Let us pray: Lord, what a privilege it is to be able to talk directly to You and to know that You’ll listen and You’ll answer! Today, as we think about how much You love us, and how much You have blest us, one more prayer comes to mind. That is, we ask You to give each of us wisdom in dealing with others and patience is guiding them into Your paths of holiness. Yes, give us a Christ-like heart. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO HEARS AND ANSWERS ALL OUR PRAYERS!
TEXT: I Kings 3: 5-12
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
How many prayers have you offered up to God this past week? And how many of them were all about you and your needs/wants/desires? The fact is: for most of us our prayer life is very subjective. It’s all about us. And it’s seldom about others. I suppose the reason for that is two-fold. One, we’re ego-driven people who are thus self-centered. Two, we seldom think about how other people are praying for us, so we think: “Why should I spend my energy praying for them?” But, both views are basically unchristian, aren’t they? For Jesus didn’t act that way. And if He had, who of us would be saved to bask in His blessings?
You know that physical prayers that ask for money, wealth, fame, power, good health and the like are all subject to: “Thy will be done.” That is, they are conditional on God’s more comprehensive understanding of our situation in life. Whereas spiritual prayers which ask for things that God has already promised: forgiveness, joy, and the fruits of the Spirit are unconditional prayers. Or, God has to grant them because He has already promised such gifts to us. Seldom do we think about the fact that we can actually bend God’s will to our own. But we can! We can if and when we pray for gifts that would further His kingdom and build up hurting souls—because that is His will! So, today, I encourage all of you to:
BE IRRESISTIBLE TO GOD IN YOUR PRAYERS!
King David had died and before his death he kept his promise to his wife, Bathsheba. He appointed their son, Solomon, to rule after his death. This turn of events is astounding viewed against the culture of the time and it is also a wonderful example of God’s grace. Recall that David had more than one wife and many children. Usually the oldest son succeeded his father to the throne. If that had occurred here, Solomon would have been left outside in the cold. For he has not the oldest. Secondly, God had punished David and Bathsheba for their adultery by taking the life of their first child. But when another child is born, Solomon, God blesses his life and blesses them in the process. It goes to prove that God is gracious, merciful, and never holds a grudge against those who humbly repent.
When David became very old, the chickens of his past sins came home to roost. His gorgeous, handsome, powerful son, Absalom, led a rebellion to usurp his father, but was cut down. So much for the sin of taking more than one wife and the dysfunctional children that usually result. Later, another son of another mother, Adonijah, pridefully set himself up as king in place of his aged father by taking his father’s mistress for his own and rallying the people around him. Against this backdrop of political intrigue and shamefulness, David appoints Solomon to be the leader of God’s people. He appoints a young man, probably age 20, to rule.
After David dies, a political power struggle went one. It could have led to an open civil war. Against this backdrop, Solomon doesn’t act like the average know-it-all teenager. He doesn’t let power corrupt him or go his head. He doesn’t misuse his God-given office for personal aggrandizement. No, instead he shows his trust in God and his faith-wrought humility. In a dream God comes to him and says: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Can you imagine the average mall rat, or some skateboarding teen, asking for such wisdom? Let’s face it, most teens are totally selfish and think only of themselves, never of others. They need to learn about life the hard way in order to develop any sense of self-giving love and compassion. But this teen was different. Solomon was different because he had the love of Christ in his heart. He was different because he knew that the Messiah would come to save his soul. He was different because he knew that God would humble Himself on a cross to serve sinners and that as His people we must follow in His footsteps. Yes, in this prayer Solomon wasn’t only adult-like, he was Christ-like.
Right here I’m reminded to the ego-driven, headstrong nature of youth. My own youthful stupidity comes to mind which was captured so well in A.E. Houseman’s poem: “When I was one and twenty I heard a wise man say: give crowns and pounds and guineas, but not your heart away, give pearls away and rubies, but keep your fancy free. But I was one and twenty, no use to talk to me. When I was two and twenty, I heard him say again, The heart out of the bosom is never given in vain, it is paid with sighs a-plenty, and sold for endless rue. And I am two and twenty, and o, ‘tis true, ‘tis true!”
Yes, we humans seem to learn the important lessons of life only via the school of hard knocks. I have. You have. And what regrets we live with as a result? And yet, here in this little text, God through Solomon shows us a better way! A blest way. A Christ-like way.
“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for a long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
This prayer of Solomon was irresistible to God! God loved this prayer because it placed God’s work first on Solomon’s agenda and also helped his fellow hurting humans. It upheld both the first and second table of God’s Law encapsulate by Christ: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
So, when you pray for others first; when you ask God for patience and wisdom in helping others; when you thereby show the goodness and greatness of His love—God has to answer in the affirmative! He wants to answer in the affirmative! And answer He does. For such a prayer is simply a variation of: “Thy will be done” isn’t it?
By placing others first, Solomon was blest beyond measure. You will be, too. And he was also given countless other blessings: wealth, power, fame, and fortune. When it comes to those gifts, we leave that up to God. But, we do know that a humble heart which reaches out in humility will reap what it sows. To God alone be the glory! Amen