I'm blessed with a great Bible study leader whose life-group he facilitates on Sunday morning. More than I'm confident he realizes, David C. jars my thinking loose from idle inaction stuck for Lord only knows how long. Today's text on Solomon served us all well.
And, while the following is not what we spoke about together, the text we used got me to thinking. Or, jarred me loose, if you will, to ponder the text a wee bit more.
Consider: "In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee" (1 Kings 3:5). The circumstances we know well. Solomon served as heir to Israel's throne. It's God's anointed but admittedly imperfect human vessel, we're considering (cp. vss. 1-3; 11:1-8).
Nonetheless, not even a blink between God's request and Solomon's response we note: "And Solomon said...Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge...[and] discern... ." (vss.6, 9). Ponder the absence of such a lapse. Does this not demonstrate Solomon's inherent weakness? Is this not a mere knee-jerk reaction all of us at times commit?
I mean, come on: I know what I'd do with a blank check from God's bank. Take my dear, sweet time in answering, that's what.. No fumbling for me. When genie offers me a wish from the magic lamp, I'll wish for three more wishes!
That is the problem, of course, one of many significant differences between me and Solomon. Solomon already knew what most needed. But I...I...I must discern what most wanted! The difference between the two? For one thing, Solomon's formula was based on subtraction, mine on addition. And the consequent is spiritually catastrophic, with my brand of idolatry edging Solomon's out clearly by a 4 to 1 margin.
A blank check issued in God's name should have been a temptable moment for Solomon, a time for his depravity to expose its deeply embedded roots. It was not. But it would be for me.
False piety aside, whatever potatoes I envision growing in my garden, only the foulest dishonesty would prohibit my confessing weeds in my vision as well. One such weed--or, reverting back to the original image--one such wrinkle is an unspoken discontent pertaining to the personal circumstances of my own life.
Unlike Solomon, my wandering eyes would settle for nothing less than a hefty stash of hard cash, plus an added victory over all my socially-driven conflicts. What a life! Thank you, Jesus! Sweet...
Such a tainted scenario hardly squares with Solomon's trusting supplication, a supplication hunkered down on the needs of others rather than be suckered in to selfish wants: "Give therefore...to judge thy people... ."
Now, here is the truth of it: Solomon asked horizontally and received vertically. God responded: "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself...Behold, I have done...lo, I have given..." (vv. 11-12). Ah, but wait! Silence, for God again speaks: "And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour... ." (v.13).
Discontent is an unholy wrinkle God's hot, holy iron must press out of my life. It stings. It burns. It's hellish at first. Then, blessings...showers of them.
With that, I am...