1 Kings 3:3-15
Stephen Caswell © 2001
In January 1970, Max Born died.
A close friend of Albert Einstein and a colleague of Max Planck and Otto Hahn, the nuclear physicists, he was one of the great minds of the twentieth century.
In an interview on German television before his death, Born commented: /I’d be happier if we had scientists with less brains and more wisdom./
Today there is a great emphasis on financial security.
Experts advise us to invest in shares, property or term deposits in the bank.
Shopping catalogues advertise all the things that we can't live with out.
Health experts tell us what to eat and how to exercise if we want a long happy life.
Others tell us that we need a university degree.
There are so many voices calling out to us.
/Tonight if I said that you could choose anything in the world, what would you choose?/ /Would you choose wealth, fame, good looks, health, popularity, possessions, long life or happiness?/
/Or would you choose something else like wisdom?
/God gave Solomon such a choice after he became king.
Tonight I want to look at his response.
We will see three things: */The Offerings, Solomon's Request /*and*/ God's Reply./*
*1 Kings 3:3-4* /And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
Solomon offered two kinds of sacrifices to God, a righteous life and burnt offerings.
His actions were motivated by his love for the Lord.
Solomon's desire was to please God.
He wanted to have a close relationship with God like his father David did.
Solomon didn't just play Church on Sunday, he walked in the statutes of his father David.
God expects us to live the same way.
He doesn't want us just on Sunday, God wants us for the whole week.
He asks us to be His disciples, followers of Jesus Christ.
*Romans 12:1* /I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service./
Solomon also offered sacrifices at the high places.
Because the temple hadn't been built yet.
Verse 4 tells us that Solomon offered burnt offerings on the altar.
A burnt offering was totally consumed by fire.
This was an offering to atone for sin.
God commanded Israel to offer these sacrifices to atone for their sin.
Even though Solomon walked according to God's Law, there were times when he failed and needed God's forgiveness.
Burnt offerings were sacrificed for this purpose.
Solomon offered one thousand burnt offerings, not because he was particularly wicked, but because he was expressing his complete dedication to God.
We too need to follow this principle of obedience to God and confession of sin.
*1 John 1:6-7* /If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
*1 Kings 3:5* /At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask!
What shall I give you?/
Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings to God showing his complete devotion.
Then he found out that you can't out give God.
David learned the same lesson.
David asked to build a house for God.
Then God promised to build him a house and establish a royal dynasty for him.
God responded to Solomon's devotion with an offer of His own.
The Lord appeared to him in a dream that night and told him to ask for whatever he wanted.
This was a very generous offer.
There doesn't seem to be any strings attached.
God gave Solomon a blank cheque and told him to fill in the details.
How gracious God was to Solomon.
Yet God commands us /to ask and it will be given to us, to seek and we will find and to knock and it will be opened to us./
Solomon offered his life to God by walking in obedience to God's Word.
He also dealt with his sin by offering sacrifices.
As a result the Lord made a generous offer to Solomon.
God gives the best gifts to those who are devoted to Him.
God loves to give blessings to His children but often our sin keeps Him from doing this.
/Are you living for the Lord or yourself?
Are you obeying God's Word and confessing your sin when you fail?/ /Are you living the kind of a life that God can bless?/
Solomon's responded to God's offer with a beautiful prayer.
His prayer contains/ thanksgiving, humility /and/ thoughtfulness./
*1 Kings 3:6* /And Solomon said: You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day./
Solomon began by thanking the Lord for showing mercy unto his father David.
Solomon knew very well that God had blessed his father.
He knew that the Lord had enabled him to walk uprightly.
So Solomon thanked God for His mercy and kindness to their family.
Now the Lord had continued the same mercy to Solomon.
God had promised David that one of his sons would succeed him as king.
The Lord had kept His promise.
Solomon acknowledged God's grace in allowing himself to be king.
We can learn a lot from Solomon's prayer.
When we come before the throne of grace let us first thank God for His mercy and goodness to us, then let us humbly present our requests.
*Psalm 103:1-4* / Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,/
Many years ago, a boat was wrecked in a storm on Lake Michigan at Evanston, Illinois.
Students from Northwestern University formed themselves into rescue teams.
One student, Edward Spencer, saved seventeen people from the sinking ship.
When he was carried exhausted to his room, he asked, /Did I do my best?
Do you think I did my best?/
Years later, R. A. Torrey was talking about this incident at a meeting in Los Angeles, and a man in the audience called out that Edward Spencer was present.
Dr. Torrey invited Spencer to the platform.
An old man with white hair slowly climbed the steps as the applause rang out.
Dr. Torrey asked him if anything in particular stood out in his memory.
Only this, sir, he replied, of the seventeen people I saved, not one of them thanked me.