Something New Under the Sun: Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living - 11. MONEY, SEX AND POWER

11. Money, Sex and Power

 

I amassed silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well-the delights of the heart of man.

 

Ecclesiastes 2:8

 

Solomon had a harem, all right-seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Historians tell us that many of his wives were not romantic attachments but rather convenience marriages made to cement certain foreign relationships and guarantee peaceful relations with other nations. Nevertheless, common though this practice may have been, it got Solomon in trouble and helped pave the way for the breakup of his kingdom.

I love the phrase “the delights of the heart of man.” What a nice way to put it. If we say “sexual temptation” it sounds much different. Not too many years ago we went through a period in which several of America’s best-known preachers fell prey to sexual sin. In each case good men who apparently loved the Lord yielded in a moment of weakness.

I am thinking now of one man I used to watch on television as he preached with great power to thousands of people. I felt then that the power of the Holy Spirit was truly upon his life. Although his behavior shocked and saddened me, I did not believe he was a religious charlatan.

But something somewhere, somehow, at some point, went tragically wrong. Did he become so big that he thought he could get away with anything? Did the em­pire he built finally destroy him? Did he think that he was above God’s moral law? If so, he would not be the first man to fall at the height of his own power.

His downfall came when he refused to accept the dis­cipline imposed by his own denomination. Like so many before him, he thought he could solve his problems on his own. Like so many others, he discovered too late that he couldn’t do it by himself.

Years ago a friend told me, “The first price you pay is always the cheapest.” Which being interpreted means, the quicker you deal with your problems, the better off you will be. We avoid facing our own moral weakness be­cause we hope the problems will go away on their own. That almost never happens, especially in the realm of sex­ual sin. The price never goes down; it always goes up.

The way of transgressors is always hard, but as so many others have discovered, you don’t have to make it harder by refusing the help of people who truly love you.

 

Loving Lord, when I am tempted to depart from Your ways, show me in advance the dangers of disobedience. Amen.

 

SHINING THE LIGHT

* Do you agree that “the first price you pay is always the cheapest"? If so, how have you experienced this truth in your own life?

 

* What happens when we disregard God’s teaching re­garding sexual purity?

 

MORE LIGHT FROM GOD’S WORD

Read Ezra 9:1-10:4; Proverbs 5:15-19; and Hebrews 13:4.    
 
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