By Michael V. Wilson
I've been following our church's Bible Ready Guide this year, as we read the whole Bible together, cover-to-cover. Personally I'm a bit of an old stick-in-the-mud; when I read the Bible I start at the beginning, Genesis 1:1, and keep reading until I get to the end, Revelation 22:21, just the same as I would do reading any other book; but the church reading guide is a bit different.
It has two columns as you can see here; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. Each day we read the chapters and/or verses for that day from the respective columns, then check them off to keep track of our progress. By the end of the year, if we stay on course, we'll have read the entire Bible, again, cover-to-cover.
Most of the time the chapters and verses from the Old and New Testaments really don't have a whole lot in common. Sometimes you can draw inferences between them, but usually they're separate, dealing with separate things. For instance, when we reading about Solomon building the Temple (giving measurements and talking about the weight of gold and silver and bronze, etc.) there really wasn't much in 1st Corinthians that related to it. They were two different subjects.
But today was different.
Today we were reading 1st Kings 10-11, and 1st Corinthians 13. Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians is the one about love. Most Christians know it, many have memorized it, especially verse 7 about how love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” or verse 13 that says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
But where things got dicey this morning was in 1st Kings 11:1-2,
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. [emphasis added]
God doesn't have a problem with foreigners per sé; He has a problem with people who follow and worship false gods. His anger at Israel for turning to false gods (He called it harlotry) was so fierce He threw them into exile for 70 years, and the 700 women Solomon married, not to mention his 300 concubines, plus an unknown number of princesses, all did exactly that: they worshiped false gods and in the process succeeded in turning Solomon's heart away from God.
But notice: Solomon clung to these [wives, princesses, concubines] in love.
How can you juxtapose that with 1st Corinthians 13?
Isn't love supposed to be the answer to everything? Especially these days? We hear constant refrains from the media, various celebrities, and our “leaders”, especially after a terrorist attack by Muslims, that we just need to love each other and get along, then everything will be fine and dandy.
Apparently it's not fine and dandy because they keep on attacking us no matter how much we love them.
Many Christians are familiar with Jeremiah 17:9 . . .
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
. . . but too often fail to apply it to their own lives, or can give an adequate defense when a godless, secular media tries to con us into going along with their “narrative” of false love. And it is a false love because the Bible also tells us, “[love] rejoices in truth.” (1st Corinthians 13:6)
If you don't have truth, what do you have?
Let's face it, those are the only two options; truth or lies. It's either-or, there's no third choice, there's no in-between answer. And who is the way, the truth and the life? Jesus of course, so any love not based on Jesus, not based on the One, True God, is a love based on lies.
When Solomon clung in love to women who worshiped false gods, he was doing it with a false love, a love based on lies instead of truth, a love coming from his own deceitful heart instead of from God.
When the secular, godless world tells you to love someone regardless of their evil actions, respond by loving in truth, and tell them, “I will love the person God made, but I won't trust them, their actions, or words, until their heart is changed by Christ.”
I love my family too much to do anything less.