Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Blessed are all they that wait for Him.”
“I will trust again His love, His power,
Though I cannot feel His hand today;
To His help anew I will betake me,
Though His countenance seems turned away!
Though without one smile, one gracious token,
Through the flames and floods my path must go,
When the fires subside, the waves pass over,
My Deliverer I again shall know.”
Today’s Study Text:
“But King Solomon defiantly loved many foreign women -- the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, ‘You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.’ Yet Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines.”
1 Kings 11: 1-3
“Languishing In The Land of Lust”
“No matter how cool, sexy, glamorous, accepted, justifiable or right the world makes it look, nothing is ever okay that is out of the will of God.”
Definition of “Lust” in Webster’s Dictionary:
“Intense or unrestrained sexual desire. An overwhelming craving. In theological Old English ‘lust’ was used to refer to pleasures and desires that were considered sinful.”
Definition of “Lust” in Hebrew:
Appetite. Greedy. Pleasure. Longing. Exceedingly pleasant. To wish after. To covet. Imagination. Beauty. Delighted.
Definition of “Lust” in Greek:
A desire or longing after what is forbidden. To covet. To set your heart upon.
When I hear the word “lust,” what meaning do I give to this word?
What is at the “core” of lustful behavior which makes it sinful?
“The essence of sin is obedience to our own lusts and desires, and disobedience to God.”
D. L. Moody
“Lust is appetite run wild.”
F. B. Meyer
I want you to think for a moment about your favorite food. Something,that if you go without it for a period of time, makes you want it all the more.
There are several things that really put my appetite button into high gear -- however, chocolate fudge ice cream from 31 Flavors is at the top of my list! It’s tasty. It’s cold. It’s delicious. It’s rich and thick! What more could a girl want to help her cool off on a hot summer day when the Arizona temperature hits 120°. Believe me, I know just how wonderful a chocolate fudge ice cream cone can be for I have indulged on more than one occasion. In fact, in my younger years, I have to admit, I over-indulged and to be blunt, I paid a price for it. To say I was sick at my stomach would be an understatement.
And it is at this point -- sick at the stomach -- where I want to begin today’s devotional as we travel back to the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites when they were traveling from Egypt to Canaan.
In Numbers 11, we find that the Israelites, along with the “mixed multitude” who followed them out of Egypt, turned on their griping microphones. Weeping and wailing, they began to “lust greatly for familiar and dainty food, and the Israelites wept again and said, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we ate freely in Egypt and without cost, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now our soul (our strength) is dried up; there is nothing at all in the way of food to be seen but this manna.’” (Numbers 11: 4-6, Amplified Bible).
Tired of manna, they lusted for meat. So God obliged by telling Moses to inform these ungrateful people, “You shall not eat (meat for) one day, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days, but a whole month -- until you are satiated (satisfied to the fullest extent, to the excess) and vomit it up violently and it comes out at your nostrils and is disgusting to you -- because you have rejected and despised the Lord Who is among you” (Numbers 11: 19, 20, Amplified Bible).
The great poet John Milton perfectly expressed how “brutal lust” was shown by the Israelites in the wilderness and how it polluted or ruined what, during times of natural longing, may be nothing more than a simple wish for something which does not have an intemperate longing associated with it. In Milton’s words: “Capricious, wanton, bold, and brutal lust is meanly selfish…and, like the blast of pestilential winds, taints the sweet bloom of nature’s fairest forms.”
In today’s common language, so much of what we refer to as “lust” is tied with sexual desires. But in exploring the definition of the word “lust” throughout history, we find, as shared by W. O. Griffith Thomas that, “the original meaning of the word lust is “strong desire” and not necessarily a sinful desire, since there are certain desires of our physical nature -- such as hunger and thirst -- which we have in common with the animal world and which, in themselves, are natural and not sinful. It is only their abuse that is evil. Hunger is natural lust. Gluttony is a sinful lust. Thirst is a natural lust. Intemperance is a sinful lust.” And as D. L. Moody so aptly expressed regarding sensual lust, “It is the Devil’s counterfeit for love. There is nothing more beautiful on earth than a pure love and there is nothing so blighting as lust.”
It would be impossible to show heavenly love to 1,000 women -- even if you declared that you were married to all of them. And so, in the life of Solomon, we find that he seemed to simply go from one lust-filled excess to another. What was a heavenly passion and purpose, designed by God to have King Solomon build a house of worship that would draw the surrounding nations to Jerusalem to honor the God of heaven and earth, ended up becoming a thirteen year building project on a house for himself. And then what initially became a collection of gold to build vessels for God’s house, became a war machine which fabricated 200 large shields of gold and 300 shields of beaten gold plus the acquisition of 1400 chariots and 12,000 horseman and the building of “storage” cities where all this “excess” was kept. But all of these things weren’t enough to keep Solomon satisfied. So he looked around at the surrounding rulers and found that they acquired multiple wives. Solomon said to himself, “If one wife is good, two is better!” And soon he had a new collection -- this time it was women by the hundreds. Finally, the day came when I doubt Solomon could keep track of all the women in his household harem.
It is interesting that among Solomon’s Proverbs there are the following words: “The foolishness of man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth against the Lord” (Proverbs 19: 3 KJV). For one who was given the most abundant gift of wisdom ever bestowed on any human on earth, how sad to watch as King Solomon allowed the lusts of the flesh to take over the rulership of his life. What folly for Solomon who had every longing fulfilled and every desire realized by his command to find out at the end of his life, as William Low expresses, that we should, “hate and despise all human glory, for it is nothing else but human folly.”
“God’s grace instructs us to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this world.”
Titus 2: 11, 12
“O Lord, help us to be masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others.
“Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, thou hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee; grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light, and in thy service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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