Update: The Wisdom of King Solomon

Learn from the wisest king in history

Men:  We have to talk about sex. If there’s one area where this generation is stuck, this is it.

The Water Was Dirty Before You Got In

Now, before you conclude that I’m pointing my finger at you, please realize that the Boomer cohort gave us the sexual revolution and rampant divorce, and the Gen X cohort was equally careless about sex and marriage.  But it’s even worse than that.  These are the guys who grew up to convince you that everyone but you was sexually active, to urge the women you know to emulate the worst of promiscuous men, and to offer you pornography pretty much anywhere and anytime — and all so they could separate you from your money.  If you want poor examples, the generations ahead of you are shot through with them.

Horse pants!

Applying wisdom — that’s a horse of a different color!

So if you’re a typical American male, you were probably exposed to pornography somewhere around age ten.  But even if you didn’t see any sexually explicit magazines, videos or websites in your youth, you’ve been awash in a culture that has turned sex into a commodity devoid of any spiritual significance.  As a man who has spent much of his career in and around sales, I say it’s lazy to use sex to sell.  As bad as that is, it’s worse to be so checked out that you allow it to influence you.  There is a better way.

Meet King Solomon

In the Old Testament (that’s the first 39 books of the Bible), we meet a king named Solomon.  He was the son of King David and Bathsheba (there’s a story about the misuse of sex, right there).  When Solomon succeeded his father as the king of Israel, God told Solomon to ask him for anything.  In reply, Solomon asked for wisdom to govern God’s people.  This pleased God and he promised Solomon that no one would be wiser or more honored than he.

In addition to building the Temple in Jerusalem, Solomon reportedly had 1,000 wives and concubines.  (Here I should point out that just because the Bible describes something, it does not prescribe it.)  Solomon is also credited with several books of the Bible — Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, and Proverbs.  And that brings us to the purpose of this post.

In Proverbs 5 Solomon writes this:

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.”

Be the Gatekeeper

Among his words of advice is a clear instruction to men to be the moral leaders in the arena of sexuality.  His counsel is not that women are evil, but that a man should be aware that some are evil.  I’d add that some don’t know any better.  A man should take care not to be led astray by his desires, nor to let a forbidden woman play on those desires for her own ends.  So if you’re in a dating relationship, you need to establish the moral framework and see to it that you avoid the circumstances that pose the greatest temptation.
I’ve encountered a popular misconception among some Christians: that women are inherently more virtuous than men. It isn’t true, and the Bible doesn’t support that idea at all. Men and women are equally fallen and equally in need of the grace of God to redeem their brokenness in all of life, not just their sexuality.

What Difference Does It Make?

Notice what’s at stake — a man’s honor, his years, his strength, his earnings his peace, his legacy, and his self-respect — and it all hinges on his self-control. I have lived long enough to know that regret is expensive. By that I mean there are decisions I took as a young man that I would not repeat if I had that choice. And no amount of wishing can undo the harms I caused through my immaturity, ignorance, or wilfulness. I am thankful that my regrets are mercifully few, but I am writing this blog to help you get the lessons without the regrets. Solomon’s life and his words are a free education in wise living — and you don’t have to suffer to get it.

The Rest of The Story

I’d love to tell you that Solomon himself was a perfect example to follow in the realm of sexual morality, but that isn’t true. Despite his wise and correct teaching about the snare of illicit sex,  his fondness for the ladies led him to abandon faithfulness to God and to worship idols.  Although it was tragic, this was, in fact, a mere formality, since any man who loves sex more than he loves God is already worshiping an idol.

It Isn’t Easy

To those of you who have committed to the proper use of God’s gift of sex, I want to encourage you to persevere.  Honor God with your body and trust Him to give you what you need. And to those of you who have not, but now want to live chastely, know that God is always willing to welcome His repentant sons home.  Even better, God promises to help us overcome temptation — even sexual temptation — going forward from here.
God’s standards for sexual morality are truly counter-cultural.  But as Solomon’s good words and bad example demonstrate, they are critically important for men and the women they love — especially today.

So how about you?  How are you applying God’s wisdom to help you lead a chaste life?  Add your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Bring your best manners, please.

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