“Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water. Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the seas”…
These lyrics from a 1970’s pop song are wonderfully accurate for all times.
Is your hand currently in the hand of “the Man?”
Is your hand currently in the hand of Jesus?
It’s quite an image to picture, isn’t it?
Holding tightly to Jesus’ hand – especially when our life’s seas are rough and filled with fear.
Let’s learn a few lessons from King Solomon on the do’s and don’ts of how the navigate through the storms of life (1 Kings 3)…
The Bible admonishes us to read it in order that we may learn from the stories found there of the Old Testament Saints (1 Cor 10:11).
“Seek wisdom. Wisdom starts in heaven, but works at street level, where we bump shoulders with others.
It isn’t satisfied with information retrieval:
You can’t access wisdom by the megabyte.
Wisdom is concerned with how we relate to people, to the world and to God.”
— Edmund P. Clowney
At the beginning of his reign, Solomon showed his love for the Lord by leading his people in the worship of God.
The Lord gave Solomon permission to ask whatever he wished.
Solomon asked the Lord for a hearing heart, a heart of wisdom so he could govern his nation well.
The Lord not only promised Solomon wisdom; He promised him wealth and fame as well.
These chapters show the fulfillment of God’s promise to Solomon of wisdom, wealth, and fame.
1 Kings 3:5
“At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’ “
Imagine that the sovereign God of the universe granted you this same opportunity.
What would your wish be?
For young King Solomon, this was not a theoretical scenario.
The Lord actually did appear to him, and He gave him an opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted—a divine blank check!
Here is Solomon’s response:
1 Kings 3:7-12
New King James Version
7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.
9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.
For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Solomon didn’t seem to hesitate when he asked God for help discerning between right and wrong (v. 9).
This answer might not be the one we were expecting;
How many of us, if asked what we want by the Creator of the universe, would think to ask for wisdom above anything else?
But God “was pleased that Solomon had asked for this” (v. 10) and He answered Solomon, giving him wisdom, along with so much more.
Why is this story significant?
Well, it’s tempting to put the people of the Bible on a pedestal, thinking that they had special VIP access to God.
However, we have to remember that we serve the same God as Solomon – a God who cares enough to ask us what we need and to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
What is it you need today?
Whatever it may be, know that you, just like Solomon, can bring it to God and He will provide.
Solomon is a puzzling man, as we shall discover, once we study his life. .
He accomplished great good and lived a life marked by massive achievements.
But the outcome of his life was tragic. He was a wise man who did some foolish things.
He was a godly man who did some ungodly things.
But he began well. At the beginning of his reign, we see him at his best.
Here’s where Solomon went wrong:
Marriage between royal families was a common practice in the ancient Middle East because it secured peace between people groups.
However God’s instructions for the king in Deuteronomy 17:17 warned…
“Not to multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”
Although Solomon’s marital alliances built friendships with surrounding nations, they were also the beginning of his downfall.
These relationships became inroads for idolatrous ideas and practices.
Solomon’s foreign wives brought their gods to Jerusalem and eventually lured him into worshiping false gods (11:1-6).
It is easy to minimize religious differences in order to encourage the development of a friendship or relationship.
What can seem small while dating, however, will have an enormous impact upon a marriage.
The early stages of falling in love easily lead to idealism, and it can be easy in this season to minimize religious differences as something that can be “worked out” later.
The reality, however, is that God gives us standards to follow for all of our relationships, including marriage, for our own good.
If we follow God’s will, we will not be lured away from our true focus.
You must be compatible in a relationship in what you and the other person believe and also in how you both practice those beliefs.
If not, compromising your own relationship with God is inevitable.
God’s laws said that the Israelites could make sacrifices only in specified places (Deuteronomy 12:13-14).
This was to prevent the people from instituting their own methods of worship and allowing pagan practices to creep in.
But many Israelites, including Solomon, made sacrifices at the surrounding hills.
Solomon loved God, but this act was sinful. It also took the offerings out of the watchful care of priests and ministers loyal to God and opened the way for false teaching to be tied to these sacrifices.
God appeared to Solomon to grant him wisdom at night, not during the sacrifice. God honored his prayer but did not condone his sacrifice.
When given the chance to have anything in the world, Solomon asked for wisdom—“an understanding heart”—in order to lead well and to make right decisions.
According to the New Testament, we can ask God for this same wisdom (James 1:5).
Notice that Solomon asked for understanding to carry out his job; he did not ask God to do the job for him.
We should not ask God to do for us what He wants to do through us.
Instead, we should ask God to give us the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to follow through on it.
Solomon asked for wisdom (“understanding”), not wealth, but God gave him riches, fame, and long life as well.
While God does not promise riches or fame to those who follow him, He gives us what we need if we put His Kingdom, His interests, and His principles first (Matthew 6:31-33).
Setting your sights on wealth and possessions will only leave you dissatisfied because even if you get the riches you crave, you will still want something more.
But if you put God and His work first, He will satisfy your deepest needs because He knows just what they are.
Solomon received “a wise and understanding heart” from God, but it was up to Solomon to apply that wisdom to all areas of his life.
Solomon was obviously wise in governing the nation, but he was foolish in running his household.
Wisdom is both the ability to discern what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge.
While Solomon remained wise all his life, he did not always act upon his wisdom (11:6).
Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…
1 Kings 3:1—4:34
Solomon carefully lived by God’s rules, and God gave him success.
Solomon asked God for wisdom, and with it, God gave him economic prosperity and fame.
God expects all people to use their gifts to do His will.
When they do, everyone else benefits.
I recently flew to St. Louis on a commercial airline. The attendant was so grumpy I thought she’d had lemons for breakfast.
She made her instructions clear: sit down, buckle up, and shut up!
I dared not request anything lest she push the eject button.
Perhaps I caught her on the wrong day, or maybe she caught herself in the wrong career.
Two weeks later I took another flight. This attendant had been imported from heaven.
She introduced herself to each passenger, had us greet each other, and then sang a song over the intercom!
I had to ask her, “Do you like your work?”
“I love it!” she beamed.
“For years I taught elementary school and relished each day. But then they promoted me.
I went from a class of kids to an office of papers.
Miserable! I resigned, took some months to study myself, found this opportunity, and snagged it.
Now I can’t wait to come to work!” . . . You can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it.
Exploring and extracting your uniqueness excites you, honors God, and expands his kingdom.
So “make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Galatians 6:4 MSG).
Discover and deploy your knacks.
(From Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado)
If you were given Solomon’s opportunity to ask for anything, what would you choose?
Would your requests benefit others if God granted them?
In your prayers today, ask God for your heart’s desire.
Trust in God’s generosity to you.
Friday, Oct 6
by Two Listeners
A CHILD’S HAND
“And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”
— 1 Kings 3:7
Dear Lord, we cling to Thee.
Yes, cling. Your faith shall be rewarded. Do you not know what it means to feel a little trusting hand in yours, to know a child’s confidence?
Does that not draw out your Love and desire to protect, to care?
Think what My Heart feels, when in your helplessness you turn to Me, clinging, desiring My Love and Protection.
Would you fail that child, faulty and weak as you are?
Could I fail you?
Just know it is not possible. Know all is well. You must not doubt. You must be sure.
There is no miracle I cannot perform, nothing I cannot do. No eleventh-hour rescue I cannot accomplish.
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Come join the Adventure!