Tag Archives: Solomon

Summer’s Love

Song of Solomon 1-3

A very strange book to say the least, especially in the Bible. But it is in our canon of scripture, so it behooves us to understand why. I had to look up some background information about the book, not the writer, I knew that to be King Solomon. But why was it written and how do I understand the language, which by the way is very sensual in nature. SO I listened to Chuck Swindoll and he gave me some good tips to understanding and reading the book. Now pastors have a way about them to allegorize things they don’t understand. Many have tried to make a connection between the two lovers in the book to Christ and His Church [Bride]. One could make a case for such, but the language of intimacy cannot be attributed to such an analogy.

Chuck Swindoll helped me understand even when the book was written; he stated that Song of Solomon was an early writing of the King, followed by Ecclesiastes then the book of Proverbs. the Song of Solomon is the greatest of all Canticles of Solomon; chapter 1:1. Solomon wrote as many as 1000 songs – `1 Kings 4:32. So, if Solomon wrote this in his younger days, then we can understand that the Book is really a dialogue or love letter between a woman and her soon to be husband, in this case King Solomon’s marriage to the Shulammite woman. It is a love letter that we get to read. It the letter we find strong language about sensual topics and very descriptive analogies to parts of the woman physical body. Summer love, wedding are dominantly planned in the Spring or Summer months. So it is fitting that I am writing about this love letter now.

Chuck Swindoll gives rules for reading the Song of Solomon: read it literally and personally. He suggest that it is love a love letter that has been intercepted and read out loud before an audience. Many of the words and thoughts are extremely intimate and meant only for the recipient. He goes on further to say we should read it, enjoy it but stop short of trying to analyze it. This makes sense, because it is two lovers king and pinning away in their love and separation.

We have the bride  who is referred to as a Dove and the groom to be called the Beloved. There is lots of descriptive sentences that we would call “gushy mushy” stuff. I would think that this is a book that would be hard to preach before a congregation – for both the pastor and audience would blush and be embarrassed!

However, we must read these poetic words for what they were meant to mean to the reader. There is something about a young couple trying to express in words what their hearts convey. There are limits to how we can say what we feel in words. But these chapters do capture the emotion and longing for the other person. If we are truthful we have to admit, that much of the language used reminds us of our days gone by. We must admit we rarely hear of the passion and excitement in marriage relationships like this. Our relationships can and do become stale. It should be a refreshing in our minds of how we once felt – when we were head over heels in love with someone. At this point I will draw parallel with our relationship with Jesus; we can get “old hat” with Jesus. We can and do get comfortable with Him and take Him for granted; just like in our marriages. In these first chapters before the wedding in chapter 3:6-11; we read of the extravagant doting of the bride in oils and perfumes for the beloved. It has been said that if woman [and men] continued to do what they did to get a spouse after they are married, there would be a lot less broken marriages. Summer love, young love – is more than infatuation, it is a phenomena that can’t be easily confined or defined.

I hope that the reading of this love letter will spark the memories of all of us to how we once were young, and that it will rekindle our desire and passion for our own Beloved!

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ASA a King and man of God

2 Chronicles 14-18 is our reading passage, but I want to focus on Asa the king who followed Abijah in Judah. I t says that he did right in the eyes of the LORD. He attempted to rid Judah of the cultic idols that had been worshiped. Asa challenged the people to worship God and to obey the commandments and Law of God.

Just as a point of commentary, Judah by and large had good kings in the aspect that they did the work of the LORD. Israel in the Northern kingdom had many bad kings who followed in the steps of King Jeroboam, and led the people to worship Baal and Asherah. in 2 Chron 14:9 we find that many of the people from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon defected back to Judah because of the gross idolatry and immorality in Israel.

Back to our passage and Asa, early on we find that Zerah the Ethiopian comes to do battle against Asa with 1 million men and 300 chariots.  Asa didn’t back down, he led his army out in battle formation; then he called on the LORD. His prayer is amazing and wonderful; found in 2 Chronicles 14:11; “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

The prayer that avails much – a prayer said with complete dependency on God for deliverance; a prayer worthy of God’s authority and power to answer! The answer – ” So God routed the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah and the Ethiopians fled.” What a victory won that day. I couldn’t help but think of the song “Some trust in chariots, but we trust in the Name of the LORD our God” when I read the prayer.

In chapter 15, we read of the priest Azariah and his words to Asa. Essentially, he says the LORD is with you Asa, and if you obey Him, He [God] will let you find Him; if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. This is very interesting to me – if I seek God He will let me find Him. I understand that no one can call Jesus Lord except the Holy Spirit give him the ability. My understanding is that if we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then God will continue to “draw” us to Himself. God is not lost that He has to be found, we are lost and are being drawn to the Light – being found. I have often wondered how some people can hear the gospel and not respond, yet others sitting in the same place will hear and respond positively  to the Gospel. Knowing that no one seeks after God, but that God seeks after us makes the difference in who is finding who.

Asa goes on to have a great reign as King of Judah; but – ugh that word But. Asa like so many others in their later years forget to remember God. In chapter 16, Asa is confronted with another enemy, except this time he takes the treasure out of the Temple in an attempt to “buy off” his enemy through King of Aram. This doesn’t miss God’s notice and Hanani calls Asa’s hand on the deal. Asa basically shoots the messenger by throwing Hanani in prison. Later on Asa gets diseased feet, he oppresses the people and even in his pain of diseased feet refuses to seek medical attention. We can ask the question – What Happened? It is hard to say, but there are countless examples where a man of God drifted away from God in their latter years [Solomon and Hezekiah]. I have had friends do the same thing. How is it that they lived out a great testimony before God, family and communities, yet falter and live contrary to everything they previously held to? Weak in the flesh? Carnal? I don’t know, but they ended up ruining their personal testimony. Seek to live for the Lord Jesus and not have a BUT . . .  in you life.

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David, Desire and Designs

1 Chronicles 23-27 details the event of King David towards the end of his life. David was a young shepherd who made his “coming out” by taking on the Philistine giant Goliath. He was the youngest son of Jesse and of the line of Judah. David was called a “man after God’s own heart.” David was not a perfect man, but was a repentant man. Psalm 51 tells of his great desire to be right with the LORD. King David’s life was anything but simple and peaceful. War seemed to be the motif that surrounded him. He fought against the enemies of Israel, with his children, with giants [Philistines] and with the reigning King – King Saul. In these last chapters that conclude King David’s life, we find that he still has the DESIRE to serve and honor God. David had to learn so valuable lessons. One of those lessons was captured for us in 1 Chronicles 21, where he arrogantly requested that Joab perform a census. The taking of the census itself was not bad, but the prideful arrogance of the king to glory in the size and number of Israel caused it to be bad. Joab performed the census, and reported the findings to David. Israel was 1,570,000 strong. We may not be impressed with that number, but for a small land mass of Israel, that was a strong amount of people. The outcome of David’s arrogant pride was accounted for by God – because the census displeased God, He offered one of three options as punishment. [21:9-13] David could have 3 years of famine, 3 months of subjection to his enemies or 3 days of pestilence which would cause death angel to hover over Israel. David again admits that he was the one who had sinned, and asked God to be merciful. King David elected to take the 3 days of death, and 70,000 people died. God was about to destroy Jerusalem, but had compassion on the people and said “it is enough” to the angel of death. [1 Chrono 21:14-15] David and the Elders displayed a great brokenness and humility before God, which then God had compassion on them and stayed the hand of death. As I was reading this all I could think of was the 70,000 that died because of King David’s arrogance and pride. It was the leader that greatly sinned; the story written by Lord Alfred Tennison the “Charge of the Light Brigade.” The men , 600 of them marched into a valley and we all killed. The men – soldiers followed their commanders orders and payed with their lives. Here David sinned and caused 70,000 to die. Now I don’t know or begin to understand the why of it all, for 70,000 to die because of someone else’s sin except that Jesus – innocent was delivered over on our behalf and crucified for our sins. The innocent die for the guilty happens in all three cases. I could ask why innocent have to bear the brunt of sinful men; but then God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. Sin has always been a problem and destroyer of the innocent. In our world today, many lament over the guilty, depraved men and women destroying lives for their own pleasure and benefit.

David came back to the LORD after the death of these men. He repented and was restored to fellowship with God. It was after this great sin aftermath that King David desired to honor and glorify God with a “House” for the Ark of the Covenant. He was allowed to design, develop and raise the resources for the building of the Temple, but not allowed to build the building. The reason was that David had blood on his hands. He was a man of war. He also had innocent Uriah killed, and as we just saw 70,000 died because of him.  Solomon will be the next king, from all of David’s children. How ironic that from an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the next king of Israel would come.

David was allowed to develop designs of how the Temple would look and was also the architect of how the Temple worship would function. This is a huge shift for the people of Israel and God. No longer would the Temple be a temporary place, but a fixture in the land. King David also put forth how worship would be conducted, again changing the way wilderness worship previously was done. David lived to be 70 years old. He reigned over all of Israel for 40 years. He designed and desired to bring great glory though a House of God, but never saw it completed. Talk about planting a tree he would never sit under the shade of!

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Proverbs Parenting

Last week was more of an introduction to Proverbs, written by King Solomon the heir of King David to the throne of united Israel. King Solomon is known for his many wives and concubines, his myriad of chariots and horses, the “Solomon mines” myth or reality story; our focus is on his Wisdom. At the request of God, Solomon was asked to request one gift or wish – He asked for Wisdom and God granted him the “wisest man ever” title with all the luxuries and wealth besides.

Where did he get the ability to know how/what to ask for? In Proverbs 4 we find that his father had been teaching and instructing him in the understanding of Wisdom. So when we wonder how Solomon knew to ask for wisdom rather than some other “human desire”, we find that he was following his father David’s advice.

Being a Proverbs Parent is difficult, especially in today’s cultural environment. There is a tendency to give way too much credence to youth and their ideas, than to give them the hard-earned and learned sage wisdom of living. Children of all ages do not need “friendly parenting” they need a strong loving and disciplining parent. I can already hear some saying “oh hear we go someone who is out of touch with reality is going to tell me how to raise my children.” Nope I’m going to let God’s Word do that. I remember growing up and hearing about a well-known author on parenting – Dr. Spock ring a bell? When i think of how many parents followed his advice [he wasn’t married and didn’t even have children when he wrote his parenting book]; how many bought into the ill-advice he promoted? We got plenty of Dr. Spock parented kids running around out of control as adults!  The christian environment has been trying to offset such teaching with things from James Dobson and others – Parenting By Grace.

Parenting is the hardest job anyone can do; and the results are eternal. I know as a pastor so many broken and dysfunctional families in and out of the church. Often I hear parents talk and say “I took them to Church, they attended the youth group, or went to Youth Camps” “I don’t know why they are they way they are – I’ve done everything!” Hummm, not to guilt trip parents but the youth minister, camps and weekly church activities do not suffice if they are not reinforced at home!

There is such a contrast between a “home schooled child” and a church schooled child.” Parents must talk about life with their children. I know it’s embarrassing; better to learn from you than from the kids at school. I grew up in a disciplining home; I did fear getting in trouble because I knew the consequences if I did. We wonder why children are rebellious, uncontrollable and flat out brats? Someone told me one time if you don’t like what your kids are acting like – look in the mirror! Ouch! Parenting with “I’m counting to three!; you’re going grounded and I will put you in time out – doesn’t work. Children need instruction from their parents; they need examples from their parents. Proverbs is a great book for self-reflection. The book is filled with adult topics of discussion for families.

There are warnings after warnings of what happens to rebellious, sensual, godless living. Life has repercussions – so does sin! We talk to our children about everything except the very topics they need to hear from parents not liberal teachers and street lawyers. The “Living for Me” attitude is catastrophic for the person and society. Immorality is not benign; pornography is not harmless – it is an opioid of addiction. Proverbs 6 is a great warning to both men and women about their sexual prowess. The sanctity of marriage is real – divorce is terrible and damaging to lives – Tell your children “Don’t Go There!” There could be volumes written on the attraction of beauty. Sensual living has its moment; but it also has its scars and disgrace.

I know this may sound like ranting and raving – but our society and our global are filled with the debasing of women, children and the homosexual agenda that promotes itself as “Born that way”  – “It’s how God made me” LGBTQA has been around a lot longer than just this generation. Remember the evil cities that were destroyed because of defiled men? It saddens me to think that my grandchildren are growing up in a world that has so inundated us with their ideological heresy that my grandchildren think that “alternate lifestyles” is a right. Proverbs gives every mom and dad the topics of discussions for their children. Talk about these topics from the vantage point of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Solomon isn’t the only one who can ask for wisdom and get – James 1:5 we can have it too!

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