His Encouragement #216

Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.

Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?

2 Chronicles 1:10 (ESV)

In 2 Chronicles 1, Solomon is officially the king of Israel. His first public action as king was to go to Gibeon where the tent of meeting stood and offer a thousand burnt offerings. That very night, God visited Solomon in a dream and asked him, “What shall I give you?” Solomon responded that he wanted knowledge and wisdom. God said, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12 ESV).

I have always been confounded by Solomon. He is supposed to be the wisest king, but he constantly behaved the exact opposite. He blatantly, willfully disobeyed God’s commands: he married foreign wives, multiplied horses and chariots from Egypt and then turned around and sold them to warring countries (he was an arms dealer!), alienated the resident aliens by making them forced labor (slavery) and very clearly established an “us vs. them” mentality, sacrificed his children to Molech, and allowed altars and churches to foreign gods to be built in Jerusalem. Solomon was a seriously bad dude. But why? If God granted him actual wisdom and knowledge, why did he fail so badly?

In 1 Chronicles 29, David states to ALL the assembly (the major Israeli leaders of the day), with Solomon in attendance, that Solomon is young and inexperienced. The implication being that Solomon, because of his youth and ignorance, would need help building God’s temple because it was going to be a great undertaking. In his magnanimity, David then proceeds to discuss all the ways he has provided supplies for the temple and laments that the only reason he can’t build the temple himself is because he was a man of action, a man of war.

Imagine being a son of David. Like, really imagine that for a minute. For your whole life you grew up in the shadow of your massive, impressive father, David. I don’t think that was easy for any of his children. Now imagine being the young Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29 listening to his beloved-by-all, war-hero father tell the leaders of the day how young and dumb he is, and how good it is that he (David) is basically making the temple project foolproof by supplying everything that could be needed and then some. I don’t know about you, but I think David’s speech to the entire congregation hurt Solomon’s heart BIG time, and I think this is why Solomon asks God for wisdom and knowledge. If his earthly father saw him as young and dumb, then Solomon would ask his Heavenly Father for the very things that would make him the man he thinks David wished he would be.

It all boils down to a heart issue. I think Solomon’s heart was broken. Solomon came at ruling Israel — David’s Israel — as if it were a problem that could be solved. Perhaps a young Solomon would have put it this way: “If God gives me wisdom and knowledge, then I will be the man my dad would have wanted me to be and I will know how to rule Israel well.” But he never took a moment to consider his heart. You see, the problem with wisdom and knowledge is that if you don’t have the right kind of heart, you won’t really be able to navigate wisdom and knowledge the right way. You’ll end up being a Solomon.

In Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV), God states, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” God doesn’t say with all your mind. David knew this heart fact intimately, but I don’t think Solomon did. Solomon sought God so he, Solomon, would profit. He did not seek God to have a real and lasting respectful relationship with Him. And because of that, Solomon’s wisdom and knowledge turned into something worldly and ugly.

I don’t think that Solomon wanted to be the man he became. I think he genuinely wanted to be a good king and a good man, but somewhere along the way he stopped seeking God, and no amount of wisdom or knowledge could have saved him once he made his choice to ignore God and His commands. This is the goal of today’s post — to remind you (and me) that having a relationship with God is a heart issue, not a mind one. We should obey God because we love and respect Him, not because we’re super smart and it’s the right answer to the problem of life. God is a relational God. Love Him with your whole heart and the wisdom and knowledge will follow.



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