I Kings 3:5, 9-12 "In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee… Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."
The past month or so, I have been studying this topic of wisdom, as well as been teaching through it with our Bible Class. Recently, I came across this passage, and have spent quite some time pondering this story. In this brief devotion, I invite you to come along and see what the Lord revealed to me through this passage.
We have all done it, haven’t we? If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? If you could travel to any three places in the world, where would they be? We joke and fantasize over these types of questions, but in our passage, we find a man who was given the rare opportunity of having whatever he requested.
Before we open this up completely, here is a thought I’d like for us to consider: I believe God knew what Solomon was going to choose before He even asked him. It seems that God only asked him because He wanted to reveal the deep and sincere desire of Solomon’s heart. Once again, we return to the question: if God gave us the opportunity to have WHATEVER we wanted, what would it be? Let’s put aside our “halo” for the moment and be honest with ourselves. Would it be something spiritual? Have you ever really thought about what your heart’s desire truly is? I am convinced there are many “good” desires in the hearts of Christians and individuals, but do we examine them on the grounds of, “Is this desire pleasing to the Lord?”
In this story, three pitfalls are revealed, three common desires within the hearts of men that can become a hindrance to what God really wants us to desire in life. Let’s look at these pitfalls briefly.
“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies…”
I acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with being a good steward of the body God has given to us. The point is not that if you want to live long you are wrong, but I believe it is how we view this life, and our eternal life to follow. Our desire for long life might be a pitfall in that it is a revealer that we are consumed with this life and not the next. We are living for the temporal and not the eternal. If we are not faithfully serving the Lord, and striving to lay up treasures in heaven, it can be very easy to become consumed with this life. I am not saying we should desire to die, but there should be a desire in each Christian’s heart to stand before the Lord someday knowing we did everything we could to live for Him and His cause. Are we living for this life or for the next?
If you live in America and you want to be rich, it really isn’t that hard. All it takes is that you are consumed with being rich. “If there is a will, there is a way.” And what is the cost of that? Riches in the end will consume you.
Is it not interesting how God gives riches to His children that do not seek them nor are consumed with them? The Christian that desires to be the “millionaire of the church” through God’s blessing will probably never get there, and the ones that do not have that desire are more likely to be the ones that God blesses with riches. So, this will make a lot of sense: if you want to be rich through God’s blessing, don’t want to be rich in general.
I am not suggesting that we should live to be poor; I have always been taught to be a good steward of every resource God gives to me. Money is just another resource. It is a tool that God gives us to use for Him and His work. My dad always would say, “The reward for being responsible is more responsibility.” God gives more resources to the steward who uses them wisely and responsibly.
I read an interesting quote somewhere and the principle of the quote was this: Prosperity does not ruin men; it reveals who they really are.
I Timothy 6:9 “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Solomon could have asked for the life of his enemies, but he chose what was pleasing to the Lord instead. We can all think of something or maybe even someone that we wish could be removed from our lives, our past, or memory. For something, maybe it’s a hardship or trial that we are going through. For someone, maybe it’s a past hurt that they caused you.
Those born from 1900-1930 have often been labeled as the “Greatest Generation.” These people were labeled great not because of riches, not because of prosperity, but because of what they overcame and what they sacrificed.
As Christians, we must acknowledge that life will be difficult at times, we will have to make sacrifices, and we will face wrongdoing by others. Our desire should not be that the Lord remove us from these to a life of ease, because according to the passage, this is not what pleases the Lord. We find that God will often allow hardships to refine us and conform us into His image.
Yes, this is heavily convicting for Christians on every level, but may we examine the sincere desires of our heart. What do we really want? That which pleases the Lord, or that which pleases our flesh?
Determine to not waste your vacation by returning stronger than ever.
Nothing can be more satisfying than seeing someone trust Christ as their personal Saviour and take steps towards spiritual growth!