1 Kings 3:3–4:34
Isn’t it wonderful to read those opening words, “And Solomon loved the LORD…”
That’s the simple key to life, it’s the question of life, “Do I love the LORD?” That’s what Jesus asked Peter about, for that’s what it’s all about, do I truly love God? (John 14:21; 21:15-17)
If only Solomon would have stayed put with that tender heart. If only we would measure all of life with that simple common question, asking ourselves in all honesty…from the heart, do I really love the LORD?
As for King Solomon, he started off well, walking in the statutes of his father David; he sacrificed and burned incense in the “high places” but only to the LORD. He went to Gibeon to genuinely seek God, manifested in the fact that he offered up 1,000 sacrifices. I would say that Solomon REALLY wanted to hear God’s voice, His guidance, to get His help – and God did not let him down. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. And just as a quick side-note, God’s promise to all of us is that we’ll find Him, IF we seek Him, with ALL of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13).
In the dream, God spoke to Solomon, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon already had a bit of wisdom, but he now asks for more, for a double-dose, for all the wisdom possible and necessary to take care of God’s people. When Solomon asked for an “understanding heart,” he literally asked for a “hearing heart.” We read his words in:
1 Kings 3:9 (NKJV) “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Solomon’s motivation was the nation, the congregation.
God was pleased with Solomon’s request and vowed to grant it, and as a bonus, because Solomon didn’t ask for the fringe benefits of life, God gave it to him anyways. He only asked that Solomon walk in His ways – and IF he did, the Lord would lengthen them.
This wasn’t some distant dialogue that would never amount to making any difference to anyone else. This would affect the lives of all the people. Which is why we have an account of two women claiming the same child. Solomon’s wisdom was demonstrated in determining the true mother. I can’t think of many things more important – than “family matters.” If God grants us wisdom, something He promises to do if we pray in faith (James 1:5-6), it will make a huge difference in many lives.
Solomon’s officials are named, as well as his 12 governors who provided food for him and his household, one governor each month. When we look at a map we see the extent of Solomon’s kingdom, it’s the largest Israel ever was, it was a reign of peace, where every family had his fig tree, vine, and peace all around (1 Kings 4:25).
We read something wonderful about Solomon:
1 Kings 4:29 (NKJV) “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore.”
May He do the same for us.
The church was growing, and with their current infrastructure they weren’t able to meet the practical needs of the people, in this case the Hellenistic widows.
The enemy could easily have used this to weaken the church.
One way the church would have been weakened is if the pastor-teachers neglected the ministry of the Word and prayer in order to serve tables. Another way the church would have been weakened is if the enemy used this to divide the church, because the Hellenists were complaining against the Hebrews.
By God’s grace, they were able to appoint seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. They selected Greek Speaking men (Hellenists) which was a wise move in light of the recent events. The Apostles prayed for them, laid hands on them, and as a result, the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples “multiplied greatly.”
Pastor Chuck said this, “In ministry, the top priority is teaching the Word of God. The fact that the Apostles delegated the job to ‘serve tables’ to the deacons doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. It simply couldn’t be the top priority of the Apostles. Men who are called to teach the Word of God need time to wait upon Him in prayer and to study His Word.”
What an amazing work God did through Steven! He wasn’t a pastor or high-ranking official in the church, but he was full of faith and power; he did great wonders and spoke with indisputable wisdom – so the enemy came after him.
D. L. Moody said, “They accused Stephen of being unorthodox in his beliefs (Acts 6:13); but yesterday’s orthodoxy had become today’s heresy, and the council was behind the times! The Law had been nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), and the veil of the temple had been torn in two. Within a few years, both the city and the temple would be gone, and Hosea 3:4 would be fulfilled. Are you following man’s tradition or God’s truth?”
Scholars are not sure on the exact background to this Psalm. Some take it at face value and see it as a time when Israel was brought back from captivity, while others say it was when the LORD defeated the Assyrian army which had surrounded Jerusalem.
Whatever the occasion was, it was like a dream come true for the people. Have you ever experienced anything like this? When God moves and blesses in such a mighty way that it feels like you’re dreaming?
We see it, others see it, and even say it, “The LORD has done great things for them. The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.”
The Psalmist prays for God to move again. It may have even been a time of tears (Psalm 126:5). Since this was a song of ascents, (they would sing this Psalm on their way to Jerusalem) the songwriter knew, we frequently go through hard times. It’s just a reality of life because we live in a broken world. Has it been hard for you lately? Have you been sowing in tears? Don’t lose heart my friend, cling to this promise:
Psalm 126:5 (NKJV) “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
God is aware of every tear (Psalm 56:8), He has a purpose for every pain, and a harvest for every hurt.
V. 26 – John Knox said, “No better friend drudgery has than appetite; hunger drives a man to his task.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NKJV) “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
V. 27 – To dig up evil can refer to a person digging up the past, things that God has “forgotten,” in order create trouble today, for a mud-slinging attack. At its core, however, it refers to someone working hard to do an evil work and speak evil words (digging is hard work).
Proverbs 16:27 (NLT) “Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.