Summary: Solomon decides wisely and well - why?
If God gave you a wish, what would it be?
1 Kings 2:1-4 and 3:1-15
This morning I would like to speak from the Old Testament lesson.
In the Old Testament, God rarely appeared to people. However, King Solomon had a number of direct encounters with God and this was one of them.
I have often wondered how I would have responded if I had heard, like Solomon, the voice of God saying to me:
“"What can I give you? Ask.." (I Ki 2:5)
When I was in business, I would probably have wanted to get to the top of my profession – of course for the glory of God!!!.
What do you think you would have replied if God had asked you that question?
Solomon could have asked for riches, but rather he asked for the ability to fulfil his God given calling - to be a fair and just governor in Israel.
Solomon wanted the things of God ahead of any riches and honour for himself.
What was most important for him at that time was to be able to walk God’s ways – in a corrupt world.
So he chose a discerning heart to be able to be a good governor of God’s people.
Jesus said : For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Lk 12:34).
As I thought about this passage I wondered WHY Solomon made such a good and wise choice in response to God’s question: “"What can I give you? Ask." (I Ki 2:5).
I can think of three reasons:
1. His Father’s influence
The first reason was the good influence of David his father.
We read in 1 Kings 2:1-3 of David giving Solomon a solemn charge
“ I am about to go the way of all earth” (David) said ” So be strong, show yourself a man and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and his requirements …” (2 Kings 2: 2-3)
As parents we can have a real influence on our children – for good and for evil. We can’t underestimate how much of an effect we have on our children, even when they have grown up and left home.
Story: Last Thursday, my oldest son Jonny came over to see us when we were on holiday in Switzerland – as he is now living out there.
And his conversation with me reminded me of Mark Twain’s famous dictum about his own father:
"When I was a boy of 14," wrote Mark Twain, "my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around, but when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
It takes time for children to appreciate their parents’concern and advice. David was keen to encourage his son to follow the ways of God.
David’s influence I believe was an important reason in Solomon making such a good choice in response to God’s question: “What can I give you? Ask." (I Ki 2:5).
However, godly parental influence is not enough to ensure Christian success. The company we keep will have an IMPORTANT influence on our Christian commitment.
We read in 1 Kings 11 that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Sadly Solomon’s commitment to the Lord waned BECAUSE of his foreign wives who introduced their foreign gods into Israel. We read
“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God....” (1 Kings 11:4).
No wonder Paul reminds us not to be "unevenly yoked" (2 Cor 6:14) in marriage. If we want to keep our Christian faith going, we need to meet regularly and pray with those who are likeminded (that’s why Paul encourages us to come to CHURCH!).
But godly Christian parents are a good start.
2. Solomon was committed to God’s will for him.
The second reason why Solomon made this wise choice was because he actually decided for himself that he would follow the ways of God.
Someone once said: God only has children, not grandchildren.
We cannot make a commitment to God for anyone else except ourselves. We can pray for our children, we can advise them but it is still THEIR decision whether or not their commit themselves to following God.
My father had a wonderful saying: “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
David wanted his son to follow God’s ways, but Solomon still had to decide to do so for himself.
When we decide to walk in God’s ways, our goals change. We are not out to please ourselves but rather to serve God.
Jesus said: “Do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:31-33).