Good morning. It is Thursday, May 26, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
If I asked you to name this person, what would be your first guess? “He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.”
I immediately thought of David, but I was wrong. The answer is Solomon, David’s son.
I have never thought about this before, but do you suppose his father had an influence on him? His father was musical. His father was a song writer. He saw the way God loved his father.
1 Kings 3:3 says, “…Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David…” NKJV
I believe his father had a huge impact on his life.
Even if you are not familiar with the Bible story of his life, chances are you have heard that he was wise. In fact, he was one-of-a-kind. No one like him before his birth and no one like him after his death; ever! Why? How did he get so smart? Let’s look at the reason.
1 Kings 3:5-12 spells it all out.
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 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?”
The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
Wow! Did notice the wording? God did not just say “What shall I give you?” He began the sentence with: Ask! And so, Solomon asked for wisdom.
And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men…and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.” 1 Kings 4:29-32 NKJV
He was given exceedingly great understanding and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Solomon was wise, but he was also kind and compassionate.
But God did stop there. In 1 Kings 3:13 it says, “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.”
Gift #1 Wisdom, unconditional
Gift #2 riches and honor, unconditional
Gift #3 a long life, conditional
1 Kings 3:14 “So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” NKJV
We know he reigned as king for 40 years, 1 Kings 11:42. We also know he did not always obey God.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream with this man. Was it his wealth and riches that turned him away from God? Was it his authority over others that turned him away from God? No. It appears to have been the company he kept.
Solomon had many, many wives! He went against the will of God. God allowed him the freedom of choice. But that choice would inevitably be his downfall. 1 Kings 11:3 “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.” By now he is an old man, and it was his wives that turned his heart away from the true God and to other gods. It was his wives that caused his heart to not be loyal to the Lord his God. 1 Kings 11:5 tells us that he went after the goddess of the Sidonians, and others.
“Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord and did not fully follow the Lord…” 1 Kings 11:6 NKJV
And judgement was coming.
“Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.” 1 Kings 11:10-12 NKJV
Do you see the storyline here? God knows the beginning from the end. He knew what Solomon would do as an old man and yet He blessed him and honored his prayer from years prior. God even held off the punishment due to his father’s sake. Because of David, God did not take the kingdom from Solomon. God is so good to us!!
So, what can we take from the story of this wise king?
1) God wants us to ask!
2) God’s blessings are conditional. “if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments…”
If God came to you in a dream and said “Ask! What shall I give you?” what would your answer be? Ask.
“he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” 1 Kings 4:33-34 NKJV