Solomon: Faith Inspires
It's not so much how you start, but how you finish that really matters! Be honest…you HAVE thought, “What if I could have ANYthing I wished for? What would I request if that proverbial "genie" suddenly appeared before me and granted me one wish?” (Hint: Don’t wish for a million bucks—they don’t do nice things to lawns!)
Regrettably, I don’t think I would have asked as wisely as our man Solomon. I think I would have been far more self-centered, far more comfort motivated, far more short-sighted. “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil.” Wisdom to lead well. In the opportune moment of his young life (20 years old), the new king requested what would be of greatest blessing to those he would shepherd. Wisdom to lead!
When his moment came and he did not squander it on himself, he discovered he served a generous God! “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself…I have done according to your words. I have given you a wise and discerning heart…and I have ALSO given you what you did not ask, both riches and honor…” 1 Kings 3:11-13
The first 20 years of his leadership was marked by incredible building programs and military enhancements. God got a new place to meet with His people. The king’s bride got a brand new, custom-designed house, and the army welcomed 14,000 imported chariots and broke for use 1000’s of specially selected and imported steeds. Suddenly foreign rulers were taking notice. Gold and other extravagant gifts were flowing into his hands. The Queen of Sheba made a long and costly journey just to confirm the truthfulness of all the rumors she had been hearing. The world wanted to be “friends” with Solomon. World leaders wanted to buy his favor. They showered him with praise and gifts—and many gave him their daughters as brides. The world beat a path to his door to glean just a bit of his incredible insight on all matters of life. He put into print his extraordinary insights on life. 3,000 pithy statements found expression. 1,005 songs discovered their tune. He compiled a manual on “how a young man OUGHT to live” and a second published work on “how a young man ought NOT to live” as well as his popular, “How To Be Happy Though Married.” (All three works remain at the top of the ‘best-sellers’ list even today!)
But the new started to wear thin. Life with luxury began to lose its shine. Boredom became his daily companion. And over time, the erosion of his soul led to the destruction of his life. The one who had so passionately declared, “O Lord, the God of Israel, there is NO God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath,” found his autumn season of life a regrettable departure from the blessed days of his early years. The same one who penned, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” is reported to have fallen away. “It came about when Solomon was old, his wives (yes, plural) turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God” 1 Kings 11:4
I’m betting that, should Solomon have it to live all over again, his singular wish would be that the gift of God’s wisdom would be more than memorable proverbs on a printed page but be the practical pattern and passion of his life. It's not so much how you start, but how you finish that really matters!
Now THAT is the gift of wisdom!
See you Sunday, Church!