice that the text says that God “had appeared to
        [Solomon] twice.” What point is being made? (The
        closer you are to God, the more He expects of you.)

    9. Read Revelation 3:17. Would this apply to Solomon? Would
      it apply to you?

    10. Read Ecclesiastes 4:13. Did Solomon ever realize the error
      of his ways?

    11. Read 1 Kings 11:11-12. What, at bottom, is God’s complaint
      about Solomon? (God goes to the heart of the matter:
      Solomon’s attitude. Our attitude is what God is most
      concerned about. Because Solomon had the attitude of
      (Eccl. 4:13) “an old but foolish king who no longer knows
      how to take warning,” God could not work with Solomon.
      Solomon now trusted in himself rather than God.)

      1. What do you think about the penalty being imposed on
        Solomon’s son? (If you read the rest of the chapter,
        you will see that Solomon had to deal with the
        problem of hostile nations in his own life-time. The
        most important point, however, is how the faith of
        the parents have the ability to affect the lives of
        their children. David’s devotion helped to protect
        Solomon. Solomon’s unfaithfulness helped injure his

  2. Resisting the Culture

    1. As we have been looking at Solomon, I keep going back to
      pick up sections of Deuteronomy 17. Let’s read the
      sections I have brought to your attention earlier in this
      study. Read Deuteronomy 17:16-17.

    2. Now lets read Deuteronomy 17:18-19. What is God’s antidote
      to being sucked in by the popular culture? (One of the
      great blessings of writing this Bible study each week is
      that it forces me to constantly compare God’s will with my
      own sinful life. I am convicted this week of my sin of not
      giving God every part of my life.)

    3. Proverbs 2:1-5 is believed to be either collected or
      written by King Solomon. When he wrote this advice is
      another matter. Let’s look at this text as if it were
      written after the events we have studied in 1 Kings 11.
      Let’s break these verses down to learn the lessons Solomon
      teaches us on how to avoid being taken in by the popular

      1. Read Proverbs 2:1. What lesson do we find here? (We
        need to have an accepting and diligent attitude
        towards God’s word. Studying God’s word so diligently
        that we can remember His teachings.)

      2. Read Proverbs 2:2. What lesson is here? (We need to
        read and apply God’s word to our life. God’s advice
        needs to become part of our heart.)

      3. Read Proverbs 2:3-4. What lesson is here? (We need to
        search for the meaning in God’s word.)

      4. Read Proverbs 2:5. What lesson is here? (If we
        diligently seek God’s wisdom, and apply it to our
        life instead of applying the wisdom of the popular
        culture, then God will reward us with an
        understanding of His will. Our standards will come
        from God and not the culture.)

  3. Passing the Torch

    1. Read Judges 2:6-10. What caused Joshua’s generation to
      serve God and the following generation to turn away from
      God? ( Judges 2:7 says the first generation “has seen all
      the great things the Lord had done for Israel.”)

      1. How do we make sure this does not happen to us or to
        our children – that we turn away from God? (The
        things which God has done for His people are recorded
        in the Bible. Just as Bible study is important for us
        to resist the popular culture, so teaching our
        children the blessings of studying the Bible is
        important for keeping the works of God before their

    2. Friend, one very important key to remaining faithful to
      God and resisting pagan culture is to diligently and open-mindedly study the Bible. Will you commit to that today?
      Will you commit to spending more time with your Bible then
      you spend with your television?

  4. Next week: What Have They Seen In Your House?