It was a powerful kingdom, and all its enemies had been conquered. What better time to take over the reign of a country. He had no external enemies, and he had the support of all the people. To make it even better, Solomon had the blessing of God. In 1Kings 3:5 the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask whatever you want me to give you.” Wow! What an offer!
What if God gave you this same opportunity? What would you request? Money, health, success, a dream job, popularity, a good marriage, a child? I suppose that any one of these might be a legitimate request that God could grant, but God was especially pleased with Solomon’s request. He asked for wisdom. This request was possibly the wisest thing Solomon did during his whole reign as king. God granted him this request, and he became known as the wisest man who ever lived. People from all over the world came to learn from him and to listen to his teachings. (If you would like to read some of his writings, read Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Song of Solomon. He penned all three.)
In the midst of having everything materially, politically and personally, Solomon's life proves that you can have everything and still not apply wisdom to your own affairs. How could the wisest of all men be so completely blindsided when it came to his own life?
In Deuteronomy 17, prior to Israel having a king, God gave the following four commandments for the future kings of Israel:
1. Do not acquire a great number of horses and none from Egypt.
2. Do not get many wives and none from Egypt or any other foreign nation.
3. Do not accumulate large amounts of gold and silver.
4. Do make for yourself a copy of God’s law to read and follow throughout your reign.
Solomon completely ignored the first three commands, and this probably happened because he ignored the fourth! Does this sound like a Man thing or what? It’s all about the finished product, so why sweat the details? Who needs to read a manual? We can figure it out. The details make us accountable to do what someone else is instructing us to do. Why do it their way? There are many different ways to do things, and if we do it their way then we can't take all the credit.
Credit was something that Solomon no doubt coveted. He did do great things. After all, he built the Temple. But then again, he spent more time building a palace for himself. He made sure that he had the best of everything, including women and horses. He loved the popularity and all the praises of the people.
Guess what I have in common with Solomon. No, I’m not the richest or wisest man in the world, but for too many years I have loved the praises of men. One might not think that this is such a bad thing, but I recently saw it for what it is in God’s sight: Idolatry. I desired the praises of men more than I desired for my friends to know and worship God. I was so concerned with how others might feel toward me that it would keep me from speaking to them about Christ or helping my brothers who were living in or flirting with sin.
Solomon, of all people, wrote Proverbs 27:17 which says “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.” Solomon needed a man who would be there to help guide him and be there to sharpen him when he strayed from following God. I do not know where that man was in Solomon’s life. Perhaps that man was more concerned with the king liking him than with sharing kingdom-saving truths from scripture. The whole nation of Israel might never have been divided and later taken away into captivity if Solomon had a friend who cared enough to show him where he had strayed from God’s instructions.
If God were ever to ask me what I would like to receive from Him, I hope that I would ask for the friend that Solomon never had.
Week 16--April 18-24: Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 16-24; 1 Kings 1-11; Psalm 54-57; Key passages for this devotion: 1 Kings 1-11
Fred enjoys playing golf, throwing on the beach and talking with people about Christ. He and his wife Miriam have attended for 10 years. They have two sons: Brad and Ben and a daughter-in-law Natalie. Fred is currently helping with the Connections Class and enjoys participating in Men's ministry and the Evangelism Team at Crossroads. He is also preparing as a member of the Crossroads Budapest 2010 mission team.