"But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that she should multiple horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, "Ye shall henceforth return no more that way." Deuteronomy 17:16.
Jesus, the author of the above counsel knew what was best for the kings of Israel and especially King Solomon. Jesus knew that to return to Egypt would be to expose His people to the ways and thoughts of the nation who had held them in captivity for hundreds of years. God did not want His children to go the way of the non-believing world but to go in the ways of the only true God – Jesus – the Son of God.
God also knew the following counsel "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!" Isaiah 31:1 God knew the absolute folly of trusting in horses and chariots when you could have the power of God watching over you.
God remembered what happened to Egypt when they came to bring back their escaped slaves after the plagues. Israel had been afraid when they had seen the armies of Egypt and the 600 chariots that Pharaoh brought to intimidate Israel with his power. Pharaoh trusted in horses and did not trust in the Holy One of Israel. When Israel saw all of the power of Egypt’s military they forgot the power of Him who had just delivered Israel by the power of His great right arm. They looked at the military might of Egypt and did not believe that God could deliver them. Yet when God opened the Red Sea and they walked that path by faith God delivered Israel when they had no physical weapons but trust in God to deliver them. Exodus 15:1-19 tells of God’s power over Egypt and all of their horses, chariots, and riders. God was the power on that day. O that Israel, and their kings could remember this thrilling story.
God knew the history of Israel and that Israel would reject Him as their King. I Samuel 8. He knew that they wanted a king, and a kingdom, like the nations around them. He allowed them to have this experience but He warned them, and their king, to depend upon Him and not on the powers of the world. Yet the sad story of Israel is that they insisted upon going in the direction of the world and they were willing to reap the harvest that their decisions would bring.
King Saul was Israel’s first king and he did not have many horses and chariots. David kept a 100 chariots but burned the other 900 chariots and hamstrung the horses as God had commanded in Joshua 11:6. David had had many experiences with God and knew that trust in God was worth more than many horses (Joshua 11:4) and was worth more than many men. (Judges 7) David was willing to consult with God for directions and for strength and support. II Samuel 5:17-25
When Solomon became king he had not learned the lessons that his father David had learned by hard experience. Solomon was blessed by the wisdom of the Lord but Solomon did not trust in God the way that David did and eventually began to trust in the gift of His wisdom rather than He who had given the gift. Solomon slowly made decisions that violated the instruction granted by God in the Bible and began to violate the special instructions of Deuteronomy 17 and especially verse 16. Solomon had contact with Egypt and with Pharaoh. Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, in violation of the commands of God. And then Solomon sent his men to purchase horses and chariots. Solomon eventually had 1400 chariots, 12,000 horsemen, and all of the horses needed to accommodate the chariots and horsemen. II Chronicles 1:14-17. This expenditure of means was a testimony that Solomon, in his wisdom, did not trust God to watch over him. He trusted in horses, chariots, and soldiers whereas Scripture told him to trust in God.
This rebellion of Solomon, on the subject of horses, is a symbol of greater issues. God has chosen to write about Solomon’s issues so that we upon whom the ends of the world are come (I Corinthians 10:11) can learn about this issue and decide whether we will learn the lessons that Solomon failed to learn. We can also see that this is an area in which Solomon is a type of the beast of Revelation 13 and the Little Horn of Daniel 7-8. We have clear testimony that Solomon did not follow Bible counsel but trusted not in the Word of God but in the powers of military forces, and especially those of Egypt. We can see that military might did not help Solomon but taught him to depend less and less upon the right arm of God, until Solomon had allowed his heart to turn away from his first love.
Our second text in this study warns us not turn to horses but to the power of God. We see this story play itself out over and over again in the Scriptures. We see that Israel was able to have victory over Egypt, not by horse, chariots, and soldiers, but by raw faith in the God of Israel. We see in Hezekiah’s experience that trust in God would deliver them from the armies of Assyria and see that 185,000 soldiers were destroyed without Israel lifting a hand against them. Isaiah 36-37 We see that Jehoshaphat conquered the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir by singing rather than fighting. II Chronicles 20:1-30. Asa has victory over the Ethiopian army, and their 300 chariots, by appealing to the power of God. II Chronicles 14:9-15. Our job is to believe that the power of God is in existence today just as it was for our fathers in Israel. To believe this requires a faith that Egypt and Babylon will not provide for us, so let us not go to these merchants of doom to purchase what they do not have. Let us go to Jesus and buy without price. Isaiah 55:1
The lesson referred to about the beast is another lesson we need to learn. The beast of Revelation 13:1-10 is the same as that of the Little Horn of Daniel 7-8 and the King of the North of Daniel 11. In Daniel 8:24-25 we find an odd quality about this power. There have been times in the history of this beast power that it had its own armies but much of the time the following is spoken of it "And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and she shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many…" Daniel 8:24-25. In the history of the Little Horn many times it depends upon the armies of it’s supporters rather than having its own armies. But it always depends upon military powers, the concept of horses and chariots in the Bible, to accomplish its purposes. It never relies upon the power of God through His Word. The Little Horn depends upon the powers of Egypt, military might, to accomplish it’s will.
In Revelation 17:1-14 we see the Little Horn in its last stages of development. In this section of Scripture the Little Horn (Beast, King of the North, Man of Sin) is portrayed as a Great Whore who rides upon a scarlet coloured Beast. This Beast has 7 heads and 10 horns. In Revelation 17:12-14 God states that these 10 horns will give their power and strength to the Beast to make war with the Lamb, and His people. This will be the last battle fought on this earth before the Second Coming of Jesus. In Revelation 19 the Bible tells us how that the Lamb, or Jesus, will come to this earth to fight against the Beast and the Whore who rides the Beast. In Revelation 19:11-21 describes this Great War. In this war Jesus rides a white horse and fights with a sword that comes out of His mouth. Revelation 19:11-15. This is a symbol of how God fights battles. The horse in this battle is God’s church. As Scripture states it Zechariah 10:3 "…for the Lord of hosts (Jesus) hath visited His flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as His goodly horse in battle." God’s faith filled people is the military vehicle that He rides into battle. The sword that comes out of His mouth is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17 "…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." These are the weapons in the arsenal of God that He will use in the end – His people fully trusting in Him with the faith of Jesus, obeying all of His commandments and patiently waiting for Him to deliver them from the enemies surrounding them. Revelation 14:12. This battle will be on a worldwide platform and all of the evil men of the world will be gathered against them. When this happens, then God will come again and deliver His people just as He did against the Egyptians in Exodus 14-15. This will be the final triumph of God over the world.
Oh that Solomon had learned this lesson and had trusted in the Word of God and had not returned to Egypt to purchase horses, and chariots. If Solomon had learned the lesson that God had taught Jeremiah – "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man (Solomon) glory in his wisdom, neither let the might man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I Am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 9:23-24 what a different story would have been written about him. But our opportunity is now, we can learn from the mistakes of Solomon and we can turn from seeking the power that the world has to offer and rest upon the Word of God by faith.