Extremes

Wisdom does not keep us from committing sin. Sometimes people say, if I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently, implying that you will make better choices as you grow wiser. The truth of the matter is that we make bad choices because we have a sin nature or tendency to sin, not because we are stupid and don’t know any better.

Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, disobeyed God by marrying multiple foreign wives. It says in 1 Kings 11:3 that Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” Initially, Solomon was committed to the LORD God of Israel who appeared to him on two separate occasions (1 Kings 11:9), but when Solomon was recognized by the people for his gifts of leadership, wisdom and justice (2205), he began to care more about pleasing his wives that he did about pleasing God (1 Kings 11:4).

The interesting thing about Solomon’s situation was that Solomon’s disobedience wasn’t punished. When David committed adultery with Bath-Sheba, the child that was conceived died shortly after he was born. Solomon’s disobedience continued throughout his life, to the extreme that he accumulated 1000 wives and concubines, a direct violation of God’s command (Deuteronomy 17:17).

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 makes it clear that God knew in advance that Solomon would turn away from him and may even have set up or prearranged the situation by giving Solomon extreme wealth. In ancient times, the number of wives a man had was closely tied to his wealth. From a cultural perspective, it was appropriate for Solomon to have an outrageous number of wives because he was the wealthiest man on earth. The problem was that Solomon had foreign wives that wanted to keep worshipping their own gods and Solomon let them.

In says in 1 Kings 11:9 that “the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.” The word translated turned, natah “connotes ‘extending something outward and toward’  something or someone…This is a figure of God’s active, sovereign, and mighty involvement in the affairs of men. So this phrase means ‘to stretch out’ something until is reaches a goal” (5186).

God had a purpose for allowing Solomon’s disobedience to continue unpunished. It may have been that God wanted Israel to see that they could be like everyone else, enjoy  peace and prosperity, but they would be miserable without him at the center of their lives (Ecclesiastes 12:8).

 

 

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