Summary: Epiphany Sermon - how Solomon described the prerequites of true Kingship
After our former mayor was forced out of office, it wasn’t too long ago that about twenty to thirty people put their names and pictures in our paper declaring to us their candidacy to be the new mayor of Topeka. In order to apply, they had to write what they would do as the future mayor. With ridicule and advice everyone tried to explain to the council what they thought the mayor should do and how he or she would lead. “I will take the politics out of government - and lead us on a new path forward!” “I plan on having Topeka expand!” It’s easy to stand on the side and THINK you know how to do a job. But in reality, until you actually get in the position, it’s hard to have any CLUE as to how to do it or how the system really works.
Solomon was more than a mayor of a city. He was a king of a country. He knew what the position required - what it took - because he’d been there. In this Psalm, the Holy Spirit used Solomon’s experience and failures and strength to shed some light on exactly what the ultimate King would need and what he would deserve. Some experts claim that this is actually a Psalm written by David FOR Solomon instead of written OF Solomon. But when we read through it, we’ll clearly see that these desires for the King could only fulfilled by one King - and that’s Christ. As we look at what Solomon’s job description for the King, we’ll be able to celebrate the fact that -
Christ is the King of Kings
I. He is greater than Solomon
When Solomon ruled over Israel, he displayed both strengths and weaknesses. One of his strengths was his wisdom. 2 Chronicles chapter 1 tells us -
God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 8 Solomon answered God . . . Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 11 God said to Solomon . . . wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
Solomon’s wisdom was reflected in a story in 1 Kings chapter 3, where two women came before Solomon, arguing over the ownership of a child. Solomon ordered the child to be cut in two. When the woman who had stolen the child wanted the child dead, it became obvious that she was lying. Solomon showed wisdom in dealing with the situation. It appears that Solomon was regularly given such difficult cases to judge upon. He couldn’t show favoritism - he had to make a judgment just based on the facts. So Solomon starts this Psalm out by praying, Endow the king with your justice. He knew that the King would need to have a good sense of justice just like he had - to make decisions on what was right and wrong. That meant having a special heart for the needy and afflicted - those who couldn’t defend themselves.
Solomon knew also that this king would need to be strong where he was WEAK. So he also prayed that God would endow the royal son with your righteousness. Righteousness - means to have an ethical or moral standard - coming from the root meaning “to be straight.” One dictionary says it means “innocence, the state of not having any sin or its associated guilt. He prayed that the king would make his just decisions based on the fact that he himself was righteous and straight - in line with God. The thing that I’ve always found somewhat strange about Solomon was the fact that even though he was wise, he was definitely lacking righteousness. 1 Kings 11 says that, He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. In his wisdom, Solomon knew that the future king couldn’t be hypocritical. He had to be righteous in his actions as well.
Having grown up in the palace under his father David, Solomon would have been accustomed to another aspect of being a king - and that was warfare. David was known as a man of blood - whose wars helped to extend the kingdom of Israel to a size it had never previously been. In the same way, Solomon said that the future King - The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. Just like David had to fight for the land and the kingdom - the future king would need to fight against enemies - and make them lick the dust.