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.

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