Sunday, March 31, 2013

Power, Sex, and Money

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, March 31, 2013:  Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20

15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you ...  16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself ...  17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.  Deuteronomy 17:15-17 (NKJV)

18 “ ...  he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes.  Deuteronomy 17:18-19 (NKJV)

The kings of Israel were given three warnings and one instruction.  These were expressions of the wisdom of God to guide them against failure and direct them toward success.  These instructions reach beyond Hebrew royalty and speak to us about living at a higher level.  They are principles of leadership that apply to everyone but particularly speak to men.  

First, we will look at the three temptations.  God says that the king "shall not multiply horses for himself." Horses represent military might.  The key phrase here is "for himself."  The king is told to not build up a personal army.  He is told to not use his position to gather a military structure to enhance his personal POWER.  God also says that the king shall not "multiply wives for himself."  This is more than a prohibition against polygamy.  This has to do with the fidelity of marriage and the honoring of godly home life.  The violation of this is to engage in multiplied sexual relationships -- the danger and damage of SEXUAL SIN.  Finally, God says that the king shall not "greatly multiply silver and gold for himself."  This involves the temptation to use position and power for the purpose of personal gain -- the lure of MONEY.

Much has been written and much should yet be said about these three areas of danger for every man.  It was Lord Acton who said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  One of the salient characteristics of fallen man is his inability to handle unchecked power.  Therefore all of us need to have a clear place of accountability before God.  

The increasingingly sexualized culture in which we live demands that everyone, not just leaders, surround themselves with safeguards.  Whether it be internet, inter-office, or entertainment, every man should be vigilant to not allow the siren song of sexual fantasy lead him down the path to ruin.  

The corrupting lust for money is well documented.  Greed is everywhere and lures us to cut corners, to make compromises, and to cut bad deals.  Financial integrity is important to spiritual health.  

It is sobering to realize that it was in these three areas that Saul, David, Solomon, and all of the future kings of God's people so often failed.

So, what were they to do?  How could these men avoid the pitfalls of leadership?  God gave them one simple instruction:  READ THE WORD.  In verse 19, God tells them to keep the Word of God at the center of their daily lives.  Read it every day.  This may sound too simple, but it resounds throughout Scripture.  "How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word....Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You."  (Psalm 119:9,11)  Hear this today: the Word of God will strengthen you, will build you up, will carry you to life at a higher level.  That is part of what is means to live as a son of the King.

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