Text: 1 Kings 8:54-61 March 8, 2009.
1) Often disappointed: Dr. Joe Stowell, former president of Moody Bible Institute, was an avid baseball fan. Having lived in north side of Chicago for decades, his favorite team was no other than the Chicago Cubs. He said that the interesting thing about being a Cubs fan was that the team had a way of letting the fans down. The Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908. While they often had great promise at the beginning of a season, they usually disappoint their fans in the end. One die-hard fan had it right when he said, “If they didn’t disappoint us, they wouldn’t be our Cubs.” I can’t agree more the way I feel about the Dallas Cowboys.
2) Never disappointed: Thankfully, God is not like the Chicago Cubs or the Dallas Cowboys! You can count on Him always. He will never disappoint you in the beginning or at the end. He always keeps His promises and His word provides comfort, hope and wise advice that has never failed. When King Solomon prayed at the dedication of the first temple ever built in Israel, he attested to the fact that God had not let His people down. He said, “Blessed be to the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel according to all that He promised. There has never failed one word of all His good promises.” (1 Kings 8:56)
DISAPPOINTMENTS IN THE BIBLE:
1) God was disappointed: “And God said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:11) If you were disappointed, you are not alone. Ever since the beginning of human history, many were disappointed began from God. After God had done so much good things for Adam and his wife Eve, given them almost all the privileges and authorities over His creation, they disappointed God by violated His command.
2) Moses was disappointed: “I cannot carry these people all by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now, if I have found mercy in your eyes, and do not let me face my own ruin.” (Num. 11:14-15)Moses gave up his quiet life, his family and a safe nest in his hometown Median to answer the call of leading the Israelis out of the land of oppression, risked his life to face the wrath of Pharaoh, but he did not have the support of the people. They complained every step of the way on everything they went through and even wanted to kill him and returned to Egypt. At the end of his rope, Moses asked God to let him die so he won’t to see his suffering.
3) Jesus was disappointed: “Then he returned to the disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for an hour?’ He asked Peter.” (Matthew 26:40) This happened at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus agonized in his soul before he accepted the cross from the Father. Here his disciples were with him in body but not in spirit to show their support when He needed them most. At that moment, He was greatly disappointed because of the weakness of his best friends.
4) Paul was disappointed: “At my first defense, no one came to my support but everyone deserted me.” (2 Timothy 4:16)With all the good work he had done for 30 years and many acquaintance, coworkers, friends and Christians Paul had led to salvation through those years. When he needed someone to testify on his behalf on his character, his innocence of the false accusations and his personal integrity, everyone disappeared and forsaken him? You need to have similar experience of being abandoned by people you trust to understand how Paul was disappointed.
DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD: Why?
1) Different expectation: “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire but the Lord was not in the fire.” (1 Kings 19:11-12) Many times God did not work the way we expect Him will. Since we believe that God is mighty, so He must work in mighty ways. Yes, sometimes He did like divided the Red Sea so the Israelis could cross over. But He doesn’t always work that way. We expect God to work in mighty or dramatic ways and when He doesn’t, we are disappointed.
2) Different operation: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”(Matt. 6:6)Jesus encouraged us to pray not seen by people but seen by the unseen God and He will reward our prayers also in unseen ways. Being human, we incline to believe in things we can see, touch or feel. But God operates in different way than ours. Even though God may be unseen, He is always there and sees what we do or need and will meet our needs in ways we may not be able to see.
3) Different thoughts: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) Allowing the Israelis to exile in foreign lands was God’s way to purify them from the sin of idol worship. But the Israelis couldn’t see God’s work in their nation and people for their good. Often we want to see God’s mercy more than His holiness even in time of our sin. His wisdom in choosing His way is not the way as we think He should do. When His thoughts are so different from ours, we become disappointed.
4) Different answers: “If you though are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11) When we didn’t get what we asked for from God, we become disappointed with God. But Jesus wanted us to understand that our God will always give the best gifts to us when we ask Him. He always knows what is best for us and is generous to answer our prayers and give us the best gifts. We should not demand God to follow our way and give us what we ask. Instead we should follow His way. His way is always the best way.
HOW NOT TO BE DISAPPOINTED? (1 Kings 8:54-61)
1) Begin with a humble heart: “When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplication to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.” (8:54) To offer prayers in kneeling position with hands spread to heaven is a gesture of being humble and reverend to God. When we come to God in prayers or other ways, we must first have a humble and revered heart knowing that He is God and we are only human. Even though God is merciful God, we are not on same position as He is. We are not in any position to demand anything from God.
2) Confident in God’s promises: “Praise be to the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (8:55)This is the heart of the prayer in this chapter: Solomon was confident in God’s faithfulness to His good promises. God has not and will not fail one word in all his promises. When we come to God in prayer, we must have the same kind of confidence that God will never fail one word in His promises. If you don’t have confidence in God, your prayers go nowhere.
3) Remember past blessings: “May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers; may He never leave us nor forsake us.” (8:57)Solomon looked back in history and acknowledged what God had done or blessed their forefathers. Without God’s blessings in the past, he won’t have this day to dedicate the temple God had him build. Remembering what God has done in our life in the past, counting His grace and love would help us not to get disappointed easily. Since God didn’t disappointed their forefathers, He won’t disappoint Solomon or his people
4) Make a commitment to God: “May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commands, decrees and regulations He gave our forefather.” (8:58)Solomon did not just ask God for blessings, he made a commitment on behalf of the people, to turn their hearts to God, to walk God’s ways and to keep God’s commands, decrees and regulations. If you are committed to God and determined to follow His laws, no matter how God leads the way, changes the course of your life or how different his answers to your prayers may be, you won’t feel disappointed. Commitment and disappointment never match.
5) For the glory of God: “So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.” (8:60)To focus only on what we want and demand that God works our way is a sure way to get disappointed because we start on a faulty ground and a wrong purpose. Solomon showed us a better purpose to live our life and that is to bring more people to know God, believe in God and to honor God in their lives. Let’s place God and His glory at the top of our purpose of life. If we have this right purpose and attitude about God, we won’t feel disappointed just because God didn’t do things our way.
1) It’s part of real world: This world is not perfect, at least not as perfect the way we want it to be. There will be times that we are disappointed both with God and with man. Learn how to cope with disappointment is a skill we all have to learn to live a happy and content life. Since none of us is perfect, to ask perfection of the world is a sure way to be disappointed.
2) Only God is perfect: With all the power, knowledge and love, God can do anything and everything we may ask. But He may not do it exactly the way we want Him to. He knows what is the best for us in the long run. Build a close relationship with God and be humble to follow His lead is the best way not to be disappointed. In him, all things are possible.
3) Don’t disappoint God: For God so loved the world, including you, and He has a perfect plan for your life. Get to know Him and ask Him into your heart so He can make your life anew with eternal blessing. To refuse God’s gift of eternal life is a certain disappointment to God. It is never too late to start anew.