Solomon says, part one

I know I sometimes repeat myself on this blog, and I’m certain I’ve probably said this before, but I’m going to say it again. If you believe that there’s nothing of value in the Old Testament of the Bible, you’re very very mistaken. I’ve heard people say before that since Jesus came the Old Testament is no longer valid, no longer necessary, and contains nothing we need as modern believers. And before I point my finger too much, I’ll freely admit that once upon a time I wasn’t a fan of the Old Testament. Why did I need to know about some crusty old kings of Israel who fought battles? The Jesus stuff in the New Testament, I never had an issue understanding the importance of all of that. But I basically spent a good portion of my life avoiding the Old Testament, certain that there was nothing there that applied to my life as a modern believer.

Well friends, if you look back at the last six months of my life on this blog, you’ll see that there’s a ton of stuff in the Old Testament that’s still relevant today. I’ve found an endless amount of inspiration and instruction that not only mattered thousands of years ago to crusty old kings, but it matters today to you and me and everyone. Limiting the ability of the Old Testament to impact your modern life seems to me to be the same thing as limiting God. This Bible is His word, it’s His gift to us. Turning up yout nose at half of His book and assuming that it’s just not needed in the modern world, forgive me for being blunt, but it’s a foolish thing to do. And I say that without judgment, because I was such a fool.

So before I jump into my actual blog post today, let me just implore you, don’t limit God. Don’t limit His ability to speak to you through His word, both Old and New testaments. I love the red text of Jesus’ words as much as anyone, but there’s plenty more text in this great book beyond the red stuff. Explore it all, and allow God to speak to you through every page of the Bible.

Alright, now that my little rant is over, I want to jump into the actual subject of today’s blog. In 1 Kings, we’re at a point where David is at the end of his life. After some really interesting political intrigue, David’s son Solomon is appointed as the next king of Israel. As he begins his reign, Solomon has an incredible dream in which he encounters God. It’s a bit long, but I want you to check this whole thing out for yourself.

1 Kings 3:5-9 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

I love this. So here’s Solomon, a young king, and even though he’s having a dream he seems to understand that this isn’t just a dream, it’s actually a conversation with God (something that gets verified in the coming verses). God’s here in the dream, and He pulls out the prayer checkbook and He grabs a pen, and He tells Solomon, “tell me what to give you.” This is it, my friends, the golden ticket! Solomon came face to face not just with any blank check, but the blank check of God Almighty!

I want to pause for a minute and imagine some of the things people might ask for at this point. Solomon’s a God fearing guy, he’s had David as a role model of what a king and what a man who loves the Lord should be like. So I think it’s safe to say that he was always going to ask for something good. But man, the list of what he could’ve asked for is vast! He could’ve asked for money. Money itself isn’t evil, so maybe with an honest good intention Solomon could’ve asked for an infinite amount of gold so he could use it to bless his people and do good with it and help others. He could’ve asked for immortality, again, with a good intention, wanting to rule over Israel forever and give them a long reigning king they could count on. He could’ve asked for the destruction of all the enemies of Israel, assuring that his kingdom would be at peace.

And as we wonder what other things Solomon might’ve asked for, I think we have to also ask ourselves the question. God appears, and says to us what He said to Solomon. “Ask what I shall give you.” Is it weird that imagining that actually makes me a little fearful? Because I know myself, I know my weaknesses. Would I have the character to squash down all of my worldly desires and make a smart ask like Solomon did? Because honestly, my first thought went to money. And if I asked for money, no matter how pure my intentions might be at the time, I can only imagine what trillions of dollars does to someone, the way it makes them feel untouchable. Could I stand up to this test from God, to this question as to what it is that I want from Him? Because as much of a crazy blessing as it is, I also really feel like it’s a bit of a test of character as well.

So I ask you this today. What are you asking God for? What are you praying for? Probably the biggest spiritual deficit in my life over the past year has been my prayer life. These days it’s an area I’ve really been focusing on because I simply wasn’t praying enough and when I prayed I don’t think I was always focusing on the best things. The truth is, I’m not a prayer master, but man, I long to be one. I’m actively working on becoming one. Because every time I pray, I want to approach God with pure intentions, to ask of Him things that are good and pleasing to Him. I want the wisdom of Solomon, to know that of the endless number of things I could bring before God in prayer, some are better for me than others. I want to pray in agreement with the will of God, not in agreement with the will of my flesh. I want to pray for His will to come to pass in my life, not my own. I want to pray for my day to go how He wants it to go, not how I want it to go.

On Thursday I’m going to wrap up this look at Solomon by continuing in 1 Kings chapter 3 and seeing what God thought of Solomon’s request.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I pray that you make us prayer masters.  Awaken a deep desire in your people for prayer.  Let us come to realize how vital it is, how enriching and fulfilling and refreshing it is just to come before you in prayer, to just sit and talk with you.  What other king makes himself so open to his subjects?  We’ve got a direct line to the God of all creation, and I ask that you give us the wisdom to start using it.  I thank you for prayer, Lord.  You could’ve set up any form of communication between us and you that you wanted, but you chose prayer.  When I close my eyes and I come before you in prayer, I feel your presence even before I say a word.  It’s like that switch gets flipped and suddenly I’m there with you, warmed by the heat of your love, bathed in the beauty of your goodness.  How is that not something we’re all pursuing daily?  Lord, I repent for my prayer failures of the past, for days when I didn’t pray, or for the flippant thirty second prayers I’d spout off as I fell asleep.  I ask that you would give others a heart of repentance over it, too, because we haven’t treated the gift of prayer with the proper respect.  I know I haven’t.  But I repent of that old way, the old me, and I walk into a new era of prayer in my life.  And I thank you for it, because it truly is a beautiful gift.  What a love you share with us, the opportunity to bring our heart before you and our needs before you and our praise and our thanksgiving before you.  And I do praise you, Lord, because there is none like you.  You are the mighty one, the loving one, and you are my king and my god forever.  Give your people a heart for prayer, Lord, please awaken a deep thirst for prayer within your people.  Let this be a great era of prayer, and let it lead to an even greater outpouring of your love and majesty upon this world.  I thank you so much for it, I thank you so much for all that you are and all that you do.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

You know friends, it’s a beautiful week this week.  I just feel the Lord so strongly upon this week and I hope that you do too, because it’s such a comforting feeling.  I love you guys, and I’d love to lift you up in prayer.  If any of you have any prayer requests please feel free to reach out to me via comments here, facebook messages, email, or however. God loves us so much! Isn’t that an incredible thing?

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