Summary: What do you want? That is a question life asks of us and the question God asked Solomon in IKings 3:5. Solomon answered wisely. On the other hand, Cain, Balaam, the Rich Young Ruler, Judas, and others in the Bible chose a course that led to destruction.
What Do You Want?
What do you want?
That was the question God brought to Solomon when he became king of Israel. What do you want, Solomon? Tell me what you want; and I will give it to you. Some of you already know the answer Solomon gave to that question. It was an answer that pleased God because Solomon’s answer was more focused on God’s purposes than on Solomon’s personal desires. Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could fulfill his calling. 1 Kings 3:9 records Solomon’s answer, “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?” I like the way Solomon recognized that the people belonged to God, not him. That was unusual for a king in those days: “…this great people of Yours.” The Hebrew word translated understanding is shama`. It’s root meaning is to hear intelligently or obediently.
Real wisdom for any job God gives you is wisdom that proceeds from hearing Him and doing what He says to do. So Solomon’s request for wisdom could be translated, “Therefore give to Your servant a hearing heart to judge Your people….” God was so pleased with Solomon’s request that He also gave Him other things that he didn’t even ask for. Solomon later veered off from His commitment to that; and he experienced some consequences as a result. Solomon’s life illustrates how important it is to stick with our choices; reflect on them; and affirm them from time to time.
I want to talk with you this morning about choosing what we want in life. The good news is that we may very well get what we choose. The bad news is that we may very well get what we choose. In a general sense, life is an opportunity from God to choose what we want. That’s true simply because God has given us free will. Every human being has the right, is authorized by God, to make his or her own choices. Different choices have different consequences; but we get to choose. Life is a choice made up of many, many decisions. Life basically asks the question of us: What do you want?
There is Cain in Genesis 4. He and his brother, Abel, have brought their offerings to the Lord. God is pleased with the offering Abel brought; but He did not have respect for Cain’s offering. Theologians argue over why that was. Some say because Abel’s was a blood sacrifice and Cain’s was not. Others say it was because of the heart attitude of Cain verses Abel. Perhaps there is truth in both arguments. But when Cain realized that God was not pleased with his offering he got angry. God met with him and presented him with a choice. You can let this offense brew and fester in your heart or you can overcome it and walk with Me. Cain decided what he wanted. He wanted the offense more than he wanted the favor of God. That seems like a strange choice; but there are multitudes today who make the same choice Cain made.
Cain felt like God had not done him right. He felt anger against Abel who had done nothing to him. The offense grew into bitterness, the bitterness grew into hatred; and eventually Cain killed his brother Abel. Cain’s behavior was a result of the choice he made. What do you want, Cain? Do you want your bitterness or do you want a relationship with God?
There came a day in Abraham’s life when God asked him the question: What do you want? The question didn’t come in those exact words. But God brought Abraham up to a decision when He said to him in “Get out of your country, From your family, And from your father’s house, To a land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). So the essential question to Abraham was this: Abraham, do you want the comfort of the familiar, the security of your father’s house, or do you want the adventure of living by faith in Me? Do you want to hunker down where you are or do you want to step out with Me to “a land I will show you.” “Well show me the land and I’ll let you know.” No, you’ll have to walk into this land step by step, day by day, and trust My leadership if you go that path. I will tell you this: if you choose to trust and obey, Genesis 12:2. “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” You will be glad you made that choice; but making the choice is something you have to do. What do you want, Abraham? Do you want comfort and security or do you want to follow me into the unknown?