Summary: What does this mean for us during change? This morning I would like to talk about some elements of change and see why a discerning heart is necessary during change.
A Discerning Heart
You are at work one day and HR calls a meeting and once everyone arrives, shares the news that half of the company is being let go because the company got bought out. Sorry. You don’t know if you are in the half with a job or the half without a job.
You head for your annual physical which happens every three years or so and your doctor tells you that your labs came back and you have a medical condition which requires you to change your lifestyle. Foods have to be different. Treatment is painful and costly. That is what life is now.
You and your spouse are heading for retirement and knocking off items off the bucket list when your father becomes ill. You decide to take your father into your home and be his caregiver. You now have no extra time. You get less sleep. All extra money is gone. Your bucket list gets left undone as do all your plans and dreams. A whole lot of change has occurred and life is not going as you expected.
You have four children and each of them have lives of their own. One is having a baby for the first time. One is seeking to change jobs. One is trying to get themselves clean from drugs. One is thinking of moving to the other side of the country to follow a pie-in-the-sky dream. So many changes on the horizon for people that you love and they all ask for your advice.
SOLOMON AND CHANGE
The passage of Scripture that we will look at today has a lot of change in the background. 1 Kings 1 shares with us that “King David was old and well advanced in years” (1:1) and his children began to fight over who would become king after him. King David had chosen his son Solomon to become king, but there were other sons who wished for the authority of the throne. There was a struggle and in the end Solomon is the chosen successor.
As David’s death approached, 1 Kings 2 tells us some of the advice David gives to Solomon. 1 Kings 2:1-4 says, “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, 4 and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'” His words sound similar to what we looked at last week in Joshua 1.
1 Kings 2:10-11 tells us, “Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel-- seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.” The rest of chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3 describes how not all the people were accepting of Solomon’s reign and several people died. A brother dies. A general dies. An old enemy of his father dies. Alliances are formed. In the midst of the death and change and alliances, we have the passage we will focus on today.
As we read this passage today, understand that Solomon is undergoing a lot of change in his life. His father is now dead. His brothers do not seem to be trustworthy. He now has responsibility and authority thrust upon him that he knew was coming, but probably wasn’t actually ready for. He has international issues to plan and manage as well as domestic issues to handle as king over God’s people. Also, because he is king over God’s people, they had to be governed according to God’s precepts if they wanted to be blessed by Him. Solomon was not just the king over any nation, but king over God’s people.
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 6 Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for-- both riches and honor-- so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." 15 Then Solomon awoke-- and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.