21 King Solomon

Solomon now comes to the throne after the passing of king David. He is young and tender. He has big shoes to fill from his father, David. Would he be capable enough? Would he be faithful?

2 Chronicles 1:1
And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

  • God blessed him and magnified him high above everyone.
  • Solomon was faithful. He walked uprightly. And his life was marked with strict obedience to the commandments of God.
  • God wasn’t just blessing him because He promised it to him or because he loved David. He wasn’t choosing favourites.
  • Solomon had fulfilled the conditions that God had outlined.
  • 1 Chronicles 28:8-9
    8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. 9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
  • If Solomon would be faithful and serve God faithfully with a perfect heart, then God promised that He would be with him and bless. Those conditions were met.
  • So it wasn’t just a arbitrary blessing from God. Solomon was following his father’s counsel to have strict integrity in following God.

2 Chronicles 1:2-3
2 Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers. 3 So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness.

  • Solomon made the worship of God a priority in the nation.
  • He brought all Israel, the captains, the judges, the governors, and everyone to worship God at Gibeon.
  • 2 Chronicles 1:6
    And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.
  • He understood clearly the conditions for the prosperity of the nation. It wasn’t the size of the army, it wasn’t how many leaders he had. It was dependent on whether the presence of God was with him or not.
  • And so Solomon made God a priority. And as a result, God was with him.

However, Solomon was still young. But because of his faithfulness to God and his piety in worshipping God, God would come and pay him a visit that night.

  • 2 Chronicles 1:7
    In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
  • As we would say it, God granted him a wish. What would you wish for if you were in his position? Money and riches? Fame? A stronger empire? The death of your enemies? To be king over all the earth?
  • What a big temptation it would have been for Solomon, especially since he was still young and just starting his kingship.
  • But what did Solomon ask for?
  • 1 Kings 3:7-9
    7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 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?
  • First, he acknowledged that he didn’t know anything. That he was just a little child. He didn’t know how to go out and to come in. He humbled himself before God because in his worship to God he realized the greatness of God and how small he was in comparison.
  • And then he asked for an understanding heart that he would know how to judge the people that God had given to watch over.
  • What did the Bible mean by an understanding heart?
  • 2 Chronicles 1:10
    Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
  • Solomon was asking for wisdom and knowledge to know how to lead the nation and to make the right decisions.

How did God react to such a request?

  • 1 Kings 3:10-12
    10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 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; 12 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.
  • God was happy with his request. He was so pleased that he made Solomon the wisest man that ever lived. No one on earth would come close to the wisdom that he had.
  • But God didn’t stop there.
  • 1 Kings 3:13
    And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
  • Not only did God give wisdom to Solomon, He also blessed with riches and honour as well.
  • It’s hard to measure, but he was most likely the richest king ever in the history of the Israelite nation. But it is his wisdom that he is famous for today, amongst other things.
  • However, God was careful to reiterate the conditions of his prosperity.
  • 1 Kings 3:14
    And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

Often times we want the wisdom of Solomon, we want the fame of Solomon, and we very much want the riches of Solomon. But, many of us don’t have the faithfulness of Solomon that put him in this position in the first place.

  • At this young age, Solomon had put the worship of God first place in his heart, in his life and in the nation. He desired the presence of God in his life more than anything else.
  • So when God gave him a chance to ask for anything that he wanted, he didn’t ask for something selfish. But rather, he asked for something that would be a blessing to the whole nation of Israel.
  • He wanted to be able to discharge his duties faithfully as a king, and so he asked for the gift that would best help him to glorify God.
  • If we are to covet the blessings of God, then let us be careful to fulfill the conditions outlined in His word. The higher the position that we have, we must remember that we will have the wider sphere of influence as well. As a result, that person would need an even greater dependence on God more than those around them. Position does not give holiness of character. It is by honouring God, obeying His commandments and putting him first, last and best in our lives that God can pour out His blessings on our lives and exalt us.
  • God has not changed. He will still be faithful to that which He has promised to us. He will uphold His promises if we do our part faithfully.
  • James 1:5
    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
  • God says to us today, that if we lack wisdom, all we need to do is ask. That’s all that Solomon did. God granted it to him and He has promised that He would do it for us as well.
  • Bust many of us today ask for wisdom for selfish purposes.
    • That we may do well in our exams and other school work.
    • That we can close business deals or do our work well so that we can have a promotion or get rich.
  • Many of us don’t have the good of God at heart but our own ambitions and selfish purposes.

1 Kings 3:15
And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

  • After his dream, Solomon woke up and it wasn’t apparent whether it was just a dream or if it was really God speaking to him and granting him his hearts desire.
  • But soon a situation came up between two women. There was an argument about whose baby was whose. At the end, Solomon’s quick thinking and judgment revealed who the true mother was.
  • And then we read this at the conclusion of that encounter.
  • 1 Kings 3:28
    And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
  • It now became apparent to Solomon that God had granted him his desire. But not only that, the whole nation saw the wisdom of God upon him and they were turned to him, as they were to David before, and were willing to obey him in all things.
  • As a result, he was magnified even more as king and the leader of the nation.

This is what we read of Solomon’s greatness so long as he remained close to God.

  • 1 Kings 4:29-31
    29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
  • He was so famous for his wisdom that even all the nations roundabout heard about it as well.
  • But it wasn’t just wisdom to judge the nation that God gave him. God even blessed him with earthly wisdom and spiritual wisdom.
  • 1 Kings 4:32-33
    32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
  • He spoke and wrote about proverbs.
  • And he even spoke about the natural world.
  • He would be the author of the book of Proverbs in the Bible and also the book of Ecclesiastes, which would make him not only a king but also a prophet.
  • God gave him spiritual wisdom, mental and earthly wisdom about the world, and wisdom of discernment to know how to lead the nation Israel.

Solomon would write much about wisdom in the book of Proverbs.

  • Proverbs 3:13-18
    13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
  • He counsels us to seek for wisdom. To make wisdom our priority.
  • He tells us of the value of wisdom and the blessings of having wisdom in our hearts and lives. He was speaking and writing from firsthand experience.
  • And this wisdom is not the earthly wisdom that can be gained from worldly schools and a good education.

How do we get this wisdom? Yes, we have already seen it, we need to ask it of God. That’s what James told us. But how else can get this wisdom?

  • Proverbs 9:10
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
  • It is through the fear of the Lord that we can get this wisdom. It is found in our walk with God, our reverence of God, and our worship of God. As we acknowledge Him in our lives and as He dwells in our hearts that we can have the wisdom of heaven.

But what does it mean to fear God? How do we know if we are really fearing God or not?

  • Ecclesiastes 12:13
    Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
  • To fear God is to keep His commandments. That is the conditions of prosperity. That was what was outlined to Solomon as well.
    • We should pray to God for wisdom to be a better person in our lives and especially our character.
    • We should pray to ask for that wisdom so that we can worship Him more fully.
    • We should pray for that heavenly wisdom so that we can keep all of His commandments as outlined in the Bible. That we can be faithful to Him fully, 100%!
  • This is the effects of heavenly wisdom. And then all the worldly blessings follow after as well.
  • Proverbs 8:13
    The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

    • The fear of God is seen clearly in how we live our lives. When we fear God, we are not prideful but humble. We don’t have an arrogant spirit but a teachable one.
    • The fear of God is seen in how we talk. It is seen in all our actions.
  • We need that heavenly wisdom.
  • The book of James counsels us to ask for that wisdom so that we can overcome all of Satan’s temptations that he throws our way. And not only that, but that we can rejoice when we are going through this temptations and trials.
    • James 1:2-4
      2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
    • Right after this, James tells us to ask for wisdom.
  • True wisdom is found in not only hearing the word of God but also doing it (James 1:22).
  • True wisdom is found in how we treat those that are more unfortunate than ourselves. Those that are widowed. Those that are fatherless.
  • True wisdom is found in how we treat the poor versus how we treat the rich. Are we partial to those that are rich? Do we treat them differently?

This is the wisdom that heaven acknowledges. This is the wisdom that is precious in the eyes of the Lord.

Let us strive for that wisdom. Let us ask God for that wisdom, to be a better son and daughter of God. That we might have a deeper experience with Him. That we would have a heart full of love for Him and for heavenly things.

If that were the case, maybe God would see fit to pour out all the other things that we don’t ask for as well.

May God give us the right motives in this direction. That He would give us the right priorities. May God change our hearts first above anything else to desire the wisdom of heaven.

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