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midweek Vespers sermon

1 Kings 11:1-40

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wed. after 10th Sunday after Trinity
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, Aug 8, 2018 

In Genesis six, the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took wives of those they chose.  This most likely means, as Doctor Luther says, that the godly line of Seth was being corrupted by intermarriage with the wicked line of Cain.  A fair woman would lure a godly man, and soon he would no longer be godly because she would influence him to all kinds of corrupt belief and practice.  Genesis six is the first recorded instance of a long line of men being led away from the faith by beautiful women.

Now, please do not misunderstand.  It is not that women are particularly evil.  If anything, this shows that men can be led along by a pretty face.  Are any of my sex immune?  Perhaps, but I have never met such a man.  We, who are supposed to be the stronger sex, can be extremely weak.  Even pastors, who should be examples to the flock, may fall to the fairer sex.

Today it happens often enough.  A man who is going along nicely in the Christian faith falls madly in love.  But she does not believe the same things.  She bats her eyelashes and asks him to compromise with her religion.  Soon enough, it is not compromise, but outright capitulation.  A man will give in, thinking that he is acting out of love.

But love would stand firm and lead a wife to the true religion so that she can have life eternal in Christ.  Even if it is simply a matter of another denomination of Christianity, one or the other (or perhaps both!) will have teachings that work against the Gospel.  Each soul, both man and woman, will be much safer where there is no error to potentially lead them to destruction.  A noble husband should lead his wife to such a safe haven in a right-teaching church.

Tonight we see the example of Solomon.  Such a wise king surely would never fall into such a fleshly, obvious trap!  But he falls, and falls hard.  In the end, the wisdom of Solomon was no match for the wiles of ungodly women.

It does not appear to have happened all at once.  Verse four says that when he was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods.  So he held out for some time when he was younger.  Yet he kept getting more and more wives and concubines.  He loved them, and surely was swayed to give in to the many requests they made.

Here he should have heeded Godís warning, who said in Deuteronomy seventeen that kings of Israel should not multiply wives, lest their hearts be turned away.  God knew in advance that this sort of thing would happen and gave warning in advance.  Even Solomon wrote about avoiding the dangers of a seductive woman in the book of Proverbs. Yet eventually he was swayed.

Be warned, godly men!  You are not made of stone.  Be careful, and guard yourselves.  All kinds of wickedness can come in feminine disguise.

Whatever your sex, take this lesson: Do not leave yourself in the path of temptation.  Do not think, ďOh, I am strong enough to hold out!Ē When that thought strikes you, take heed lest you fall.

What should a person do who finds themselves in love with someone of another religion?  You should do what Solomon should have done.  Take this person you love and make them a good Christian.  In our century, that means making them a Lutheran.  Do not settle for less!  If a person loves you, they will be willing to do this for you.  If you love her, you will want the best for her, which means the pure Word, unadulterated with falsehood.

Instead of making his wives believers, Solomon left them as they were, and eventually began to build them their own places of worship.  Solomon created a high place where his wives could worship Chemosh of Moab, god of war and fire, on the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem.  This is where the Garden of Gethsemane would be, where Christ would wrestle with His anguish of spirit for the sake of saving His Bride, the Church.  In the same place, Solomon seemed to not wrestle or struggle at all, but gave in to his wives for the sake of a hideous, horrible god.

He went the same way with the false gods, Ashteroth and Molech Ė known for sexual indecencies and child sacrifice.  Instead of defending the innocent babies who might be destroyed, or defending the sexual decency of the nation put into his care, Solomon actually built places of worship to these monstrosities.

But let us not be too proud.  How many Christians in our generation have compromised with the slaughter of babies and sexual indecency?  How easily have many turned a blind eye to wickedness, sometimes for so little a bribe as a pretty face?

Solomon not only gave in to his wivesí requests to build them places of worship, but his own heart was drawn to these other gods.  Eventually, the wise son of David was swayed to feel what would have been unthinkable to his father, and even unthinkable to Solomon earlier in his life.

So that son of David failed.  Solomonís son would also fail.  The Lord was devoted to Davidís line because of His love for David, and would not utterly destroy Solomon or his more wicked descendants.  Yet the Lord of Israel was disappointed over and over by the sinful kings who took the throne.  Some shining examples of righteousness sometimes arose, but never perfectly.

The Lord kept seeking one who would obey Him.  He promised the northern part of the kingdom of Israel to Jeroboam son of Nebat.  God promised, ďIf you will listen to all that I command you, and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, as David My servant did, I will be with you and build you a sure house.Ē Surely Jeroboam would gratefully receive the Lordís grace, who was not born to the royal house, yet was lifted up to the throne.  But no, Jeroboam also failed.  Jeroboam set up golden calves to lure the people of Israel away from worship of the true God, and so began the seduction of the northern kingdom toward its eventual destruction.

Yet in the midst of the dismal performance of king after king, the Lord promised that another kind of king would come.  He promised that He would always make sure that there was a Light before Him in Jerusalem, the city which He had chosen for Himself to put His name there.  The Lord slipped that promise into the words of Ahijah the prophet so casually that it did not sound like much.  Yet that Light is Christ.

Davidís line was obviously not the perpetual light for Jerusalem.  The kings of Davidís line eventually failed to hold onto the throne, as they were sent off into exile in Babylon.  They were not strong enough or righteous enough to keep the city or the throne, certainly not for always, as God promised the Light would be before Him.

Only Christ was able to be the perpetual Light.  He not only was righteous as no man before Him could be, but He also was able to defy death by His resurrection.  So He could rule upon the throne of David forever.  He rules now and forever, not only in power over all things, but particularly over His holy Bride, who is all those in the kingdom of His grace.

To win His Bride and become the King of saints, Christ stood firm in His earthly life against all temptations.  He was tempted in every way that we are, except that Christ did not fall.  There were pretty faces to try to lure Christ, but He stood firm.  There were temptations to compromise, but He would not compromise.  He stayed on the path of righteousness all the way to the Cross and Open Tomb.

This is our King, the eternal Light who can never go out.  Although we have failed in many ways to stand firm as we should, our King has cleansed us to be His pure Bride.  Because we are His spiritual Jerusalem, He will shine over us for all eternity.  In that place, no death can part the Bridegroom or Bride.  In that place, no false gods darken the world with their foul corruption.  Only truth and perfection rule under the Light of our Christ.

To His glory and honor and praise, forever and ever.  Amen.



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