Solomon’s Prayer

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1 Kings 3

3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

What were David’s instructions to Solomon? See https://lifewalkwithmarlene.com/the-lasting-legacy-of-a-father/

Solomon ‘showed his love for the Lord.’ How? He obeyed his father’s last words to him: (1 Kings 2:2-4)
1) To be strong and act like a man. v. 2
2) To obey God and keep his laws and commands as written in the 10 commandments. v. 3
3) To “watch how he live and walk ‘faithfully’ with all his heart and soul.” v. 4

EXCEPT… this word caught my attention. Solomon did all things right except he offered sacrifices on the high places. What does this mean? What are the high places mentioned in the Bible? High places were elevated pieces of ground for dedicated for worship. “Although Solomon built the temple of God in Jerusalem, he later established idolatrous high places for his foreign wives outside of Jerusalem and worshiped with them, causing him the loss of the kingdom (1 Kings 11:11). The people were still sacrificing at the pagan high places before the temple was built, and Solomon joined them. After the Lord appeared to him in a dream at Gibeon, the king returned to Jerusalem and sacrificed offerings; however, he continued to waver between the two places of worship.” (Taken from ://www.gotquestions.org/high-places.html)

Solomon’s exception was idolatry. His heart was divided – not whole and dedicated to the Lord.

The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

If God were to ask you: What do you want me to give you? What would your answer be? Good health? Financial security? Most traditional Chinese might perhaps ask for 福录寿 (Blessings, Prosperity, Longevity).

Solomon’s prayer:
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. 

His prayer revealed his knowledge of:
1) v. 6 His God, His character through His acts: the God who showed great and steadfast love to his father.. The God who delight in faithfulness, righteousness and uprightness of heart… The God who showed great and steadfast love to his father by giving him a son to be king.
To pray to God is to acknowledge the character of God – we pray because we trust that God is a loving and dependable God.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 

2) v. 7 Himself – Solomon knew that he was king because God put him there. He acknowledged he is a little child (do not know how to go out or come in – RSV/NASB; do not know how to carry out my duties – NIV)
To pray to God is to acknowledge our dependence on Him – to confess our helpless and needy self.

Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

3) v. 8 His responsibility: Solomon knew God made him to rule over His chosen people – great in number and great for the fact that they were His chosen people.
To pray to God is to know that God has a purpose for us to accomplish.

4) v. 9 His need: Solomon asked that God give him ‘wisdom’ to rule His people… the kind of wisdom that will differentiate the good and the bad.
To pray to God is asking him for help to accomplish His purpose for us.

God’s response: v.10-14
1) God was pleased with Solomon’s prayer. (v.10) Is God pleased with my prayer?

2) God said “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right.” (v.11)
Is my prayer selfishly for the good life – the temporal and external good stuffs in life? or for the ‘right’ life -the eternal and internal discernment for righteous living?

3) Behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. (v. 12)
When God grants a prayer request, He always gives the best – none like any other. God gives according to what Solomon asked because He was pleased with Solomon’s prayer.

4) I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. (v. 13)
God gave beyond what Solomon asked for.

5) And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” (v. 14)
Longevity: what is life – a long one if not for the purpose of obeying God? God promised Solomon a long life ‘if’ he would obey Him just as his father David had done. It is paradoxical that Solomon ‘wisely’ asked God for ‘wisdom.’ Praying wisely is by the grace of God.

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