Q: The other day I heard some men talking about David and his wives and concubines along with Solomon and his many wives and concubines. The general consensus coming from them is that since David and Solomon had many wives, and that David was a man after God’s own heart, they likewise could have many women on the side as well. This is not the first time I have heard such nonsense. The problem is these men call themselves Christians and seem to justify their dishonorable attitudes towards women and sex according to the practices of the Old Testament. As a woman I am disgusted at such attitudes and question if these men are even saved. I was wondering if you could put this in perspective.
A: Sadly, there are very few spiritual matters that are held sacred today and probably the most exploited subject is sex. The Bible is clear that that which is done in secret, whether it should be considered sacred as in a relationship between a husband and wife or done in wickedness as in the case of fornication, should not be a matter of casual or flippant conversation. There should not be jesting or coarse talk about such personal matters as if it they are common, for what is made common is often considered profane by God (Ephesians 5:3-12). If such matters come to the light it is for the purpose of reproving them as being dishonorable in order to bring repentance and godly instruction.
This brings us to the crux of the subject. When men who have a religious affiliation want to justify heaping their lusts upon themselves because of immoral thoughts and practices of fornication towards women, they often use David and Solomon to do so. However, when a person uses the Bible to justify immorality they do so to their own damnation. The Apostle Paul put such profanity in this light, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
The Bible is clear as to what we are to think upon in Philippians 4:8, and whatever we think in our heart, is what we become (Proverbs 23:7-8). Like the days of Noah, man’s imagination today appears to be continually evil while skirting around the standard of righteousness that has been lifted up in his midst (Genesis 6:4-5). Jesus put it this way in Matthew 24:37-38, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” Remember, in Noah’s day the sons of God lusted after the daughters of men and took them as wives according to their choosing. Who the sons of God and the daughters of men are, is a whole different discussion that becomes a moot point because people will believe their own take on it. However, the point is that wicked imaginations are often associated with sexual abominations.
In the generation of Noah, there was a clear standard of righteousness erected and there is also a moral standard of righteousness erected in our midst. For example, during Noah’s day he served as the people’s standard of righteousness as he built an ark against the great day of wrath that was coming, while our standard of righteousness is Jesus who is our ark when it comes to the wrath that is abiding on all disobedience (Romans 2:8-11; 2 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 3:2-3; 1 Corinthians 1:30 refer to John 16:7-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 2:16).
Man is forever adjusting morality to fit his narrative, justifying all immorality to justify his transgressions and iniquity, while trying to clothe his wickedness with religious garb to cover up the stench of it. However, Jesus took away the cloak to reveal sin and when man stands before the holy God who will be His judge on that day he will find that he will ultimately be judged by the very Word he selfishly used to justify himself. Once the judgement is passed, he will not stand justified as he is stripped by the truth, condemned by a holy Law, and deemed worthy of eternal death without any recourse or means to seek mercy and forgiveness (John 15:22; Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 5:16-25; 6:7-8; Hebrews 9:27).
When we consider the days of Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon, we must remember that cultural practices of that time permitted a man to have more than one wife. That practice is still very much alive in many of the Muslim nations and among some religious sects. Even though the Lord permitted it, He declared this in His law in Deuteronomy 17:17 about kings, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”
This brings us to how God views a matter. Man may justify sin, but God is the ultimate judge of all matters. If man’s conclusion does not line up to God’s assessment of a matter, man’s argument or justification will not stand in the end.
God’s plan for mankind was made clear at the very beginning. Male and female were created as one. God took one woman out of the side of man and instituted the union of marriage, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 19:4-6, “Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are not more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Some people argue that the word “marriage” is not used in these Scripture references but if you put it in context, Jesus was being asked about divorce and He was clear that man was not to put his wife away unless there was adultery. For there to be a divorce there had to be some legal, binding agreement that we would know as marriage. Even though the word “marriage” may not be mentioned in some Scriptures, Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers (fornicators) and adulterers God will judge.”
Mankind may be loose with sex, but it is clear that sex is a gift that was to be confined within the binding union of marriage set forth by God. In fact, fornication includes all illicit sex outside of marriage which is very much described and condemned in Exodus 22:16-19; Leviticus 18; and Deuteronomy 22:22-30. These sexual sins include lying with a maid that a man is not betrothed to, and if he does he must endow her to be his wife, along with adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, rape (molestation), and incest. God stated that these abominable sins is what will cause the land to spew people out, and in most cases those who practiced such immorality were put to death for committing such sins as a way to keep the land from being polluted.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul clearly stipulated that fornication is the one sin committed against the body because it brings one into agreement with the unholy, rendering such an act as a type of prostitution (1 Corinthians 6:17-20). We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and those who defile the temple will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 3:15-17). We know that we cannot fellowship with fornicators and that they will not make it into the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 5:6-511; Galatians 5:19-21). The Apostle Paul instructed believers to sanctify their bodies in relationship to sexual conduct and to avoid defrauding a person by giving him or her false impressions about intentions (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6).
This brings us to the purpose of marriage: it was to serve as a shadow of the marriage of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-32). The vow made in marriage is that of faithfulness (until death do us part) and the covenant part of it has to do with godly conduct of the husband and wife towards each other to leave a testimony for the generations to follow as to the sacredness, purpose, and working of marriage.
This brings us to a very important reality that Jesus is coming back for a chaste bride. This attitude that marriage does not have to be practiced and regarded as sacred and ordained by God is behind the great breakdown of the family. Godly marriage is the backbone of a healthy family and a healthy family is the backbone of a healthy nation. However, the dishonorable attitude and practices that find their basis in fornication is defiling the inner sanctuaries of marriages (the bed), rendering sex a common activity as people change partners like they do their clothes, while casting their souls to the winds of judgment to gain temporary pleasure that leaves them often feeling empty and hollow in the end.
It is clear our nation is sick, groaning under terrible sin, reeling from a world that seems to be going mad because moral boundaries are being cast aside and selfishness erected while innocence, purity, and righteousness are being sacrificed in the name of happiness and the right to live life any old way. However, there is a day of reckoning coming, a day of judgment and I love what John the Baptist declared to the religious people, “flee the wrath to come by bringing forth fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8).