God, who alone knows the future, set the regulations for Israel’s kings long before the people asked Samuel for one. All the way back in Deuteronomy the law for the king was clearly described. The king must be an Israelite. He must not acquire many horses or go back to Egypt to get more. He shouldn’t try for large amounts of silver and gold. And, “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray” (Deuteronomy 17:17). Pretty much, if the people just had to have a king, God wanted humble and holy kings. These commands for the king were mostly ignored. Solomon broke every single one of these commands.
So why does God tell us that there are certain things to do and certain things to not do? Is it just a test of obedience? Or does God, who knows the future, realize that certain actions will lead to blessings and others will result in major problems? In my estimation if God says to do something we should obey no matter what the reason is. He’s God! Who are we to ignore the commands of our Creator? But to give even more reason, God gives commands not to burden us but to help us. Solomon ignored the command not to take many wives. Even worse, many of his wives were not Israelites but they were from the nations around them, and so, as predicted in Deuteronomy, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4).
Of course, choosing to ignore God’s commands doesn’t just affect us. The generations after us can feel the consequences of our choices, especially if we are in a position of influence. Solomon’s son Rehoboam wasn’t much of a king. He made terrible choices. His choices were his own but there certainly were some bad influences in his life. “His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite” (1 Kings 14:21). Solomon married a woman from a country that honored another god, that woman raised her son to worship idols, and later this man led the entire country astray. The God who knows the future gives us these commands for a reason! He knew exactly what would happen if these bad choices were made. The next time you read in scripture about not complaining or loving your wife (or whatever other command there may be) choose to honor what God says. These things are there not to harm you but to give you a hope and a future.
Camden Avenue church of Christ