1 Kings 3:5-12
August 20-22, 2011
10th Sunday after Pentecost
Pastor Don Sutton
1 Kings 3:5-12
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 “Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 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?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 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.
The theme of our sermon today is “Lord, Make Me a Wise Guy.” “A wise guy, huh?” you’re thinking. “Being a wise guy may not be good since they often make light of things that should be kept serious. They often speak when they should be quiet………. I get into enough trouble shooting off my mouth without asking God to help me. Besides he won’t help me in that way.” If you’re thinking of a wise guy in this way, no, it’s not the thing to pray for nor is it something with which God will help us.
I’m talking about God helping us to be people who are wise. I’m talking about being wise in the ways of God, being able to make the right decisions in the right way and at the right time. When I refer to guys I’m using the term generically. “Guys is guys and girls is guys.”
Solomon prayed this prayer, “Lord make me a wise guy” when he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices in the high places where his father David had first located the ark of the covenant after rescuing it from the Philistines. It was the number one worship spot at that time. Solomon was one of the sons of King David of Israel. Solomon became king in the mid-900’s before Christ. Let’s consider this petition – “Lord, make me a wise guy,” as we consider God’s offer to Solomon.
While in Gibeon Solomon offered God 1,000 sacrifices. While he probably had help doing this, it took a while with the result that he would have to stay over-night. During the night he had a dream. The Lord appeared to him in that dream. God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Wow! Wouldn’t that be something? That would be like a person with a sweet tooth having the whole candy store given to him or her and being told you can have anything you want. Of course with God his sweets and treats go much further than a candy store. Could you imagine God making an offer like that to you?
Do you realize that he does? Think about Jesus’ invitation and promise to his disciples in John 14, “You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it (14).” What is Jesus doing when he says, “Ask and it will be given to you… Seek and you shall find… Knock and the door will be opened to you (Lk11)?” Consider God’s word in Isaiah concerning his people – “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear (65:24).” There is that assuring passage in 1 John 5, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us (14).”
Do we sometimes find ourselves struggling through life, juggling too many balls in the air, carrying so many burdens, puzzled and perplexed about how to handle some situation or deal with some challenge and we’re floundering, failing and falling because have forgotten the Lord’s invitation to us, “Ask me for anything?” Do we at times ignore his invitations to ask him for things because we doubt his invitation and his promises? Do we not ask because we see our own limitations and make the mistake of transferring them to God in our minds minimizing his power? What are we doing? We are sinning because we are doing things to God we shouldn’t do. We are being stupid because God is offering us himself and we’re taking a pass on the greatest Father, Friend and Helper there is.
This God who tells us to ask, is the God who loves, loves us so much he gave his one and only Son from all eternity… loves us so much that he gave himself as our Savior…loves us so much that he gave us his Spirit to set us apart as his people …loves us so much that he has forgiven us our sins and given us his righteousness …loves us enough that he has made us heirs of eternal life.
Listen to God’s invitation, “Ask me for whatever you want.” Take it seriously.
Then request wisely. Solomon did.
Wouldn’t you think that he would have felt like a kid with a sweet-tooth in a candy store? What were his options? “How about living a long life? The conquest of all my enemies? Wealth?” These were the things that a lot of ancient kings would have considered.
But Solomon, rather than feeling elation, felt intimidation. Since he was only 20 years old, Solomon felt too young to rule. He felt like a little child. He was intimidated by the fact that he was ruling not just any nation but the Lord’s people. Then there was the fact that they were many. What was he to do with such a daunting job?
So feeling so small and incapable, Solomon wisely asked God for a discerning or understanding heart to govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. Solomon was basically asking, “God make me a wise guy so I can be a godly king.”
What you have asked for? Wealth? Beauty? Prestige? To be the next superstar athlete, singer or actor? To be the next whiz kid on Wall Street or owner of a palatial ocean-front Home?
Jesus once asked, “What does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world and forfeits his own soul (Mat 16)?” Jesus also said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things (those things of this world that we need) will be given to you as well (Mat 6).”
Don’t we like Solomon need wisdom? First of all we need to be wise onto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus because apart from him there is no salvation – only damnation. Jesus gives us that wisdom through the gospel and the Holy Spirit who works through it empowering us to believe it. To be wise and stay wise, regularly hear and listen to those words of the Gospel, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16).”
But don’t we also need wisdom in discerning right from wrong or what is just okay and what is really great? Don’t we need wisdom in choosing spouses, being spouses, raising children, dealing with parents, wresting with issues at work or school or in the community? Who of us is so wise that we don’t need to join with Solomon is saying and praying, “Lord, make me a wise guy?”
Isn’t God’s response motivation to do so? “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 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.”
1 Kings goes on to state, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than any other man….32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom (1 Kgs4).”
God not only gave Solomon wisdom of the Kingdom of God the wisdom of God’s word, he also gave him common sense, good perception, discernment, administrative skills and an amazing understanding of the world in which he lived.
In James 1 God promises through the writer, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” Certainly this applies to understanding of God’s word and the ability to apply it to life. This is the main way that God gives godly wisdom. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
But there are those challenges we face, those decisions we have to make, that direction that we are trying to determine. To deal with these we not only need his word but we need his guiding our decisions and choosing our direction. God says, “Come to me. I will give you that wisdom.”
Jeremiah wrote, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps (10).” God does the directing. The Psalmist Asaph said, “You lead your people like a flock.” Paul wrote, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure.”
God gives wisdom to his people who seek it. So by all means pray, “Lord, make me a wise guy.”