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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

1 Kings 3:315comment (0)

December 2, 2010

By Jay T. Robertson

Related Scripture: 1 Kings 3:315


Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

WHAT MONEY CAN’T BUY
1 Kings 3:3–15

Christmas is often a very stressful time as we try to think of the perfect gift for the people on our gift lists. It’s also stressful as we think of spending money on all those gifts we think we have to purchase. Let’s be honest. Even Christ followers get caught up in the materialistic aspect of Christmas, chasing after more and more stuff. Material prosperity is so deeply imbedded as a value in our culture that Christians are hardly immune from letting their bottom lines dictate their top priorities. In God’s economy, loving Him and living by His wisdom for the sake of the nations that do not know Him are two commodities money can’t buy.

Where Do You Go for Help? (3–5)
Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking in the statutes of David, his father. In the context of 1 Kings, loving the Lord meant giving Him exclusive loyalty, heartfelt devotion and practical obedience.

Solomon’s defining moment came in the context of worship. Gibeon, a town about seven miles north of Jerusalem, was the most important high place because it was the site where the ancient tabernacle constructed under Moses’ leadership was located. Solomon’s public and prominent worship of the Lord at Gibeon demonstrated his devotion to Him. In response to his worship, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream with a stunning offer: “Ask what I shall give you.” This was not an ordinary dream, since the Lord and Solomon carried on a conversation. It was a divine revelation. God challenged him to decide his deepest values. What did he want his life and reign to be about?

What Is Your Biggest Challenge? (6–9)
Solomon responded with a mixture of gratitude, humility and boldness. He began by grounding himself in God’s person and purpose. His praise centered on God’s great kindness, His steadfast love revealed in the covenant He had made with David. Solomon’s presence on the throne was living evidence that God’s great covenant love continued.  

From praise, Solomon turned to his problem. Succeeding a powerful figure like David was a challenging task. He was probably about 20 years old at the time, but he felt like a little child, immature and inexperienced with respect to his new responsibility to lead the nation. He felt incompetent, overwhelmed.  

Whatever challenge you might be facing, you can learn about prayer from Solomon’s model. First he filled his mind with a sense of God’s greatness and grace, humbled himself in dependence, then asked God for an understanding mind so he could govern His people. Solomon asked God for a “hearing heart.” He felt a need to hear God, to have His guidance as he sought to lead the people.   

Whom Do You Seek to Please? (10–14)
Solomon’s request pleased the Lord. God promised Solomon that he would be given a wise and discerning mind. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between options, seeing whether something is right or wrong, wise or foolish. Wisdom is not about intellectual genius as much as it is about the ability to live in accordance with life as God has ordered it.  

Three times in His response, the Lord told Solomon, “I give you.” God gave Solomon wisdom but He also gave him riches and honor to the extent that he was supreme during his lifetime. God also extended a conditional promise to Solomon: “If you will walk in my ways … I will lengthen your days.” The earlier promises had been unconditional, but this promise was conditioned on obedience. The outcome of this part of the promise is indicated by the fact that Solomon died at about the age of 60, while David had lived 70 years.  

How Do You Show Commitment? (15)
Solomon woke up and realized God had blessed him in order to be a blessing to others. He led the people back to Jerusalem. There, before another part of the ancient tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, he completed his spiritual celebration. The burnt offerings and peace offerings, as well as the royal feast, served as public acknowledgement of God’s grace to him and the people of Israel.   

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