Monday, May 31, 2010

Wives of Noble Birth - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 180

“Wives of Royal Birth”

By Rev. Greg Smith

Solomon “had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray (1 Kings 11:3).”

Above: "Solomon had 700 Wives and 300 Porcupines"

The month of June is upon us—do you hear wedding bells? More people get married in June than in any other month. It seems like every June, I have at least one wedding scheduled. But I don’t think King Solomon waited until June to schedule his weddings. How could he, with all the wives and concubines he had? He was far too busy to wait until June!

The question must be asked: Why did the king have so many wives? The answer can probably be found in his name—Solomon, which means “peace.” God had granted Solomon peace so that he could build the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. Solomon depended on the surrounding nations for supplying the temple building project. In order to keep the peace and guarantee his supplies, Solomon had to make treaties with the surrounding nations. Treaties in those days meant marriages between royal houses. So Solomon married the daughters of neighboring kings. These idolatrous wives led him astray. Soon he was building shrines to their gods and worshipping their idols. Solomon the peacemaker was actually Solomon the capitulator.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9),” and Paul tells us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). But does that mean we should pursue peace at all costs? Solomon’s quest for peace caused him to surrender his morality and his loyalty to the God of Israel, which resulted in God’s judgment. Our culture teaches tolerance of sin, but tolerance is the first step to acceptance. Acceptance, then, becomes the pathway to participation.

There are a thousand sins which plague believers. Like Solomon, we beautify these sins and make them part of our harem. Notice that 70% of Solomon’s harem were wives of noble birth, compared to the 30% who were concubines, and likely commoners (which is why he didn’t marry them—there was no political advantage in it). Christians fall prey to a thousand sins, but most of them get dressed up, made official and respectable. They may even seem noble in one way or another. Can you think of anything in your life that offends God, even though it doesn’t offend the world? For the Christian, it’s actually the minority of the sins that are a blatant offense. Most of our idolatries are simply when we replace God’s best plans for us with the world’s good plans. By substituting God’s best with the world’s good, we become idolaters and given up our allegiance to God.

1 Kings 11:9 says that God had actually appeared to Solomon twice. How many of us can say that? Anybody can fall into the temptation of capitulation for the sake of peace. Nobody should think himself so spiritual that he can’t fall into this deception. Remember not to take blatant sin (concubines) into your life. But also be careful of those “wives of noble birth” that you espouse. Even the best of noble intentions can become a snare, if you let them get in the way of your walk with God.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This spoke to me in my devotion time today, so I thought I'd share it with you:

By way of encouragement, God tell us in scripture: "I will remove the stony heart from their bodies, and replace it with a natural heart..." (Ezek. 11:10). But I'm still waiting, asking myself when and how this will happen.

In our community the other day there wasn't much coffee.

Coffee does me good down here in the helps me...I am old.

I was worried about not having any, about spending a few hours feeling dull and weak, and so--without perceiving the evil I was doing--I went into the kitchen before the others and drank up all that was left.

Afterwards, having suffered all day and made my confession, I thought in shame of my selfishness, of the ease with which I had excluded my two brothers from those black, bitter remains.

It seems a tiny thing, yet in that cup of coffee, taken and not shared with my brothers, is the root of all the evil which disturbs us, the poison of all the arrogance which selfishness, riches, and power create.

The difference between me and Jesus is right here, and an affair that seems simple but isn't at all; after a whole life time it is still there to make you think. Jesus would have left the coffee for his brothers; I excluded my brothers.
No, it isn't easy to live with hearts like ours; let us confess it.

--From The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto

Suggested Website for Free Audio Bible MP3 Downloads

Romans 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

I don't know about you, but time is precious to me. I don't get a lot of it to spare. During Lent, I wrote to you about the need to take time with Jesus in prayer. Precious few of us devote enough time to God. After I had challenged our church to pray for an hour a day, someone came up to me and said, "I think it's great that you challenged us to pray, but couldn't you have asked us to pray for two minutes a day instead?"

Really? REALLY???

God wants our time. Again, I don't know about you, but time is one of the things I have the least of. So to me, time is gold. God wants me to give Him my best. He wants me to give Him my time.

Now---that said...

There are days when I'm on the road or in meetings virtually all day long. Rather than giving God my sleepy time, when I'll doze off as soon as I crack open my Bible, on days like that it's better for me to absorb God's Word through audio. I can just pop an earbud in my ear (not two earbuds if I'm driving) and enjoy a good MP3 Bible passage. If you're looking for a good MP3 Bible download, I have to suggest a great website: is a great source of several free English versions of the Bible, all on MP3 for free download. Please check out this website to learn more about the ministry of Faith Comes By Hearing. Using MP3 technology, they are spreading the Gospel in many different languages all over the world. You can donate to support their missions work, or purchase products like the BibleStick or the Proclaimer, or order an MP3 disc if you're on dial-up and the free download is too difficult for you.

Faith Comes By Hearing offers a couple of really cool products for sharing the Gospel with others.

The BibleStick is made for both military personnel and civilians, and for $30 you get a dramatized audio New Testament that you can give to someone who might never take the time to sit down and read the Bible--but they'll listen to it in the car or on their morning jog.

The Proclaimer is an amazing tool for international missions! The website says, "We consider the Proclaimer** to be a gift from God. Why? Because the inspiration for it came during three days of fasting and prayer by the entire staff of Faith Comes By Hearing. The Proclaimer is a digital player dedicated to playing God's Word in the local heart language...

How does the Proclaimer work?

  • An installed microchip contains Scriptures in the heart language; the chip will not erase or wear out from frequent playing.
  • The battery will play for 15 hours and can be recharged enough times to play the entire New Testament more than 1,000 times.
  • The Proclaimer has a built-in generator and solar panel to charge the battery.
  • The solar panel, in addition to charging the battery, will run the Proclaimer even without battery power as long as there is sunlight.
  • The sound is digital quality and loud enough to be heard clearly by groups as large as 300.

The Proclaimer was developed primarily as a playback device for poor and illiterate people who may not have any other source to hear God's Word. Our goal is to use the Proclaimer in the majority of our FCBH programs worldwide."

So, if you're interested in supporting international missions where people get to hear God's Word in the language of their heart, then check out If you just want to download a free MP3 for your own use, let me tell you, these are great. My 8-year old son is loving his new children's audio Bible, and I've got the New Testament loaded on my Blackberry. Listening to the Bible on MP3 is a great way to make use of your time...not to mention that "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."