Ryken, Philip Graham. King Solomon – The Temptations of Money, Sex, and Power. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011. 256 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.
Dr. Philip Ryken currently serves as president of Wheaton College. Before that, he was senior minister at the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He has authored a number of books and is also a co-editor of one of my favorite commentary series, The Reformed Commentary Series.
This work is divided into thirteen chapters and includes a study guide. In essence, it is a biblical look at the life of Solomon, the most wise of all men in the Bible. Dr. Ryken follows the rise and fall of the son of David as he begins with a heart for God and is led astray by a life that looks to find joy in other areas of life. Most importantly in the areas of sex, money, and power.
Every chapter points the reader to the failure of man to keep covenant with God. Every chapter points to the One who was able to keep covenant with God. Each chapter will lead you to a deeper understanding of your need for Christ.
It seems as though money, sex, and power are always the main culprits behind most crime (yes, the argument can be rightfully made for pride) and this work by Dr. Ryken clearly shows that this is not a new phenomena. On these pages, the reader will discover the necessity of trusting day by day (sometimes hour by hour) in the mercies of Christ.
While Solomon is known as the wisest man in the Bible, he did ultimately fail. Reading King Solomon will help you to see 1) where he failed, 2) when the failure began, and 3) the means by which we can overcome failure in life. It has been said that the best defense is a great offense. In this case, the saying rings all the more true. If you are aware of your lifestyle and choices, from a biblical perspective, you will be better equipped to avoid the dangerous pitfalls that accompany most everything we do in life.
This work will serve two purposes in your life and for that reason, I recommend it to all. First, it will show you that there is truly nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9) and that there is no temptation that is not common to man (1 Cor 10:13). It will also equip you to deal with these inevitable sins. For those reasons, pick up this book and be equipped.