The complete title of this devotion is A Jaundiced Look At Love or What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Apologies to Tina Turner.
The Men’s Bible Study is looking at 1 Kings and the life of King Solomon. Solomon was a passionate guy in everything he did. It might be worth you time to take a look at his life, it really is interesting. This passage caught my eye:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 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 away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.
It was pointed out that in the laws given to Moses, a king of Israel will:
When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
Solomon should have be quite familiar with this passage:
When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
And definitely this one [the Great Shema]:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
What’s love got to do with it? The Hebrew word “love” that is used in “King Solomon loved many foreign women” is “ahab.” [Strong’s 157] It is the same word in Hebrew in “You shall love the Lord.”
Much like English, Hebrew has different nuances for “love.” Solomon’s passion was misplaced: He had 700 wives, Solomon clung to these in love. Solomon should have heeded Joshua’s advice to Israel: “You shall cling to the Lord your God.” [Joshua 23:8 ESV] Where is your passion? Where is your love? What about your clinging?
Do you hear in this devotion, a cultural subtext of love and passion? Well, since I brought it to light, there probably should be.
Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.
Trust the Promises,
I began this piece with the expression “jaundiced eye” in mind, however it morphed into an ear metaphor. Which brings this passage to bear:
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because even though they see, they do not see; and even though they hear, they do not hear or understand. In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled which says, ‘You will hear clearly, but you will never understand. You will see clearly, but you will never perceive. Because this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are hard of hearing. They have closed their eyes. Otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear.”