Yesterday we started looking at things that distract a person, causing us to take our eyes off the Lord Jesus and eternity (Col 3:1-3). We are using Solomon as an illustration of a man who started well with God, yet ended badly!
1Ki 11:9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel.
So far we dealt with both wealth and vanity being stumbling blocks to an intentional pursuit of holiness and Christlikeness. Today we continue by considering …
Horses Being a Stumbling Block
Initially, this sounds weak as a stumbling block until we understand the significance of horses. Even the following passage does not seem to help at first glance … though it is helpful …
1 Ki 10:28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.
This is why we need Scripture to help us interpret Scripture. This passage seems to suggest the import export trading was the purpose, yet when we read …
Dt 17:16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.”
The king was forbidden to accumulate large numbers of horses. Why would this be? Egypt was a supplier of good quality horses used in warfare. The Deuteronomy passage reveals God saying through Moses that no king is permitted to build a military unit with horses. In the King’s passage they purchased horses and chariots. These were for war. God wanted Israel to trust Him to protect them as He did throughout the desert wanderings. King David was not permitted to build a temple because he was a man of war. He had blood on his hands. Now Solomon who was to a peaceful king (pointing to the peace loving King of Glory, Jesus), has lost trust in God to protect him and Israel as a king and is building a military machine. Then God had told them not to return Egypt. Perhaps the attraction of the splendor of that nation might entice or the memory of what happened when they escaped from the bondage of Israel might cause the Egyptians to react negatively. Another problem was that they sold horses and chariots to their enemies. Sadly things have not changed much because we as the people of God and as the Church of God quickly trust the resources around us and neglect depending on God. Where we must trust God for protection in all spheres, we need to be depending upon God for His provisions for our daily needs. This includes the physical and spiritual. This means we need to give special attention to the Scriptures, seeking God’s wisdom, guidance and advice. Then it requires must attention to prayer. Prayer is seeking God’s help to apply His Word to your heart. (See Eph 6:10-18.)
Woman Being a Stumbling Block
This is not a negative against women. This is a negative against men! Through Moses God said …
Dt 17:17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.
This verse is not saying he may have a few wives … God never intended that any man or even a king have many wives. In Genesis God is very specific … in verse 26-28 God created one man and one woman and instructed them to rule and procreate. Zooming in on man, Genesis 2 informs us …
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
This shows that in marriage, monogamy is called for (one man, one woman in a faithful union). So when God says “not take many wives” he refers to monogamy. The reason for this is that “his heart will be led astray.” Now read a longer passage about Solomon …
1Ki 11:1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
Not only did Solomon enter into polygamy, he married pagan women against God’s will. God never speaks in vain. He never issues an instruction or command meaninglessly. When He said … Dt 17:17 “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray” (Deut 17:17) … He meant it! Again in 1 Kings God says … “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Solomon who once was the wisest man alive crumbled to women … “Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love” … and … “his wives led him astray”. Undoubtably Solomon had a serious problem as most of the wives were not just political alliances. They were wives in the full sense of a marital union. You can imagine the drain on state resources to main all these wives!
Tomorrow we will get into the last stumbling block … but for now, look what happen to Solomon because of his lust for women. Christian men, irrespective of the culture and ethnicity, are not permitted to get into polygamy or extramarital relationships even with the wife’s permission. Ephesians 5:25-33 is very clear. One man preparing one woman to hand her over to Jesus one day. His task is to make her “holy” and in fulfilling this duty he will keep his eyes on Jesus and not be led astray.
Dear Lord God, our Almighty and Majestic Lord, thank You that You know all things and what You have put into the Bible is for our personal, family and Church benefit. Mercifully help us to trust you, being diligent in Scripture and prayer so that we will be people who do not depend upon worldly wisdom or follow worldly relationships. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.