Summary: The Third Sermon in the 2008 Summer Sermon Series God is.
(The sermon began with the Reader’s Theater piece ‘Wise for Awhile’ published by Carson-Dellosa Christian Publishing.)
(Slide 1)Have you ever gotten what you have asked for… and then had the experience of not getting what you expected?
I remember this feeling, and disappointment, with my first car. I was so excited with getting it and looked forward to many years of driving pleasure. Until, I hit a pothole in the middle of nowhere on the Illinois prairie which caused the right front wheel to break and fold under the car!
My joy and enthusiasm was dashed to pieces. Reality set in and I now was an adult faced with the adult responsibility of getting it fixed. (Reality stinks sometimes, doesn’t it?)
In our story and text for today, we find that while Solomon got what He asked for – namely, wisdom, he also got something that He did not ask for – wealth and fame. And eventually, as we read his story, spiritual decline and decay. Our text for this morning is 1 Kings 3:1-14, let us hear the word of God:
‘Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and married one of his daughters. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his palace and the Temple of the Lord and the wall around the city. At that time the people of Israel sacrificed their offerings at local altars, for a temple honoring the name of the Lord had not yet been built.
Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the instructions of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local altars. The most important of these altars was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed one thousand burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
Solomon replied, “You were wonderfully kind to my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued this great kindness to him today by giving him a son to succeed him. O Lord my God, now you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?”
The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad that he had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people and have not asked for a long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and honor! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”
What have you been asking God for these days? Health? Wealth? A little peace and quiet? (Okay, a lot of peace and quiet?!)
How about fewer responsibilities? How about more responsibilities?
If you have been getting from God what you have asked for, is it what you have asked for? There is much from this text that we need and must pay attention to which requires us to read between the lines without reading into the text more than what is there or what God wants to be there.
(Slide 2) The first thing we need to pay attention to is that with the granting of our request comes a responsibility. God does answer our prayers, right? Not all of the time. But when He answers them, is there not some kind of responsibility on our part that needs to be done?
The president of a health care system in Georgia told the story of an experience in a hospital he once worked in where a patient knocked over a cup of water, which spilled on the floor beside the patient’s bed. The patient was afraid he might slip on the water if he got out of the bed, so he asked a nurse’s aide to mop it up.
The patient didn’t know it, but the hospital policy said that small spills were the responsibility of the nurse’s aides while large spills were to be mopped up by the hospital’s housekeeping group. The nurse’s aide decided the spill was a large one and she called the housekeeping department.