A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 13; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 85 through 91
Some of you might be old enough to remember getting the Sears and Roebuck catalog about this time of year growing up. We would eagerly await its arrival and mom and dad would try to point us to the clothing sections to get us to point out what we wanted for Christmas, our fingers would always turn to those dozens of pages in the back with all the toys. Board games, cowboy outfits and toy guns, bicycles and skateboards (the simple ones with metal roller skate wheels on the bottom of a flat board, back then. Pogo sticks. Basketballs and footballs. Or maybe it was the dolls and dollhouses, baby carriages and things the girls like to browse through. I’m not sure what those pages held because I always skipped over them to get to the adventure stuff.
We would circle what we wanted and earmark the pages hoping someone would get the hint of what we really wanted. Most of the time, it wasn’t practical and was too expensive, but it was fun to dream. We would spend hours looking through those catalogs every year. Kids today miss out a lot by not having catalogs. Yeah, they can find anything they want on the Internet, but it’s just not the same. You lose that tactile experience of flipping through the pages, circling that long awaited treasure, and leaving the breadcrumb trail for mom and dad to discover your deepest desire in the pages of the giant Sears book.
David’s son, Solomon didn’t have a Sears and Roebuck catalog, but not long after his coronation, God came to him in a dream and asked him what he wanted most of all. Just name it and it’s yours. If you were a young man in the prime of life and just given the keys to the kingdom, literally, what would you ask for? I bet most of us would at least ask for the bills to be paid off. Maybe a new car or a better job. Money would top most people’s most wanted list.
But Solomon didn’t ask for a big house or more friends or a better job or a lot of money. He didn’t ask for the things most of us would ask for if given a blank check to have anything we wanted. Solomon said these words: “Lord my God, you have now made me king. You have put me in the place of my father David. But I’m only a little child. I don’t know how to carry out my duties. I’m here among the people you have chosen. They are a great nation. They are more than anyone can count. So give me a heart that understands. Then I can rule over your people. I can tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Who can possibly rule over this great nation of yours?”
The Bible says, “God was pleased that Solomon had asked for that. So God said to him, ‘You have not asked to live for a long time. You have not asked to be wealthy. You have not even asked to have your enemies killed. Instead, you have asked for understanding. You want to do what is right and fair when you judge people. Because that is what you have asked for, I will give it to you. I will give you a wise and understanding heart. So here is what will be true of you. There has never been anyone like you. And there never will be.
“And that is not all. I will give you what you have not asked for. I will give you riches and honor. As long as you live, no other king will be as great as you are. Live the way I want you to. Obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did. Then I will let you live for a long time.”
Did God grant Solomon’s request? You bet. We have a sampling of his one line tools for successful living in the proverbs attributed to him. If we would live by those one-liners he gave us, we wouldn’t have near the trouble we cause ourselves in life. Our problem is we just don’t pay attention to all those good rules Solomon gives us. Simple things like: “Riches that are gained by sinning aren’t worth anything. But doing what is right saves you from death.” or “Hands that don’t want to work make you poor. But hands that work hard bring wealth to you.” or “A wise heart accepts commands. But foolish cattering destroys you.” Or one we really need to hear today, “Hate stirs up fights. But love erases all sins by forgiving them.”
No one was wiser than Solomon. Kings, queens, and leaders from all over the world came to sit at his feet and listen to him and were astounded by his wisdom. They showered him with tremendous gifts from their kingdoms to honor him and the wisdom he shared with them as they came to visit. Solomon became renowned throughout history for his understanding and the magnificence of his kingdom. Why did he receive all of this? Because he humbly asked for something greater than himself. He genuinely pleaded for a gift that would benefit others more than it would him. He asked for the wisdom to rule. As one of David’s youngest sons in a family filled with jealousy, turmoil, and internal rebellion to determine who would sit on the throne, Solomon would need all the wisdom he could get to keep the kingdom intact.
Solomon knew what was important. Unfortunately, he didn’t keep the commandments as he promised he would. He soon started marrying the daughters of some of those visiting kings to form treaties with neighboring kingdoms. God’s laws said don’t marry outsiders so they wouldn’t tempt the Israelites to worship their foreign gods. Solomon didn’t pay attention and it wasn’t long before those 1,000 wives brought their idols into the palace and the kingdom started following their example. If only…
Like many of those unlikely characters in the Bible, God still used Solomon. He also teaches us a thing or two by letting us see the good, the bad, and the ugly based on the decisions we make. Solomon didn’t live by his own proverbs later in life and watched his kingdom begin to crumble from the inside because the people in the kingdom failed to follow God the same way he failed to follow God. He let power and fame and riches and wealth become more important to him than living by the precepts his father David taught him.
Jesus reminds us of some of those same philosophies 1000 years later when he told those around him on the hillside during the Sermon on the Mount. “Put away riches for yourself in heaven. There, moths and rust do not destroy them. There, thieves do not break in a d steal them. Your heart will be where your riches are.” If we could grab hold of what Solomon and Jesus told us, really believe it, and live it from day to day, we would not buy into the lies the world tells us and live so much better off than we do in trying to grab that golden ring the world says we need.
Solomon was really smart man. Jesus was smarter. We can trust the pearls of wisdom they left behind for us. Just believe them and live them and you’ll be amazed at how much better you days go. You’ll be shocked at how the stress falls away and days seem to be filled with more joy and happiness. You see it’s not things that bring happiness. It’s the relationship with God and with people that make the difference in whether life is enjoyable or not. Give the ancient king’s words of wisdom a try. You’ll like them.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.