© 2017 by Tom Mercer

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Charlottesville

August 24, 2017

Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem. —1 Kings 3:1

 

Our conversation over the weekend about Solomon’s alliance with Pharoah was more passionate than it might have been on another occasion. The recent Charlottesville tragedy added a layer of emotion and maybe even concern, as the passage highlights the relationship between two ethnic groups.

 

This was the context. For the Jewish people to intermarry with the Cannanites was a violation of Jewish Law. So, this marriage, between a Jewish King and an Egyptian princess, would certainly have raised some eyebrows—even though Egypt is not on the list of Cannanite nations and even if the marriage was more a matter of geo-political expediency than love. But it gives us the opportunity to highlight an important quality of God’s view of humanity.

 

God’s concern for the Jewish people and their marital choices was not because He championed ethnic purity or because He had created a pecking order of racial superiority. In fact, throughout biblical history, the Jewish people always struggled when they confused being the chosen people with being superior to other people. We too can suffer from a condescending attitude toward others when, because God chose to bless us with something special, we start thinking that He must love us more than He cares for them. Israel was the lineage God chose to fulfil a Messianic mission but, never forget, it was God’s love for the entire world that caused Him to engineer that mission in the first place!

 

God’s prohibition against Jewish/Canaanite intermarriage was purely out of theological concern. I don’t want to sound sexist here, but women tend to be very persuasive—so when you marry the wrong one, you’re in trouble. But I could say the same thing about marrying the wrong guy. Later in the narrative, Solomon had problems because some of his foreign wives imported some pretty jacked-up theology into his palace. In our context, should our devotion to Jesus be lessened because we are pursuing a particular relationship, then that relationship is a bad idea.

 

We work pretty hard to steer our church family away from political debate. HDC is a very diverse family at a lot of levels. My primary concerns are that people would (1) know God through the only Savior He sent us and (2) understand His Word, so they can start making better choices—regardless of which side of the aisle their politics lean. So, I write this through a theological lens, not a political one. But, let’s still be clear. Racism at any level is not only evil, it is senseless and it is heartbreaking. In Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ. (Galatians 2:8)

 

White Supremacism is satanic. Any form of race-deification or racial discrimination is despicable—it distorts the Christian Gospel and has historically destroyed every community or civilization it can get its filthy hooks into.

 

For almost two and a half centuries, the Christian church has uniquely spoken into American culture with an apolitical biblical voice. For that to continue, we must maintain a clear understanding of what the Bible actually says. Otherwise, we’re condemned to misrepresent the One who wrote it.

 

 

 

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