The Dancing Puritan

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Word for Men: Applicable for Women

How many men, if given the opportunity to be with an exciting and beautiful woman (not their wife), would allow their hearts to be turned?

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh...from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, 'You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn your heart away after their gods.' Solomon clung to these in love...And his wives turned away his heart (I Kings 11:1-3).

Perhaps you imagine that though Solomon fell into such a trap, you would never do the same. If you think like that, the Bible has some words for you.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (I Corinthians 10:12). 

Solomon had it all. He had wisdom and wealth. His wisdom was so vast that people would travel from great distances just to hear him speak. When confronted with what would have been mind-stumping questions for others, Solomon answered them without blinking an eye. And we must not think that God only miraculously deposited wisdom into Solomon's brain. God did grant Solomon's prayer for wisdom (and no doubt there was unusual providence at work) but as is His normal way of doing things, God used means. God gave Solomon the tools but Solomon put those tools to work.

And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven (Ecclesiastes 1:12a).

Solomon took the wisdom that God gave to him and he applied it. He studied work, the sun, wind, streams, the ocean, and women (1:1-11). He made some striking conclusions about the inability of man, the sovereignty of God, and the vanity of life (1:12-18). He also came to some provocative conclusions about women, love, and marriage.

And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things--which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found (7:26-29).

The only way to escape an ungodly relationship, according to Solomon, is to please God.  Solomon knew. He had failed to please God.

So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of God...And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded (I Kings 11:6,9,10).

The cost to Solomon, his family, and the nation was tragic. It always is when a person (man or woman) turns from the true God.  Sexual temptation is real and it is powerful. Let the wisest man in history be an example to you. You are not too wise and too smart not to follow in Solomon's footsteps. You need God.

What must you do?

1.  Please God. There is only one way to please God. The fact is that, by nature, we all have a wandering heart that is wholly inclined towards sin, enslaved to sin, and without ability to please God. The requirement is that we must please God. The reality is that we cannot please God. The provision is that God provided His Son who lived righteously, died for sinners and was raised again. God the Father is well pleased with Jesus the Son. And He is well pleased with all who turn from their sin and turn by faith to Christ. Only by faith can we please God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

2.  Fear God. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  With all of Israel standing before him, Solomon summed up his message with these words:

The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Do you fear God? The fear of God is not a slavish fear but a fear that takes God seriously. God will judge.

3.  Enjoy life with your wife.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun (9:9).

I believe that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. It is a reflective book. He looks back and writes with experience. He has known good and evil. His greatest wisdom is served up just prior to meeting God face-to-face. When Solomon speaks of life being vain, he does not mean that life is worthless. It is hard. It is burdensome but life is not worthless. Life is, fleeting. Marital love is fleeting. It is a temporary gift from God and it is God's design that you enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life. This is a life that God has given you. Enjoying life with your wife is your portion in life. Don't waste your gift, your portion, and your joy.

There is nothing better for a person than he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who have have enjoyment (2:24-25).  

So many people throw joy away.

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away (Proverbs 6:32-33). 
If you have fallen in this way, there is hope. Turn to God. Seek your joy in Him. He is full of grace and mercy.

Recommended Reading: King Solomon by Philip Ryken.
Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon (Bible Study Book) by Kathleen Buswell Nielson
Order both books by sending us a message here.