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7-3-4 Sin Never Satisfies

Solomon  wrote Prov. 7 shortly after his marriage; how ever could he do it? Clearly he was spiritually blind to a fundamental part of  his  life,  but  the  fact  he was blind never seems to have occurred  to  him.  How  can  we  think  that  we are not blind? Remember  how  the  disciples  were  blind  to  the most obvious teaching  of  the  Lord Jesus: that he would die and rise again. Israel  likewise  were  blind  to  the prophecies of a suffering Messiah;  the  early Jewish Christians were blind to the mass of Old  and New Testament evidence that circumcision, Sabbath keeping etc.  were  irrelevant to salvation. In retrospect it all looks so  obvious.  There  may very well be aspects of our lives which are   fundamentally   astray,   which  could  even  lead  to  our condemnation. " Search us, O God, and know each heart" .  

The  blindness  of  Solomon  is  driven  home time and again. He warned  the  typical  young  man  about  being captivated by the eyelids of the Gentile woman (Prov. 6:25); yet it was the eyes of Miss  Egypt  that  he openly admitted stole his heart (Song 4:9; 6:5).  The  strange woman has words like a honeycomb (Prov. 5:3); and  yet  this  is  exactly  how Solomon found his woman's words (Song  4:11).  The  wicked  Gentile  woman  is associated with a large   house  in  a  high  place,  in  the  temple  area  (e.g. Prov. 9:14). But this is exactly where Solomon built his Egyptian wife  a  house!  The  Proverbs which lament the rich man who has bitterness  in  his family life no doubt came true of Solomon in later life (e.g. 15:17).  A whole string of passages in Proverbs warn  of  the  " strange"   woman  (2:16;  5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 20:16; 23:27;  27:13). Yet the very same word (translated " outlandish" ) is  used  in  Neh. 13  concerning  the women Solomon married. The antidote  to  succumbing to the wicked woman was to have wisdom- according to Proverbs. And Solomon apparently had wisdom. Yet he succumbed to the wicked woman. The reason for this must be that Solomon didn't really have wisdom. Yet we know that he was given it in abundance. The resolution of this seems to be that Solomon asked  for  wisdom  in  order  to  lead  Israel  rather than for himself,  he used that wisdom to judge Israel and to educate the surrounding  nations.  But  none of it percolated to himself. As custodians  of  true  doctrine-  for  that is what we are- we are likely to suffer from over familiarity with it. We can become so accustomed  to 'handling' it, as we strengthen each other, as we preach,  that  the personal bearing of the Truth becomes totally lost  upon us, as it was totally lost upon Solomon. Thus Solomon exhorted  others to keep the law of their mother (Prov. 6:21), so that  it  would  keep  the from the attractive Gentile girl. And don't  think, he went on, that in this context you can take fire into  your  hands  and  not be burnt. You can't play around with your  own  sexuality  without  it  having  a permanent spiritual effect  upon  you  (6:27). But dear Bathsheba's words to Solomon warning  against  the Gentile woman were completely forgotten by him.   

Truth  flowed  through  his  mouth  with ease, but took no lodgement at all in his heart. Truth, absolute and pure, flows through our hands in such volume. Bible study after Bible study, chapter  after  chapter... But does it mean anything  at  all  to us? Prov. 6:26 warns the young man that the Gentile woman will take his money and leave him destitute at the end. These words seem to be alluded to by Solomon years later in Ecc. 6:2, where he laments that despite his wealth and success, a Gentile  would have it all after his death. He saw in later life that  his  warnings  to  the young men of Israel had been in the form of painting a picture of a typical young man who epitomized youthful  folly;  but  now  he  saw  that  he  had been making a detailed prophecy of himself. Likewise in Ecc. 2:18,19 he laments that  his  labours will achieve nothing; doubtless alluding back to  his  words in Prov. 5:10, where he says that the Gentile wife will make the young Israelite's labours meaningless. Sin never satisfies. “Hell and destruction are never satisfied, and the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20 RV), Solomon wrote in his youth; and then in old age, he came to basically the same conclusion, having spent his life working back to the truth that he had been taught in his youth (Ecc. 1:8; 4:8). And there are many men and women who have done the same. We all tend to be empirical learners; and yet this is the great power of God’s word, that through it we need not have to learn everything through our failures; but we can receive His Truth, trust it, and simply live by it. Otherwise we shall be like Solomon… 

It  is  the  tragedy  of  sin  that  it  never  really satisfies:

“Hell and destruction are never satisfied, and the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20 RV)

“A proud man…enlargeth his desire as hell, and he is as death, and cannot be satisfied” (Hab. 2:5). To live the life of endless self-gratification is to be dead whilst we live.

“The eye is not satisfied with seeing, not the ear filled with hearing [therefore] all things are full of weariness / labour” (Ecc. 1:8)

“There is no end of all his labour [for] neither are his eyes satisfied with riches…this also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail” (Ecc. 4:8). The Millionaire always wants another million…

“All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite [Heb. ‘soul’] is not filled” (Ecc. 6:7). These verses explain the sense of weariness and vanity which there is in our world.

Those who lusted for meat were given it; yet “they were not estranged from their lust” (Ps. 78:30).  Sin never satisfies.

Despite his ravishment  with Pharaoh's daughter as outlined in the Song, she never  fulfilled him; indeed, none of his women did. In the Song he  speaks  of  how  he  was  ravished  with this Egyptian girl, especially with her breasts (Song 2:7; 3:5; 4:9; 8:14). Alluding to  this  he  could confidently exhort in Prov. 5:18-20: " Rejoice with  the  wife  of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe (Song of Solomon language); let her breasts satisfy  thou  ravished  always  with  her love...And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange (i.e. Gentile) woman?" . How,  indeed?  But 999 women later, it was a different story for Solomon.  Solomon  writes  in Prov. 5:18-20 as if it is of course unthinkable  that  he  should  have  been  ravished by a Gentile woman;  but  he  had been. He spoke to others with absolutely no thought  as  to whether his words had an application to himself. Effectively  he was kidding himself, on a deeply internal level, that  he hadn't married out of the faith. The obviousness of all  this  is  in  order  to drum the warning home to us. How tragic  that  Solomon  should go on to comment that such a person would die  for  want  of  instruction (Prov. 5:23). Solomon had all the instruction  he could wish for; but he didn't allow it to really sink  home  one  little  bit. He  hit  out  on  the search for an ultimately satisfying woman, but out of the 1000 he had he never found one (Ecc. 7:28), even when he sat down and analyzed each of them. And even politically, his marriages with all those Gentile women  didn't  seem  to  achieve him the support he desired from their  home  countries; Egypt gave refuge to Jeroboam, Solomon's main rival (1 Kings 11:40), even though he always acquiesced to his wives and even in his very old age he still didn’t destroy the idol temples he built for them (2 Kings 23:13). .  

The  Song of Solomon itself  subtly  hints  at  the problems which existed between Solomon and his girl- for sin never satisfies. The daughters of Jerusalem and the watchmen  (i.e. the prophets? Gad, Nathan? Whoever wrote Ps. 127 as a warning to Solomon?) were constantly watching them and being  critical  of  her  (Song of Solomon 5:7,16;  8:1), they despised her. There was a jealousy as cruel as the grave between the Jewish girls and Solomon’s Egyptian lover (Song of Solomon 8:6). The courtship  was held in lonely, secluded places, with the fear of being  seen and mocked (Song of Solomon 5:6; 8:1,14; 7:11,12). And the Song ends on  a  most  unhappy  note;  the two separate, rather than there being   the   consummation  we  might  expect (1).  The  problem  of conscience  was  probably  always there; and her secret yearning for the Egypt life doubtless only increased with the years.  

In  this aspect lies such a deeply powerful exhortation. There's pain  either  way  in  our  life,  whether  we chose the path of obedience  or  self-gratification. We are not pleasing ourselves if  we  chose  the  latter;  but  a  cruel  master,  namely  the (Biblical)  devil.  Sin  cannot  satisfy,  Scripture  is  almost screaming  at  us  to learn this lesson. Above all do we see the lesson  taught  in the cross, we see there sin condemned, in the resurrection  of  Christ  we  see the joy and power and ultimate reality  that  service to sin cannot attain. The logicality of a life  of  obedience  is screaming, yes screaming at us. Can't we see it? 


(1) The Song of Solomon really isn’t the idyllic lovesong some have made it out to be. Constantly there is fear and contradiction within it; the unsatisfactory ending is but a continuation of a theme of uncertainty and difficulty in the relationship. Throughout the song there are constant interjections of doubt and misunderstanding, and anticlimaxes between the height of love’s expression and the depths of doubt. We expect the Song to feature a romance that blossoms into marriage and the consummation; but all we have is a constant struggle in the relationship, and it all ends in a quite unsatisfactory and unfulfilled way. The sense of lovesickness reflects the unsatisfying nature of it all (Song 2:5, 15,16). She asks him to turn and go away, and then seeks him desperately (Song of Solomon 2:17; 3:1)- having earlier rejoiced at the news of his coming (2:8). There is also the tension with the daughters of Jerusalem, who can be understood as Solomon’s Jewish wives, or those who were his Jewish harem. She wants to bring him into her mother’s bedroom in Egypt, but this is contrasted in the next Song with Solomon’s bed in Jerusalem, prepared for the “daughters of Jerusalem” (3:4,10) whom he should have married. Then, with this bed in the background, he tells her how he especially loves her (4:1). She seems to boast of Solomon’s love to his “daughters of Jerusalem”, the Jewish women in his harem (5:16). The seeking and not finding him all suggests he had temporarily rejected her, after she had been lazy to open the door to him (Song of Solomon 3:2; 5:6- these passages are the basis of NT teaching about Christ’s rejection of his unworthy bride. See Judgment To Come and ‘Loving His Appearing’ in Beyond Bible Basics). The unsatisfactory ending of the Song is reflected in the jilted lover desperately seeking Solomon again. She reflects how "I was a wall [with turrets]", and her breasts which she speaks of were "in his eyes as one that found favour" (Song 8:10). I take Song 8:1-8 to be her fantasy, her desperate dream, for Solomon's return. She dreams of asking him to commit to her ("set me as a seal upon your heart", Song 8:6), but concludes by telling him to flee far away from her, although she still calls him "my beloved" (Song 8:14). It's a tragic, unfulfilled ending.