Friday, May 31, 2013

The Revelation of Solomon

     As the healing process proceeds, Hannah and I continue to peel away at this situation and learn from it.  One thing I have discerned is this:
      Pleasure is the idol of many. 
    Unfaithfulness is a product of the underlying lie that we all buy into, which says that pleasure brings joy. This is not the case.  In the bible, we find that the richest and most pleasured man, King Solomon, is burdened tragically by his pursuit for fulfillment.  In fact, 1st kings 11:3-4 shows us that Solomon’s accrual of lovers destroys him.  Solomon’s book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes, is basically a collection of Solomon’s musings over the vanity of pleasure and wealth.
     It seems so incredibly easy to outsource what the bible says about the rich, because every time we read it, we assume that the writer is referring to the guy who is slightly richer than us…  But pleasure is another story.  Pleasure is the common idol of all mankind.  (1 john 2:16-17)
     Look at downtown on a weekend night. Men and women alike congregate for the sole purpose of flaunting their best facade for the purposes of finding a mate, or a worshipper. It’s like a zoo. It is a sophisticated portrait of the animal kingdom—men overstate their masculinity, and women manufacture superficial sexuality in appearance and action. 
        Pleasure. It's the pursuit of pleasure.
    Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines-- in other words; he could have sex with a different woman every day for 2.7 years without repeating one.  This is the hyperbole of our world's manic pursuit for sexual fulfillment, and we see above that the outcome is grim. Let this be a deafening warning to our society which pines for fulfillment through physical touch.
     Solomon knew opulence that we can only dream of, and he stood in esteem above more women than we can imagine. And yet, he was miserable. This is the misery of kings. We are hypnotized by the delusion that pleasure brings fulfillment. Sometimes it almost seems that prosperity has a toxic effect on a man’s heart.  Perhaps it’s no coincidence that America has one of the highest standards of living and the highest rate of depression. 
      We are being destroyed by our drive for fulfillment, like a glutton eating himself into an early grave. Sexual promiscuity is incinerating the leaders of tomorrow alive. Pornography is fracturing the church. Illicit relationships are mocking the covenant of marriage relentlessly.   
      We are being engulfed in the fire of self fulfillment. 
      Take a step back and evaluate where pleasure falls in the priority list of your life.  True joy is found in God, and not in the fleeting luxuries of this world.

4 comments:

  1. I appreciate this entry, which reflects true wisdom. Lust makes us focus on sensuous and selfish pleasure, and forget other pleasures that are available in this world, such as inviting a lonely old person to join your family for dinner, or sharing uncontrolled laughter with your wife and kids over something silly that you all experienced together.

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  2. A very challenging word rooted in truth, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Yet not all "pleasure" is rooted in evil or sin. Have you read "Pure Pleasure" by Gary Thomas? It is worth looking into. Enjoying holy pleasures as a gift from God can actually bring glory to Him and refreshment to us. But most of us Christians feel guilty about enjoying any kind of pleasurable activity, even if it is not "sinful." One result of denying all pleasure is that we set ourselves up to be tempted by "illicit" pleasures, whether big or small. Just hoping to bring some balance into the conversation about pleasure being an idol.

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    1. I absolutely agree. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon concludes that enjoying the meals you eat and the results of your daily toil are good. That pleasure is a God-given gift. It's the obsession with pleasure that drives a man to madness.

      That, to me, is the very nature of idolatry. I once heard a person define idolatry as "turning a good thing into a great thing." God is great, and elevating anything to the position that He is meant to hold in our hearts is idolatry. Enjoying pleasure, in its Godly forms, is amazing. Consuming pleasure mindlessly, without any rhyme or reason, is dangerous.

      Lastly, I agree that falsely demonizing Godly pleasures is a setup for failure. If we draw imaginary lines to ban what God approves of, we have embraced religion instead of love. Religious legalism kills your spirit. We should enjoy the fruits of our work and the blessings in this life, always knowing whose hand they come from. Thanks so much for the comment!

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